Title: Leap of Faith
Author: Tiffany F
Pairing: Sherlock/John, Sherlock/Lestrade, & Mycroft/John
Fandoms: Sherlock
Rating: AO
Disclaimer: Don't own and claim nothing but the plot.
Warning(s): WiP
Summary: Lestrade receives a text from Sherlock that is a suicide note. He arrives in time to stop Sherlock and finds out that Mycroft and John are both hiding something that has hurt Sherlock. Lestrade vows to work it out, before Sherlock attacks his brother again.


Chapter 1

There had been longer days, but if pressed at that moment, when buried behind enough stacks of paper to make a forest run away in fear, Detective Inspector Greg Lestrade wouldn't have been able to think of one. He was starting to believe that the stacks bred when he left them at night. He couldn't remember the last time he had seen his desk completely bare. Hell, he wasn't even sure what color it was anymore. 

It took him a minute to find his cell phone when it beeped, signaling an incoming message.

     On Tower Bridge. Will be jumping into the Thames at 11:27:32PM. Solutions to the cases on my desk at Baker Street. S.H.

Lestrade was out of his office before he finished reading the message. He didn't know if he was going to make it to the bridge in time, but he was going to try.

Sherlock didn't even look around when he heard the running footsteps behind him. "You aren't going to talk me out of this, Lestrade, so don't even bother to waste my time."

"Then I'm putting you into protective custody until I'm sure you're not going to kill yourself," Lestrade gasped in reply. He grabbed Sherlock around the waist and wrestled him to the ground. "I'll restrain you and call that pig-headed brother of yours if I have to."

"No need, Detective Inspector, I've been watching Sherlock all evening."

Lestrade was surprised at how easily Sherlock managed to throw him off, and rather impressed with the speed and skill he used to punch Mycroft squarely in the nose.


"Don't come near me, Mycroft," Sherlock hissed. "I know exactly what you did, what you paid John to do, and the result."

Lestrade stood up fast enough to make his knees protest. "Sherlock, wait!" he called.

"Good evening, Lestrade. Go waste your pity on someone else."

"Sherlock, please."

But the younger man vanished into the night. Lestrade forced his fists to relax and looked at Mycroft. "All right then, do you want to tell me what this is all about?" he asked.

"Nothing really, just Sherlock in one of his moods."

"You call attempting to jump off the Tower Bridge, to kill himself, a mood?" Lestrade's hands tensed back into fists before he realized what he was doing.

Mycroft finally managed to get the bleeding under control and tucked the soiled handkerchief back into his pocket. "Come now, Detective Inspector, you know how Sherlock can be when he takes it into his mind to be difficult," he said. "He clearly wanted an audience, so that's why he sent you the text. I would have stopped him."

"You would've stopped him?" Lestrade asked, stepping forward a little. "Seems to me that you're part of the problem yet again, Mycroft. I think you coming near him when he was near the edge there would have spurred him to action. What did he mean by what you paid John to do? What was that all about?"

"Nothing you need to concern yourself with, Detective Inspector," Mycroft said. He turned and walked back towards his car. "You'll see that everything works out in the end."

Lestrade snarled. He hated Mycroft Holmes with a passion, especially the way that he treated his younger brother like a joke part of the time and a hired helper the rest of it. He wouldn't forget how hurt Sherlock had been by Mycroft's actions at the Palace during the Adler case. Not that Sherlock would have let on to anyone, probably not even John that he was hurt, but Lestrade had become very good at reading the consulting detective over the years.

He stuffed his shaking hands into his coat pockets and turned to look out over the Thames. No, that was not going to be the final resting place for Sherlock Holmes. They were not going to fish him out of there, his body cold and bloated. Lestrade didn't know what was going on, felt out of his depth at the whole affair, but he would do whatever he could to help Sherlock recover from this latest blow. He just had to find someone who was willing to talk to him.

He really wasn't expecting to find Sherlock at Baker Street, but went there first anyway. Lestrade felt a frantic need to find the younger man, but not knowing anything beyond the fact that Mycroft was involved with the affair meant that finding Sherlock wasn't going to be easy. He needed a place to start and Sherlock's comment about John being paid to do something made him think that Baker Street would be a good place to get a few clues about what had been going on.


"Hello John," Lestrade said, playing at ease, but watching the other man closely. "Sherlock in?"

"No, he went out without a word to me," John said. "He hasn't had a case for a couple of days and you know how he gets. I think I'm lucky the roof is still on, and you do not want to know what he did to the milk yesterday."

"Probably not," Lestrade agreed. "Well, damn, I need his help on something and he's not answering my texts to him. You don't have any idea when he's going to be home?"

"Not a clue. Wish I could help. What's the case?"

"Bloke decided to throw himself off the Tower Bridge."

John looked up, incredulous. "Come on, Greg, you know that's not going to interest Sherlock," he said. "He'll just say dull in that tone he uses and go back to sulking."

"Oh, there's more to it," Lestrade said. "He was stopped before he could jump and said something about his best friend being paid to do something to him. Wouldn't go into details beyond the fact that it was his brother who did the paying and vanished before anyone could stop him a second time."

"He didn't."


"God, Sherlock is such an idiot at times," John said. "Nice catch, Greg. I had no clue you were talking about Sherlock until you mentioned brothers and payments. You stopped him jumping?"

"Couldn't stop him breaking Mycroft's nose though. Hell, I almost added a broken head to it, that bastard," Lestrade growled. "How the man can be so blind when it comes to his own brother, I have never been able to work out. What did he pay you to do?"

John's mouth firmed up. "What did Mycroft do to you?" he asked. "I never knew you hated him."

"That's more than I want to go into right now. Sherlock's out there and I want to find him. What happened, John?"

"Nothing unusual."

Lestrade sighed. "You and Mycroft are a pair," he said. "Sherlock just tried to kill himself over something that the pair of you did to him and you sit there and tell me nothing happened. I saw the look in his eyes, John. This wasn't a tantrum or some sort of acting out because he's bored or wants to make trouble for someone else. He wants to die." He stood up and buttoned his coat. "I'm going to find Sherlock. If he's hurt or dead when I find him, I'll be back to ask you some very uncomfortable questions, so you might want to call Mycroft and tell him that. Along with whatever else you've been telling him about Sherlock."

He ignored the sputtered denials and he slammed out of the flat and back out into the chilly London night.


Chapter 2

Lestrade knew Sherlock as well as the younger man let anyone know him. They'd known each other for years and, as a result, Lestrade knew some of the hiding places around London that Sherlock liked when he was in a mood. God, he didn't know what Mycroft and John were playing at, but the lack of concern from both of them over Sherlock trying to kill himself put Lestrade's teeth on edge. He walked swiftly into St. James's Park and down towards the water. With a small sigh of relief, he caught sight of a huddled form in a very familiar coat. "Sherlock."


"Okay, you're alive. Are you hurt?"

"Heartbroken, not that anyone cares."

That was not the answer he was expecting. "Sherlock, you haven't...."


"Good." Lestrade sat down next to the younger man and looked at the dark water. "You scared me tonight."

"The text?"

"Partly, but more you attacking Mycroft. I forget how strong you are, what with how skinny you look now."

"He deserved it," Sherlock said. "How could I have been so blind to the facts?"

"What happened? Do not tell me nothing, Sherlock. I've already had that answer from both your so-charming brother and John. Friend of mine decides to kill himself, it's not nothing. I want to know the truth."

Sherlock looked at him. "Am I?"


"Your friend."

"You say it like it's a dirty word."

"It is, according to John."

"Come on, sunshine. Let's go get some take away and go back to mine. We can talk where you don't have to worry about your brother spying on you," Lestrade said. "You know my sofa's got your name on it."

"I'll still want to check."

"Whatever you need to do. You know that. Just as long as it doesn't hurt you or someone else." Lestrade stood and held out his hand. "Where do you want to eat?"

"You pick. I don't know that I'll be able to eat anything while talking about this. It is rather, distasteful and embarassing."

"It cannot be any worse than that one Halloween party you took pictures at."

Sherlock did chuckle at that, even if it sounded weak. "You look good in pink and glitter."

"We agreed never to mention that again, Sherlock."

"You're the one who brought it up. The park is empty save for water fowl and Mycroft's listening devices."

"That's what worries me."


Chapter 3

John sat and stared at the door to the flat, feeling rather stunned. He had never seen that level of anger from Lestrade before, hadn't really realized how much the Detective Inspector cared about Sherlock; and swallowed hard. Even with Mycroft on his side, John was worried. He hadn't expected Sherlock to take the news well, but he had hoped that the reaction would be more reasonable than this.

He was probably kidding himself and had been from the start. John knew that he was the one person Sherlock trusted. Truly trusted. Or had done up until that evening. He sighed and rubbed his face. He really shouldn't have agreed to the crazy idea in the first place, but he wanted to help Sherlock and hadn't thought much beyond that. Mycroft had assured him that Sherlock would be fine, that it would all work out perfectly in the end. John should have remembered how personally Sherlock felt things. He had seen it time and again, sometimes reacting to things John said, sometimes in the silent duels with Mycroft, and even once on a case. The only person Sherlock never seemed to react oddly to was Lestrade.

It wasn't doing him any good sitting and staring at the door. John grabbed his phone and called the man who had started all the madness. "You never said anything to me about Sherlock trying to kill himself over all of this, Mycroft."

"John, be reasonable," Mycroft replied, even if his tone was a little off. "What did you think would happen after you seduced your way into his bed, took his virginity and then told him you were dating his elder brother?"

"I never told him we're dating, Mycroft. You don't just spring something like that on a man."

"Then how did he find out the truth?"

"He was probably on my computer again," John sighed. "He likes to go through my emails when he's bored."

"You underestimate him. It's more likely he saw a faded mark on your body and realized, no matter what you claimed, you are seeing someone," Mycroft said. "He could have easily followed you to one of the pick-up locations, seen my car and realized what it meant."

"Where is he now, Mycroft? What's Sherlock doing?"

Mycroft sighed. "I've lost track of him."


"Do sit down, John, running about will do you no good. Sherlock has gone to ground and knows how to avoid my surveillance network," Mycroft said. "However, at some point he will have to pass back into view no matter how hard he tries to avoid it."

"Mycroft, do you even care that your brother tried to kill himself tonight?"

"Of course I do, John, you know how much I worry about him," Mycroft said. "I also know Sherlock far better than you and can promise that he will do nothing to harm himself before 11:27:32PM tomorrow. He cannot hide from me for nearly twenty-four hours."

"Why then?"

"That was the precise moment your erection breeched him for the first time. It is so dramatic to want to end his life at exactly that moment, but Sherlock does so love to be dramatic."

"I don't even want to know how long you were watching us," John sighed. "But I'm really starting to feel like Sherlock should have done more than break your nose."

"I was rather hoping you would be willing to come over and take care of me for the night," Mycroft said. "Remaining in Baker Street will do you no good, Sherlock won't return. He knows there are too many cameras."

"Remind me again why I love you?"

"Because you are drawn to power and danger, John. I have both, and you love it."

John closed his eyes for a moment, wishing there was some chance at normality around the Holmes brothers. "If Sherlock hasn't shown on the feeds by morning, I'm going to go out and look for him."

"I would expect nothing less. Oh, what did Lestrade have to say when he popped in?"

"That if anything happens to Sherlock, he'll be back to ask me some very uncomfortable questions," John said. "He was really mad, Mycroft. I don't think I've ever seen Lestrade so upset about anything."

"He has always cared for Sherlock," Mycroft said. "Many times when I wouldn't have been able to. I have faith that Lestrade will be able to locate Sherlock and keep him safe until this mood passes."

"What if he can't?" John asked. "You said yourself that Sherlock's off the feeds. No one knows London better than Sherlock and if he doesn't want to be found, then he'll be able to hide forever. Maybe even kill himself without anyone knowing about it."

"Sherlock sent Lestrade a text before attempting to jump," Mycroft said. "He won't kill himself without saying good-bye to Lestrade. That's when he'll show back up on the grid and we'll be able to bring him to the flat to talk with him."

"Oh, yeah, that'll be a brilliant conversation," John said. "Sorry, Sherlock, I seduced you on the orders of my boyfriend, I don't really love you. I was just using you to help Mycroft out. He'll be out the door before I've finished."

"As always, John, you're getting overly excited," Mycroft sighed. "The car is out front. Do come over for the night."

John sighed. "I don't know why I bother. The pair of you want to hurt each other and I played right into it. Let me grab my bag and I'll come over, but this is the last favor I'm doing you, Mycroft," he said. "Sherlock is my friend and I'm not hurting him again."

"Oh, I'm sure you will, John," Mycroft said. "It's impossible to be human and not hurt those we love. I'll see you in a bit."


Chapter 4

Lestrade plodded up the stairs to his flat, take-away bag in his left hand, and let himself in. He knew that Sherlock was somewhere close and didn't want to be seen going into Lestrade's place, but he still worried. He hadn't wanted to let the younger man go off alone again, worried that he would vanish off into London and do something to hurt himself. Lestrade locked the door behind him, kicked off his shoes and went to drop the food in the living room. He'd change out of his suit and hope that Sherlock would have showed up before the food got cold.

"I lied about the listening devices in the park."

"Jesus, Sherlock, don't do that," Lestrade gasped. "Where are you?"

"On the floor by the window. The flat has no surveillance equipment in it, but there are cameras outside and I could be seen," Sherlock said. "Carry on as if you were alone."

"How'd you get in or don't I want to know?"

Sherlock sighed. "There's a small blind spot on the back of your building. I used the fire escape to come up to your floor and then down the hallway where no one would be able to see me," he said. "No one but you knows I'm here."

"We're going to talk about this, Sherlock."

"If we must," Sherlock said. "I was stupid, Lestrade, and allowed my trust in John to blind me to the facts. I should have seen sooner than I did, before it was too late."

"You're going to have to start from the beginning," Lestrade said. He turned off the light. "Come on, get into the living room and sit where you won't be seen. I'll get some beer from the kitchen and turn on the light out there before I sit down. That's pretty normal for me."

Sherlock stuck to the walls, moving like a living shadow through the darkness out into the living room. He settled down under the window and leaned back. Lestrade went about his evening routine as normally as he could, trying not to think about the cameras outside his flat that were probably watching him. "All right, Sherlock, take your time. You know I'm not going to judge you for anything."

"I know, and I thank you for that," Sherlock said softly. "I suppose the most obvious answer is, in this case, the one to start with. It's both painful and embarrassing to admit to my failings in this case. This is why I don't like to let people close to me, Lestrade. It blinds me to so many things. About a month ago, John came to me and said that his feelings for me were changing and he would like to take me out on a date. I was curious because of how frequently he insists that he is straight and agreed to dinner with him. He has paid me more attention this past month than anyone ever has, Lestrade, and I liked how it made me feel."

"That's human nature, Sherlock," Lestrade said. "John's one of the few people I've seen you connect almost instantly with."

Sherlock looked up. "I thought he was my friend, Lestrade," he said. "I was such a fool."

"Tell me what happened. It'll hurt less than drawing it out."

"He took me to bed, Lestrade," Sherlock said. "My first time ever allowing anyone to touch me like that. When it was all over, he was asleep, I observed an imprint bruise on his lower back. Not a place where such a bruise could form without prolonged contact, most likely intimate. It was an imprint of my older brother's ring."

"John cheated on Mycroft?" Lestrade asked.

"I left John in bed and went to check his phone and his computer," Sherlock said, staring at the floor. "He has been in a relationship with Mycroft for the past six months. This whole event was planned between the two of them. I was humiliated and I ran."

"Oh, sunshine," Lestrade said. "Makes sense why you attack Mycroft like you did. I'd be happy to finish the job for you."

"No, he would have you killed," Sherlock said. "I couldn't have that happen. The shame of being used and blinded to everything was too much for me. I just want it to go away. I thought I would be able to jump into the Thames, but didn't want to die without seeing the one friend I have left. Then Mycroft showed up and I had to run again."

Lestrade sighed. "You can stay here as long as you want to, Sherlock," he said. "I won't tell anyone you're here. Want me to file a missing person's report?"

"I just want to disappear," Sherlock said. "So I don't have to deal with any of this again. Were I to fake my death, Lestrade, would you help me?"

"Not if you're going to hurt yourself," Lestrade said.

"No, I won't hurt myself. There is a man at the wax museum who I helped on a case. He took a bust of me," Sherlock said. "Something about my facial structure. I don't believe anyone knows about this. I've also been in touch with Moriarty. It is possible to stage everything with no risk to anyone else."

"You get Moriarty involved, Sherlock, then I can't help you."

"There's no cause for alarm, he died three days ago," Sherlock said. "He had advanced cancer and wanted to play a game, trying to end his own life at my hands, but he couldn't manage it. His body is at Bart's. If you will leave everything to me, I can stage a suicide and leave London for a while. Until this pain goes away."

"One condition," Lestrade said.

"I won't hurt or kill myself, nor will I use narcotics again while I am away," Sherlock said.

"All right then, tell me what you need me to do."


Chapter 5

"Mycroft will be able to see through almost any attempt I make to stage my death," Sherlock continued. "I will need time to plan, Lestrade. You will have to trust me to do this without hurting myself. It will appear as though I have died and there will be questions. How good of an actor are you?"

"Not that good," Lestrade sighed. "I think it's best if I don't know what you're planning so I can be naturally shocked at your death. Mycroft knows me, not as well as you do, but he knows me and my reactions."

Sherlock sighed. "I'm sure that Mycroft is at home with John being cared for," he said. "No lecture for me on how doing this will hurt John?"

"Nope, because he's abused your friendship and needs a wake-up call," Lestrade said. "You know Mycroft will make sure John doesn't do anything stupid when he learns about your death. What can I do to help you out?"

"File a report when you get to the Yard tomorrow, put it in as a concern about suicide and anyone who sees me is to bring me directly to your office," Sherlock said. "Mycroft has a program in place at the Yard which alerts him to any report with my name in it. I have a bolt-hole, it's not much, but there are some disguises there that will be good enough to keep me out of Mycroft's eye while I'm putting my plan in place. I won't tell you more, Lestrade. I need your reactions to be genuine for this to work."

"I'm going to miss you, Sherlock," Lestrade said. "Will you drop me a line to let me know you're alive and healthy?"

"They will be coded," Sherlock cautioned. "Mycroft will have you watched, Lestrade. Helping me like this will make his attention turn to you once I am gone."

"No more than usual," Lestrade shrugged. "Maybe it'll finally give me a chance to tell him what I really think of him."

Sherlock shook his head. "Use care when interacting with my brother, Lestrade. He will always learn more from you than you will from him," he said. "Do you mind if I sleep here?"

"Just lock up when you leave," Lestrade said. "Keep in touch, Sherlock. I wish it hadn't come to this."

"As do I, Lestrade," Sherlock said. "Thank you for everything. I'll never forget this."

"I won't either, sunshine," Lestrade said.

Lestrade wasn't surprised to find his flat empty the next morning. It worried him that Sherlock was out in the city as heart-broken as he was, but he had the promise that the younger man wouldn't do anything to hurt himself. Sherlock hadn't tried to bend the words or weasel out of it, so Lestrade knew that it was good and Sherlock would hold to his promise. With a small sigh he showered, dressed, packed a lunch and headed to work. First thing he did when he got there was fill out the alert form that would put everyone on the street on the lookout for Sherlock. Then he noted down the time and turned to his other work.

"What is this, Detective-Inspector?"

"Less than an hour, Mycroft, your staff is slipping," Lestrade said. "That is an alert for Sherlock. I'm not convinced he's not going to hurt himself and want him brought to me so I can be sure."

"Lestrade, where is my brother?"

"No idea," Lestrade replied. He was thankful it was the truth because he didn't think he would be able to lie to Mycroft Holmes and not be caught at it. "I haven't seen him since last night."

"You found him again then?"

He leaned back in his chair and looked at the older Holmes brother. "Nope, he got away from me and I spent a good part of the night searching for him," he said. "You're the one who controls the cameras in this place, Mycroft. Do you have Sherlock hidden away somewhere?"

"Sherlock has learned how to avoid my networks," Mycroft said slowly. It obviously pained him to admit something like that about his younger brother. "I have no idea where he is. John is out checking a few places to see if they have seen Sherlock, but he has had no success. When I saw your report, I thought that maybe you knew something that I did not and came to check."

"I still don't know why he wanted to throw himself off the bridge in the first place, Mycroft," Lestrade said. "Or why he punched you in the nose. Don't suppose you want to tell me about that, do you?"

"It's none of your concern," Mycroft said. "Sherlock is throwing another one of his tantrums and we need to find him so we can explain what happened. As always he has blown everything completely out of proportion."

"Mycroft, you say you worry about your bother, but you treat him like crap," Lestrade said. "You're just as blind as everyone else when it comes to the fact that Sherlock does have emotions and he cares what other people think. Just because he can hide it better than most doesn't mean it's not true."

"Lestrade, Mycroft, anything?" John asked, appearing in the door. "Lestrade, please tell me you found him last night."

"Nope, I spent hours looking and finally had to go home," Lestrade said. "Are you just now starting your search for him, John? Why didn't you start looking last night?"

"John was attending to me," Mycroft said.

Lestrade nodded. "I'm going to figure this out, you know," he said. "I might be the plodding cop who doesn't have any brains, but I get there in the end. Seems to me the both of you are doing your best to shunt Sherlock to the side and don't give a damn if he does kill himself. I got news for you, I do. I've got the whole of the Met on alert for him and if I find him, I'm going to take care of him. Now both of you get out of my office. Go pretend to care somewhere else. I've got work to do."

John started sputtering. Mycroft just sighed. "Come along, John," he said. "We'll find Sherlock. It's only a matter of time before he slips back into range of my surveillance network. Good day, Detective-Inspector."

Lestrade turned to his computer so he wouldn't have to watch the pair walk out. One day he was going to punch Mycroft and get his point across. He looked down when his phone buzzed. The number was blocked, but the text message gave away who it was from. It just said "good work."


Chapter 6

"Mycroft, it's been a week," John said, pacing the office floor. "You said he'd be back in a day or less and it's been seven. No one has seen him, he hasn't shown up on any of your networks. Lestrade hasn't seen him. Nothing has been changed at home. Where is Sherlock?"

"Do you wish for me to admit that I was wrong, John?" Mycroft asked. "I've had two agents searching for him non-stop since he vanished. I don't know where he is, all I can assure you of at this point is that he is still alive. His body has not come into any morgue in the country."

John finally flopped down into one of the chairs. "What have we done, Mycroft?" he asked softly.

"You want to know what you've done," Lestrade said, shutting the door behind him. "You want to know what you bastards have done?"

"Inspector, I didn't hear you knock," Mycroft said. "Has there been word on Sherlock?"

"Yeah, there's been word," Lestrade said. He threw a folder down on Mycroft's desk. "They found him this morning in a back alley, Mycroft. Molly has him down at Barts. So, now that Sherlock is dead, do you want to tell me what the bloody hell the pair of you thought you were doing?"

"No, he can't be dead," John said. He made a grab for the folder. "He was upset, but he can't be dead."

"Lestrade, I'm sure there has been some mistake," Mycroft said. "Sherlock no longer has access to any of his previous associates in that section of London and I would have been alerted had he gone there again."

"He was in a disguise," Lestrade spat. "No one knew who he was until Molly was cleaning the body to find out how he died and the make-up and wig came off in her bloody hands. Molly went into hysterics and had to be taken out of the room."

Mycroft stood up. "I do not appreciate your tone, Detective Inspector Lestrade, nor the implications you are leveling at me," he said. "John, we're going to Barts and I will get to the bottom of this. I am not finished with you, Lestrade."

"Try your worst, Mycroft," Lestrade said. "I keep notes too and you don't scare me. The pair of you just murdered one of my good friends and I'll prove it."

"Not if you no longer have a job," Mycroft said. "Come, John."

Lestrade watched the pair go and sighed. Even though he knew it wasn't really Sherlock in the morgue, he wanted to know how the detective had found such a perfect double for him. For one horrible moment, Lestrade had thought it was Sherlock lying in front of him and he wanted to cry. He'd cared for the younger man for so many years, Lestrade wanted to die before Sherlock did. He never wanted to go through that again. He gathered up his folder and left the office. Now he just had to hope that the fake was good enough to fool Mycroft. Otherwise he'd just put his career on the line for nothing. Lestrade had a meeting with his boss he had to get to.

"John, calm yourself," Mycroft said once they were in the car. He put an arm around his boyfriend. "There is every chance that this is a double for my brother, that he is faking his death in order to cause us grief."

"Yeah, he wouldn't have to do all this if we hadn't led him on," John said. "Why did you ask me to do it, Mycroft?"

"It was my hope that once Sherlock realized there is more to life than crime and logic that he would turn to Lestrade for a relationship," Mycroft said. "I failed to take into account how he feels about you, that he would grow even more attached to you than he already was. I believed that he would see this all as an experiment."

"You really screwed this up, Mycroft," John said. "You should have just left them alone, or let me talk with Sherlock about his relationship with Lestrade. There were tons of other options to take up first before you should have asked me to seduce him."

Mycroft sighed. "We're here," he said. "Remain strong, John. I do not believe this is my brother in the morgue."

"What if it is?" John asked.

"Then I have made the worst mistake of my life," Mycroft said.

The pair walked to the morgue and inside without saying a word to each other. They found Molly in the office with a cup of hot tea and red eyes. John went over to her and put a hand on her shoulder. "Hey, you okay?" he asked.

"John, it was horrible," Molly replied. "Metro said there was something not right about how this guy was found so they wanted me to take a look. See if I could figure out what killed him and the came apart in the water. It was Sherlock. I couldn't finish up, I don't remember much of what happened after that. I just, I can't believe it. How did he die?"

"Mycroft is here and he'll figure it out," John said. "You just rest, Molly. It'll be okay."

"Okay," she said.

John left her and went out to the table where the body was lying. "God, Mycroft."

"It could be a double," Mycroft said. "I'll want DNA testing and my people to perform the autopsy."

"Mycroft, that's Sherlock," John said. "That scar there, I stitched him up after a knife fight on a case. That's my work. That burn on his hand was a chemical experiment that went wrong the day before he ran." He pulled on a pair of gloves and moved the body carefully onto it's side. "Take a dental impression, those are my teeth marks on his shoulder."

"We will, John, we will," Mycroft said. "I refuse to believe this is my brother until I have all the evidence in front of me. I know it seems cold to you, John, but I know my brother and I know how good he is at faking. I have to have hard evidence in front of me before I can believe my own eyes. Remember what I told you after the Adler case, it would take Sherlock Holmes himself to fool me. I don't intend to allow myself to be fooled again."


Chapter 7

Lestrade came out of the meeting with his boss feeling a little better about things. He had permission to work the case in his own time, as long as it didn't interfere with his other duties, and his boss would protect him from anything the government tried to do. It turned out that Mycroft had meddled with another case and the chief wasn't happy about the outcome there. It didn't make up for losing Sherlock like he was, but Lestrade knew that it would be possible for him to find some answers. Maybe, just maybe he would be able to break John down with time. If what he'd seen in Mycroft's office was any indication, John was starting to question what he'd done to Sherlock and guilt was a powerful motivator to make a man talk. Lestrade would just have to bide his time.

He went down to the morgue to check on Molly. Lestrade was fond of the woman and knew that finding the body double would have been devistating for her. Molly loved Sherlock so much, and the man did know that she did, he just didn't know how best to react to it. Sherlock and Lestrade had talked about it a couple of times over dinner, when Sherlock was trying to figure out what he was supposed to do. Growing up in a cold, emotionally-repressed home hadn't helped prepare Sherlock for human interactions. It didn't take a genius to see that both the Holmes boys were raised to believe in logic, their own minds and that other people were beneath them. Lestrade knew about the fight that drove a wedge between the brothers, and wondered how their mother believed that it could ever be made better.

"Hey, are you feeling better?" he asked, shutting the door to the office behind him.

Molly looked up, eyes red, and nodded. "Yeah, I think I'll be okay," she replied. "Mycroft took the body so I don't have to worry about finishing the autopsy. Greg, do you know what happened?"

"Not all of it," he said. He pulled over a chair and sat down. "About a week ago, I got a text from Sherlock telling me he was going to kill himself and I managed to get to him in time and stop him, but it was a near thing, Molly. I don't think you've ever seen him upset or showing that he's hurting, but he's a force of nature when that happens. I was trying to get him to come back to my place, to talk to me, when Mycroft showed up and Sherlock stormed off again. That's the last time I saw him, even though I had the whole of the Met on alert for him. I'd hoped I'd be able to find him before he killed himself."

"Why would he want to do this?" Molly asked, reaching for another tissue. "I mean, he might not have always realized it, but he has friends. People who love him and would have helped him out."

"It's possible he thought there wasn't anything that could be done," Lestrade said. "I've got the okay from upstairs to work this in my own time. I might be able to find answers, but I'll be up against Mycroft. It's possible I could lose my job for this one, Molly."

"He wouldn't," Molly said.

"Mycroft Holmes and I have a history, Molly," Lestrade said with a sigh. "If he thought I was getting in the way of one of his plans, then he would in a second. I'm not going to let it stop me, but I'm going to have to be really careful while I'm working on it."

"Let me know what I can do to help," Molly said.

"I will," Lestrade said. "I'm heading home, want a lift?"

She shook her head. "I'm going to stay a bit longer, got some work to finish up. It'll keep my mind off everything."

"Okay, you call me if you need me," Lestrade said.

"Thanks, Greg."
When Lestrade got home, he locked the door securely behind him and made a note to have a new lock fitted just to be safe. He didn't think it would stop Mycroft if the elder Holmes really wanted into his flat, but it was a start.

"No lights."

"Oh, Jesus, Sherlock, you have to stop doing that," Lestrade gasped. "Are you okay?"

"I'm not physically hurt, if that's what you mean," Sherlock said. He was back in his place against the wall where he wouldn't be seen or risk having his voice picked up by one of the microphones outside. "I didn't kill the man, Lestrade, he had died of natural causes and I found him perfect for my needs."

Lestrade sat down and sighed. "I thought it was you, sunshine. He's a perfect twin."

"They say everyone has a twin in the world, Lestrade, it is true," Sherlock said. "I slowly took my blood and injected it into his body after I had drained off his. The marks will be seen as needle marks, and I made sure to include traces of cocaine. The DNA tests will match, Lestrade, as will every other test my brother can submit the body to. Now, I'm going to leave and travel for a time. Do you have a cousin abroad who keeps in touch?"

"Yeah, Fred Lestrade, he's an odd one, but I enjoy his letters," Lestrade said. "You want to use his name to send me your reports in?"

"If you don't mind."

"Nah, he writes about three or four times a month anyway. Mycroft will probably pick up on the extra letter, but I can lie about that easily enough. Family is unpredictable," Lestrade said. "You still promise me you'll stay safe and sober out there, Sherlock?"

"I will, I promise."

"Then go and do the best you can to forget about all of this. I'm going to poke around a little, make it look like I'm investigating your death, but I won't push," Lestrade said. "Mycroft is already pissed at me. I'll look forward to having you back again, Sherlock."

The shadow sighed. "I don't know how long I'll be gone, Lestrade," he said. "I may never come back."

"Do what you have to do, but remember you have friends here who do care about you," Lestrade said. "Molly and me, and Mrs. Hudson. I can think of some others, but we're the main three."

"Go check on Mrs. Hudson for me, please, Lestrade," Sherlock said. "She's the one I really regret putting through this."

"I will, and I'll keep an eye on her."

"Will you also see if you can get my violin from Baker Street and keep it here?" Sherlock asked. "I don't want John or Mycroft to have it."

"I'll do my best. You gonna sleep here tonight?"

"I'll stay for a while, but I do need to move," Sherlock said. "I won't tell you where I'm going, but I will write."

"Long as I know you're alive, sunshine, that's all I care about."


Chapter 8

Lestrade was in his office a few days later when there was a knock on the door. "Come in," he said, not looking up from the report he was finishing up.

"Do you have a minute?"

"John? Yeah, sure, one second," Lestrade said. He signed the last page of the report and tucked it into a folder. "What's up? You look like your best friend died."

"He did," John said. "Mycroft got the lab tests back this morning. It was Sherlock, Lestrade."

"Jesus," Lestrade said, leaning back in his chair. "They're positive?"

"Everything matched down to a scar from his childhood," John replied. He looked down at his hands. "I don't know what to do, Greg. I'm at a loss, it's like the world has gone gray around me and nothing makes sense anymore."

"Suicide hits everyone like that," Lestrade said. "You have a counselor, right? Have you gone to talk with her about what you're feeling?"

John shook his head. "I haven't. Mycroft is shut up in his office and won't leave," he said. "It's like my whole world is gone, Greg. What do I do?"

"Last time I talked to Sherlock, he was positive that Mycroft had paid you to do something to him, John," Lestrade said. "I've been trying to work that out, but I don't know enough about the situation."

"Why do you hate Mycroft so much, Greg?" John asked. "He really does love his brother."

"You wouldn't know it looking at him," Lestrade replied. "John, remember how much longer I've known Sherlock and Mycroft. I've had more chances to watch their interactions and battles. Sherlock's also told me some things about the fight that drove them apart. Mycroft, for as long as I've known them, has treated Sherlock like a personal puppet or an annoyance that brings nothing but shame to the family name. Sherlock has, had, feelings. He might not let others see them, but it always hurt him to be treated like that by his older brother. When Mycroft found out that Sherlock and I were friends, that Sherlock was actively seeking me out for company, he kidnapped me and tried to bribe me to spy on him."

"He did the same to me," John said. "I think he does it to everyone, honestly."

Lestrade leaned forward. "He told me that if I didn't tell him everything Sherlock told me, I would lose my job," he said slowly. "When I refused and walked out of there, I was called into a meeting with my boss the minute I was back in the Yard. Only reason I still have my job is my boss doesn't like to be told who he can employ. I refused to be a pawn in Mycroft's game, and Sherlock realized that. He trusted me more than anyone else, probably right up until the day he met you. John, I'll be honest, I have never once seen Sherlock connected so quickly with anyone. Ever."

"I don't think I realized how much he trusted me," John said softly. "I don't know, maybe I bought into what Mycroft was telling me, but I think I lost track of one thing and that's that I was one of Sherlock's rare friends."

"I still can't wrap my mind around you and Mycroft, John," Lestrade said. "Did Sherlock know?"

"I don't think so, no," John said. "At least not until really recently anyway. I wish you'd been able to find him again that night, Greg. He'd still be alive if you had."

"Maybe, maybe not. He was pretty determined to kill himself for some reason," Lestrade said. "Not that anyone will tell me what's going on. Don't suppose Sherlock left a note anywhere, did he?"

John shook his head. "Not that I've been able to find, but some of his stuff is missing from the flat," he said. "His violin and a couple of books. I'd hoped that meant he was still alive, but Mycroft says there's been no action on any of his bank accounts."

Lestrade didn't mention the overseas bank account under an alias that only he knew about. Or that he'd been over in the middle of the night to take the violin and books. "John, I know how hard this is, and how cold I seem, but he's gone," he said. "We need to work through the loss and figure out what happened to make him do this."

"Are all police so cool about suicides?" John asked.

"Until we're alone, yeah," Lestrade replied. "I'll be breaking down at home later tonight. John, I've got to get this report upstairs. Do you want to meet for supper or something?"

"I'm going to try and get Mycroft out of his office," John said. "Thanks for listening, Lestrade."

"Any time," Lestrade said. He picked up the report and followed John to the lifts. "Give me a call or pop in if you need to talk, John." When he was alone in the elevator, his phone buzzed. Lestrade took it out and looked at the text.

**Time to go fishing, isn't it? Shame it's becoming a spectator sport.**

Lestrade shook his head and put his phone away. Sherlock was right, Mycroft had probably learned more from that little interaction than he had anything else. He'd have to be careful in future meetings with John.


Chapter 9

Lestrade was surprised to find a letter from his cousin in his mailbox when he got home a week after John visited him at the Yard. He wasn't sure if it was really from his cousin, or if it was the first letter from Sherlock on his travels. Lestrade gathered up the rest of his mail and went on up to his flat. He went through his normal routine and finally sank down on the sofa to read the letter. It wasn't a surprise to find out that it'd been opened already. Mycroft was probably monitoring his mail.

Hey Greg,
Thought I'd drop you a line and let you know I've started out on a new series of adventures. I've decided that it's time to head east and see what I can there. It was either there or Africa, and I'm not up to the heat down there right now. Might go see the animals when I'm back though. I'm just going to be wandering, not sure where all I'll go on this trip, but I think I want to try and get up into Tibet for a few weeks, maybe spend time in India and go over into Japan. I've never been to this part of the world before, like you know from all the letters I send along, and I think it'll be fun to see what all there is to see. I might even go down to Australia for a while, just see what's what there. I'm sure you're wondering about my job, but I've hooked up with a travel magazine that's going to pay me to write about my travels. Check them out online and you'll be able to see where I am. Foyles Travel Guides is the company, but I'm not sure which of their magazines they're going to publish me in. Something new for me to do, and you know how much I love new things.
Hope you're doing well and the stress of the job isn't killing you again. I keep telling you that you need to come along with me for one of my trips. It'd be really relaxing for you. Try and get a week off and come join me somewhere. I bet you'd enjoy Japan a lot. Think about it and give me a call if you think you want to come along. I'll send you the details of when I'm going to be there.
Take care of yourself,


Lestrade shook his head with a fond smile. That wasn't his cousin's style of writing, but it was close. Sherlock had to have found the letters, hell, maybe he'd even found the address and went to talk with Fred before he started out on the mad quest he was on. Still, there was no way he'd be able to go and join Sherlock, no matter how much he wanted to. Lestrade would have to check out the travel magazine online and see if Sherlock really was sending in articles on his travels. It seemed reckless, especially considering Mycroft would have seen the letter before Lestrade did, but Sherlock always had a reason for what he was doing. He only hoped that Sherlock would be safe and able to dodge the agents Mycroft would no doubt send to follow him on his travels.


Chapter 10

"I still do not understand how you do not hate me," Mycroft said from the depth of his chair. John had finally managed to coax his lover out of the office and they'd gone back to Mycroft's home for the night. "I have made the worst mistake in my life, John, and while I still have doubts that it is Sherlock that was found dead, I have driven him away forever."

"I don't know how he could have faked all those marks and his DNA so perfectly, Mycroft," John said. "I know it's a sibling's natural urge to doubt death, but Sherlock's gone. I never realized how much he helped me see the world around me until he was gone, but he didn't have to kill himself. He could have come and talked to us like an adult. I'm not going to lose you too. I can't."

Mycroft sighed. "Sherlock has always felt things far more deeply than I," he said. "Especially as children. Losing Father as we did, I think that added to the problem. I tried to teach Sherlock how to be a Holmes, how to conduct himself in society, but he ran away from home rather than listen to me. We finally found him in that same section of town where he went to die. He was banned from going down there. Too many temptations to risk."

"No matter how deeply he feels, and do I ever know about that, this just seems extreme," John said. "Did he really feel the betrayal of trust so deeply, or did something happen to him between the time Greg lost track of him and when the body was found?"

"I believe it was the betrayal of trust, but that's just knowing what I do about Sherlock," Mycroft said. "I half expected him to jump off Bart's or something similar after he was stopped at the bridge by Lestrade."

It was John's turn to sigh. "You know that Lestrade hates you?" he asked.

"Of course I do, and the feeling is quite mutual, I assure you," Mycroft replied. "That feeling aside, Lestrade has done more to help Sherlock over the years than anyone, and that includes you, John. Yes, you are his first best friend, but Lestrade is his first confidant. The one he tells everything to. It's one reason I had such hope that something more might blossom between them."

"I'll agree that was a prat move," John said. "You should have told me your plan and let me help you with it, not thrown me into the middle of it all. Mycroft, Greg's my friend. How do you think it feels to find out that your friend and your lover hate each other?"

"Awkward, I would believe, though I've never been in such a position myself," Mycroft said.

"So, if Sherlock told Greg everything, why don't you have his flat bugged?" John asked. "Like you do Baker Street and the Yard?"

"I did, at one point in time. Lestrade found out and, rather than telling Sherlock what had happened, went to his boss and filed a report of wrongful surveillance against the government. My bosses were quite upset when they learned of how I was spending my resources," Mycroft said. "Especially given Lestrade's reputation with the Yard. I was told in no uncertain terms what would happen to me should I attempt surveillance in Lestrade's flat again."

John snorted. "I can't imagine that stopping you," he said.

"Oh, but it did, John," Mycroft said. "The uncertain terms ended with my death. They really were quite upset. It also means there is one place in London that I cannot listen in on my brother's conversations. He tells Lestrade everything, and Lestrade is fiercely loyal to Sherlock. I was happy, at first, when Sherlock found a link to the Yard, but grew less so as I realized that Lestrade would not bow to my wishes."

"Neither would I," John pointed out.

Mycroft managed a small smile. "You came to my bed of your own free will, John," he said. "I find that quite satisfying an outcome of our first meeting."

"There are still days I wonder why," John said.

"Can we really explain love, John?" Mycroft asked. "Would you even want to try?"

"Not really, no," John said. "Especially as, according to Sherlock, my attempts at poetry are laughable at best."

"Poetry is an art form, John. You having enough persistence to pull me from my office. That shows me how much you love me. I don't know how, but we'll get through this time." He looked at the fire. "Somehow."


Chapter 11

Lestrade wasn't sure what was going on, but John had sent him a text and asked to meet at a pub they both liked for dinner. Knowing that John was sleeping with Mycroft, Lestrade expected it to be part friendly conversation and part interrogation. He would really have to be on his guard to make sure he didn't say or do anything that would endanger Sherlock. The second letter had arrived that afternoon, from India, and it sounded like Sherlock was enjoying his time exploring other places. It had to be freeing to be out from under Mycroft's eye for any length of time.

"Hey Greg."

"John, how are you doing?" Lestrade asked, sliding onto the bench seat across from his friend.

"Actually, I'm thinking about moving," John replied. "There's too many ghosts at Baker Street and I'm not comfortable there. I just don't know what to do with all of Sherlock's things."

"Seems like Mycroft would be the one to box them all up," Lestrade said.

"He doesn't want to touch them," John said. "There's something going on with him, Greg. Something that I don't like one bit." He pulled out a magazine and pushed it across the table. "Have you seen this?"

Lestrade picked up the magazine and looked at the story. He couldn't help but grin when he saw the name on it. "No, but I knew Fred was going to be doing this," he said. "Cousin of mine, John. He's always been a traveler and writes to me constantly when he's out exploring the world. This is the first time he's done something like this though. Just one more thing for him to try his hand at, I guess."

"Mycroft is doing everything in his power to find your cousin and ask him some questions," John said.

"Fred? Why?"

"That's just it, I don't know," John said. "Greg, I think that losing Sherlock might have driven Mycroft insane. I have to go in and drag him out of his office at night, and he won't eat unless I tell him to. I don't know if it's guilt or depression, or a combination of both, but he's not well."

"You're a doctor, John. I know neither of those is a firm medical diagnosis, but shouldn't you be able to do something for him?"

"He won't let me. He insists he's fine, but he's not," John said. "It's another reason I'm thinking about moving. If I'm over at his place, I can keep a closer eye on him. Mycroft offered to pay Mrs. Hudson to keep the flat as it is. I just don't know what's going on."

"I wish I could help you, but I'm still in the dark on this whole mess, remember," Lestrade said. His eye had caught one phrase in the article that he knew was meant for him and he was trying to keep the rising hope out of his voice. Sherlock was okay and he was healing. "Until you're willing to tell me everything, John, there's nothing I can do to help you out."

John looked down at his hands with a sigh. "You'll hate me if I told you the truth of what happened," he said. "I've already lost Sherlock, I'm losing Mycroft, I can't lose you too, Greg. You lot are the only family I have left that wants to talk to me. I just can't do it."

"I'll be here to listen when you can," Lestrade said. "Could I borrow this? I kinda want to see what Fred has to say about India."

"Sure," John said. "What's new at the Yard?"

When he got home, Lestrade spent fifteen minutes checking the magazine and finally found the bug hidden in it. He didn't know if John had known it was there or not, but he was going to give his friend the benefit of the doubt until there was more evidence. Lestrade sat down and read the whole article, but his eyes kept drifting back to that one phrase. "After the darkness of the night, the sun breaks through the clouds and shines on a new, bright day. Seeing the renew brings hope for a new life."

Sherlock would have to watch the flowery language, but it was well written. Lestrade smiled fondly. His friend was working past the betrayal of his brother and best friend, and was healing. As long as he kept his promise to stay away from drugs, Lestrade knew that Sherlock would eventually be fine. There was just no way to tell if he would ever return to London again.


Chapter 12

Lestrade used a combination of letters and magazine articles to track Sherlock, and Fred it turned out, up through India and Nepal, and into Tibet where the pair spent close onto a month in one of the monistaries. Doing what, Lestrade had no idea, but he hoped it was helping Sherlock feel better about himself and the trials he'd been through before fleeing London. Then they avoided most of China, headed south and came out in Thailand. From there they went to the Phillipines and down into Australia. He had to admit, as much as he missed Sherlock, he was having fun with all the post cards and letters he was getting from the pair traveling, and all the new knowledge about other parts of the world.

"Detective Inspector."

"Oh, bloody hell, Mycroft, what do you want?" Lestrade asked, looking up from a report he was trying to finish. A woman had killed her husband because he complained about supper one too many times.

"To talk, nothing more," Mycroft replied, shutting the door behind him.

"The only time you want to talk to me is when you want something specific," Lestrade said. "Don't think for a minute that I don't know what you're doing."

Mycroft sat down and looked at Lestrade closely. "What is it I'm doing, Lestrade?"

"You think that Sherlock is still alive and you're hunting for him," Lestrade said. "Annoying my poor cousin, Fred, in the process I might add. Time for you to admit you made a mistake and mourn for your brother, Mycroft. Right now you're hurting John and he's scared to death he's going to lose you too."

"Yes, well, John is concerned about me, but I'm fine," Mycroft said. "Your cousin is in Australia now, isn't that right?"

"Somewhere, yeah," Lestrade said. "I haven't been able to check and see if there was anything new from him for the past couple of days. People are going bloody mad and it's all I've been able to do to get some sleep in-between call-outs."

"Yes, it has been insane, hasn't it?" Mycroft asked. "Your cousin has certainly upped his correspondence with you on this last trip."

Lestrade shrugged. "He's never traveled to this many places on one trip before," he said. "Fred's always been a bit different, but we love him just the same. You've had agents in to talk with him, Mycroft. I don't know why you're bugging me about this, especially given the level of paperwork I have to try and get through before some other poor sod dies."

"I'm just curious who Fred is traveling with," Mycroft said.

"News to me that he's traveling with anyone," Lestrade said. "He hasn't mentioned a traveling partner in any of his letters. I'm sure you've got my phone tapped, again, and you know he hasn't rung through. What are you really fishing for here, Mycroft?"

"I'm not fishing for anything, Lestrade," Mycroft said. "It just seems a bit odd to me that so many things are different this time around for your cousin's latest trip."

"He got a job writing travel articles for a magazine and he's having fun seeing new places. Doesn't seem odd to me at all, and he's my cousin, so I think I'd know odd if I saw it," Lestrade said. "You're hunting ghosts, Mycroft. You really need to have an honest talk with John. I think he's afraid he'll come home from the surgery and find you dead at your desk. Think about what losing you would do to him."

"John is a strong man."

"Even strong men can break, Mycroft," Lestrade said. "You need to tend to your boyfriend and not be chasing after ghosts in other countries."

Mycroft stared at him for a long moment. Lestrade finally sighed and pulled out another folder. "Is that all?" he asked. "Unlike you, I have work to do."

"Yes, that's all," Mycroft said. "For now."

Lestrade rolled his eyes and went back to his paperwork. He really hated having to deal with Mycroft Holmes.


Chapter 13

Lestrade closed his eyes and counted to ten. "John, I am not a relationship counselor, nor do I want to become on," he said. "I'm in the middle of a case. Can you make this quick?"

"I just want to know why the hell you had to be so mean to Mycroft today. The man lost his brother, Greg. You don't have to keep throwing that fact in his face."

"John, I don't know what he told you, but I told him that he needed to accept that Sherlock is gone and mourn before you lost him too," Lestrade said. He opened another file and started to flip through it. "You two aren't the only ones that lost someone special, you know, but you both are so focused on yourselves that you seem to be forgetting that I lost the best friend I've ever had. Yes, Sherlock drove me mad, but he was my friend and I've been having to comfort Mrs. Hudson and Molly in my off time because you seem to have forgotten both of them are alive. I've been working five cases a day for the past week, I do not need Mycroft Holmes coming to my office while I'm trying to work to ask me questions about my cousin."

"How is Mrs. Hudson?" John asked. "I'm sorry, I've been so focused on Mycroft that you're right, I haven't been thinking. Do I need to go by and see her?"

"No, you don't bloody need to, John, that makes it sound like she's an obligation to be got out of the way before tea," Lestrade yelled. "You go to see her because you care about her enough to want to know how she's doing, not because you think you have to do it." He slammed the file down on his desk. "You and Mycroft both keep acting like you're the only ones that lost someone when Sherlock died. That you're the only ones that have any right to mourn and you are ignoring the simple fact that there are other people in this city that love Sherlock as much you as you both do. Until you get past that mindset, and the bloody mindset that Sherlock faked his death and is out there somewhere, you're only going to continue hurting people more and more until one of them can't handle it any more and they kill themselves."

John looked at the ground. "You worked it out," he said softly.

"What, you sleeping with Sherlock because Mycroft paid you to?" Lestrade asked. "I doubt that any money changed hands, John, but you are one of the biggest bastards I think I've ever met."

"Mycroft thought that once Sherlock realized that he was missing something by not having a partner, that Sherlock would turn to you," John said. "Because the two of you were so close."

"John, you're about one sentence away from a black eye and broken nose," Lestrade said. "I'll take the suspension that comes with it. The pair of you deserve each other. I've been with the force a long time, seen a lot of sick and twisted ideas in my time, but that has to be the most hurtful thing I have ever come across. Did it never occur to you that Sherlock feels deeply about everything? That you are one of the few people on this bloody planet that he trusted enough to let see him at any time and in any mood? Least now I don't have to wonder what hurt him badly enough to make him kill himself. You betrayed him."

"I did not."

Lestrade leaned over the desk, weight on his hands to keep from punching the younger man. "You. Betrayed. Sherlock," he said slowly. "You and Mycroft make me sick, John. Get out of here before I find a way to arrest you for accessory to suicide." He waited until he was alone before flopping back into his chair with a deep breath. It had been years since he'd felt so angry about something, or come that close to punching someone. It was just as well Sherlock was gone off traveling. He didn't need to be in the middle of the mess growing in London. Lestrade scrubbed his face and picked up the file again. He had a homicide to solve.


Chapter 14

Sherlock didn't turn around. "I'm worried about Greg," he said softly. "I left him with my brother to deal with, and that isn't easy under the best of times."

Fred sat down next to Sherlock with a sigh. He really liked the younger man, and enjoyed traveling with him. "Any way you could get in touch and see how he's doing?" he asked. "Greg's a strong bloke, one of the strongest in our family. He knows the truth."

"Yes, he does," Sherlock said with a sigh. "I apologize again for my brother's agents bothering you as they did. I should have known he would have us tracked."

"Kind of fun to lie to them," Fred said with a grin. "I've never been questioned by the government before. Sure, it's not something I'd want to repeat, but I got through it okay without any trouble. You should figure out a way to get a message to Greg that only he will understand if you're that worried about him. We're heading to the States tomorrow, now's the time to do it if you're going to."

"Anything I sent on a postcard or in a letter would be read by my brother first," Sherlock said. "He would be able to tell it was me, and that's more risk than I want to put on Greg. I'll figure out a phrase to work into another article and hope he's able to figure it out. Greg is smart, far smarter than I ever gave him credit for in public."

"That he is," Fred said. "You miss him, don't you?"

"I miss knowing that I had him as a support no matter what happened," Sherlock said. "I know, now, that no money changed hands between my brother and my friend when my friend slept with me, but that doesn't lessen the sting any. To be toyed with like that, no matter what the intended outcome, by people I trusted with my life. How do you even begin to heal from something like that?"

"You made a good start in Tibet. Sounds to me like you need to go back and spend more time there rather than carrying on with me to the States."

"Maybe you're right," Sherlock said. "There was a peaceful quality to the air there that I found calming. You will be careful of my brother's agent?"

Fred grinned. "Sure will, although once they see I'm traveling alone, they'll probably leave my trail and try to pick up yours," he said. "They seemed more interested in you last time than they did me."

"My brother suspects a ruse," Sherlock said. "I am good with costumes and make-up. No one will recognize me if I don't want them to. I just don't want to cause you more trouble when you've been so kind."

"You're a fun man to travel with," Fred said. "It's been no trouble at all."

"Then here is where we part ways," Sherlock said. "I think I need more time to think and the frantic pace of the States won't give me that at all. Tibet is calling to me. I'll take your advice and return there. Travel safely."

"You too." Fred sat and watched Sherlock walk off into the darkness. He didn't know if he would ever see the detective again, but hoped he would. If there was one thing Fred hated, it was an unfinished story.


Chapter 15

Lestrade walked out of the Yard and paused when he caught sight of John standing on the sidewalk. He hadn't spoken with the other man in close onto a month, not since he threatened John with a broken nose. With a sigh, he kept walking and wasn't surprised when John fell into step next to him. "Can we talk?" John asked.

"Depends on what you want to talk about," Lestrade replied. "I've had a long day and am not in the mood to be played, John."

"Mycroft doesn't know I'm here," John said. "He's out of the country on business for another two weeks or so."

"John, if you think for a minute that he's not getting reports on our movements, then you're deceiving yourself," Lestrade said. "I know exactly how he uses all the cameras around London and I know he always has me watched, even if he can't get to me at my flat."

"I was kind of hoping maybe we could go there to talk," John said.



"No. There's too much of a risk of there being a bug on you, in your clothes, or on something you accidentally leave behind," Lestrade said. "Every time you've given me something to look at since Sherlock killed himself there's been a bug in it. We can go to a pub or something, but you're not coming into my flat."

"You don't trust me, do you?" John asked.

"Nope." Lestrade headed into a pub that was close to the Yard where a lot of officers went after their shift was over, sometimes even for lunch on days when they had a little more time to sit and actually eat. He ordered his usual and paid before heading for a table. "All right, talk."

John sighed. "This would be easier if you weren't so hostile towards me, Lestrade."

"Do you want to review the points here, John?" Lestrade asked in reply. "Do you want me to go over everything I know like this was a case briefing before you tell me whatever the hell it is you want to talk about tonight? We can relieve the betrayal if you really want to."

"I wish I had a friend that cared for me as much as you care for Sherlock," John said. "Mycroft believes he's found firm evidence that Sherlock is alive and has headed to India to see if it's true or not."

"I'm surprised you didn't go with him."

"He's going under the cover of meeting with some of his informants, people I can't know about," John said. "I don't know what to think because your cousin is in the midwest right now, right?"

"I haven't been home the past couple of days so you probably know more about his location than I do," Lestrade said.

"Mycroft claims that your cousin is traveling alone now," John said. "That whatever traveling companion he had is gone and no one seems to know where the split happened, or where the other man is."

Lestrade shook his head and leaned back in his chair. "I still don't know anything about a traveling companion," he said. "As far as I know, Fred's traveling alone, unless he meets up with people in any given area. He's always been a social man and enjoys talking with people. I wouldn't be surprised if he didn't have a slew of new friends when he's home from this extended trip he's been on."

"I can't work out why India," John admitted.

"He's your lover, John. If you don't know, no one does," Lestrade said. "I'm still having trouble coming to terms with what the pair of you did to him."

"I really thought I was doing the right thing," John said.

"John, did either of you ever ask the question of my preferences?" Lestrade asked. "You said you did all this hoping that Sherlock would hook up with me. If we put to the side how twisted and sick that is using a man's feelings to try and set him up with someone else after you slept with him, how did either of you know that I would be interested in Sherlock, or even in men?"

"Mycroft said you were."

"Bloody idiots both of you," Lestrade said. "I saw Sherlock as a younger brother, John. A young man that was suffering at the hands of his blood brother and took him in because he needed the help."

"So what about you liking guys?" John asked.

"Don't do a damn thing for me," Lestrade replied. "Women now, that's another story."

"Maybe you just hadn't met the right one," John said. "I thought I was straight right up until I met Mycroft. Then I realized that I'd been stupid limiting myself and decided to see what happened."

Lestrade leaned forward over the table. "I'll tell you what happened, John. You fell right into the trap Mycroft wanted you to. I can't say if he can feel love, what he feels for you, that's between you two, but he saw a chance to get someone close to Sherlock," he said. "Someone Sherlock would trust and maybe even fall for, given the right indications. So he used you and because you listened to him instead of your own conscious and common sense, one of the best men I've ever known killed himself. That's what happened and that's not something I'll ever be able to forgive."


Chapter 16

Lestrade closed the folder with a sigh and reached for another one, blinking when his hand hit his desk. He looked over and saw that there were no more folders waiting for his attention and leaned back in his chair with a long sigh. No one knew what had happened for the past couple of weeks, but it was almost like the city was suffering a case of cabin fever. There had been more homicides in those two weeks than the several previous months combined. Lestrade didn't think he would ever catch up on the paperwork, but he'd finally managed it.

Now he wasn't sure if he had the energy to get home and back to the Yard in the morning. He pushed back from his desk and went to get his coat before turning off the light and locking his office behind him. Lestrade wasn't sure what time it was, but he didn't feel hungry at all. Just exhausted and, worse, weary. Before he made it to his current rank, he'd never understood the difference between those two words. Exhausted meant his body was ready to go to sleep. To stay in bed as long as possible in an attempt to make up for the lack of sleep it had over however many other days Lestrade had been awake and moving. Weary meant his mind was done thinking and switched over to auto. He'd be able to get home and into his bed before he fell asleep. He just wasn't sure he would be able to wake up when his alarm went off in the morning. Maybe he could take a sick day and stay in and sleep.

He made his way to his flat and locked the door behind him without thinking about it. Lestrade kicked off his shoes in front of the door, left his coat over the back of the sofa and collapsed into his bed without taking any of his clothes off. He was asleep before his feet joined his body in the bed.

When Lestrade woke up, he wasn't sure what time it was, or even what day it was. His alarm was off and there were no messages on his phone, which was weird, because his boss wasn't the sort to just ignore it if Lestrade didn't show up to work without a phone call.

"You're sick," a voice said from across the room.

"Bloody hell, Sherlock," Lestrade said, trying to slow his heart down a little by breathing. "How many times do I have to tell you not to do that to me? I'm old."

The smirk was obvious in his voice. "You lecture me about using myself too freely, and you do not take your own advice, Greg," Sherlock said. "I called your boss this morning and told him you were sick and would be out for a couple of days, and that you would call when you were feeling well enough to talk."

"And who did you tell him you were?" Lestrade asked. He rolled over in bed, not wanting to act any different than he normally did, until he noticed the blind was down. "No one can see in here?"

"No. The blind is perfectly fitted to the window," Sherlock said. "No one will see you talking to yourself this afternoon. I told him I was your cousin, just back from a tour of the world, and found you sick on the floor of your apartment. He decided not to ask me many questions after that, just told me to tell you to call in when you could."

"How long have you been here? When did you get back to London? How do you feel?"

Sherlock managed a small smile. "One question at a time, Greg, please," he said. "It's been several months since I've been around any sort of noise. I'm finding London a bit hard-going at the moment."

"When did you get back?"

"Yesterday morning," Sherlock said. "I was able to sneak into the city from the south and didn't come here until it was dark out. I didn't want to risk anyone reporting back to Mycroft that they saw me."

"Was I already home when you got here?"

"No. You came home at three in the morning and collapsed into bed before I could let you know I was here," Sherlock said. "I let you sleep since you obviously needed it more than you needed to know that I was here."

Lestrade nodded. "All right, how are you feeling?"

"I've spent the past few months in Tibet. It's taken a lot of time, but I believe I finally have come to terms with what happened to me," Sherlock said. "I do not know that I will ever be able to trust anyone again, but I do not feel like killing myself. That is, I believe, progress."

"I'm glad to hear that part. What are you going to do now?"

"I don't know. I haven't thought about it. Mycroft believes me to still be alive, so he has simply put my life on hold," Sherlock said. "There has been no funeral nor memorial service, so it is possible for me to come back to London and be seen to be alive again. No one outside my immediate circle knows that I faked my own death."


"Indeed. But. John would want to talk to me, and I do not believe that I am strong enough, or ready, to see him again," Sherlock said. "I know I cannot hide here in your home, though you would let me for as long as I needed, so I'm not sure what it is I want to do next."

"How was Tibet?"

"Quiet. There are places where you can go and sit and hear nothing but the wind for an entire day," Sherlock said. "I believe there is a certain power in that land that few truly understand. The monks there, they helped me come to terms with everything that happened to me before I ran. They were just unable to help me come to terms with the future, no matter how I wished they were able."

"I know I'd be glad to have you back, Sherlock. There were a couple of cases these past couple of weeks that you would have found interesting, and would have solved much faster than we were able to," Lestrade said. "Even if you don't want to help others, take private cases, I'd be glad to have you helping me again. Plus, I've missed you."

Sherlock smiled. "It hasn't been easy on you, having me gone, has it?" he asked.

"Nope. I had John and Mycroft constantly trying to trip me up and admit you were still alive," Lestrade replied. "For the most part though, I enjoyed putting them off like I was. I missed being able to come home and tell you what I'd done though."

"Thank you for your help with them," Sherlock said. "I'm not sure if I'm going to attempt to talk with either of them. I also came to the decision that I never want to be touched like that again. After what John did to me, I find it too distasteful to allow myself to be used in such a manner."

"Never is a long time, Sherlock. It's possible you might find someone you want to spend your life with. You never know."

"They hoped it would be you, didn't they?"

"That's what they tell me, but I'll be honest, Sherlock. I've never thought about you sexually," Lestrade said. "Plus, I'm still healing up from the whole mess with my wife, so maybe we can take that pledge together."

Sherlock grinned. "I would like that," he said.


Chapter 17

Lestrade was at his desk the next day, working through what little paperwork built up while he was off sick, when the door to his office shut and Mycroft sat down across from his desk. "Lestrade."

"Go away, Mycroft, I'm busy," Lestrade said.

"Who is staying at your flat right now?"

"No one," Lestrade said, flipping to the next page of the report. "And I'm sure you have more important things to be doing than harassing the police, Mycroft, so why don't we just skip the whole bloody fencing discussion and you just go ahead and leave."

Mycroft studied him for a long minute. "Someone called you in sick yesterday, Lestrade, and it couldn't have been your cousin as he claimed because your cousin is still in America," he finally said. "So that means you had company over for at least two days."

"Still don't know what you're talking about, but I find it a little creepy that you're so fixated on me that you're spying on me again," Lestrade said. He looked up from the report in front of him. "Do I need to go talk to my superiors again, Mycroft, and tell them that you're abusing government resources?"

"That won't be necessary, Lestrade," Mycroft said. "I'm just curious to know who would have been staying with you pretending to be your cousin."

"And I'm still not sure what you're talking about," Lestrade said.

"The note is in records, Lestrade, and it is simple enough to access those," Mycroft said.

Lestrade sighed. "Mycroft, I've long wondered why you insist upon harassing me like you do, and I think I worked it out," he said. "It's because you're jealous, and because you're jealous, you're acting like a schoolyard bully."

"Why would you come to such an inane conclusion?" Mycroft asked.

"It's simple. Before he killed himself, Sherlock would come to me to talk whenever he had any sort of problem or issue," Lestrade said. "He'd come to me rather than you because he trusted me, and that had to grate on you, knowing that your baby brother didn't trust you enough to talk to you about his problems. Now that he's gone, you've allowed yourself to be blinded to the simple fact that you drove him to take his own life because you never truly saw Sherlock for the man he was. Instead of mourning his loss and moving on, you're trying to find a way to prove that he's still alive and, in the process, you're pissing me off. Get out of my office before I call my boss and report you for harassment. Again."

"I fear you do not know what you're speaking of," Mycroft said, standing up.

"Yeah, I do," Lestrade said. "It's you that doesn't know what he's talking about. Good morning, Mycroft. Don't slam the door behind you."

Lestrade went back to the file in front of him, watching from the corner of his eye as Mycroft left with as much dignity as he possibly could. Mycroft would be a problem until Sherlock decided what it was he wanted to do, either come back to life in London or move back to Tibet to study for the rest of his life. Lestrade had to admit that quiet sounded good, but he didn't know if he would be able to stand constant study. He'd always been a man of action, and suddenly being stuck on top of a mountain would probably drive him insane before too long.

It was just as well Sherlock was staying in the flat and well hidden. Mycroft might want answers, but he knew that Lestrade would press charges for any laws Mycroft broke concerning himself or his flat. That meant that the flat was probably the one place in London where Sherlock was safe from prying eyes while he made an attempt to figure out what it was he wanted to do next with his life.

Truthfully, Lestrade hoped that he would stay in London. There might not be a chance of a romantic relationship between them, but Lestrade couldn't deny that he did feel happier when Sherlock was around, even if he also wanted to kill the younger man part of the time. If he had the time, he would have to take a look and see if it was possible for two men to maybe have a completely non-sexual relationship and suggest that to Sherlock. Lestrade wasn't sure how such a thing would work, but Sherlock was unconventional enough to enjoy the extremely unusual. Lestrade just wanted to be sure that Sherlock was safe and happy, and he could do that a lot easier if Sherlock was in London rather than halfway around the world on top of a mountain. It was worth thinking about.


Chapter 18

"Your brother came to see me today," Lestrade said, putting supper down on the coffee table in the living room. "He seems to think that I have someone staying with me right now."

Sherlock sighed. "The man does get obsessed over the worst things," he said. "I am sorry, Greg. I didn't mean to cause you more problems by coming here."

"Don't worry about it, I always have fun lying to him," Lestrade said with a grin. He passed over one of the bags. "What about you, did you figure anything new out today?"

"Not really. Do you understand what I mean when I say my mind is running in circles?"

"Sure, everyone goes through that at one point or another," Lestrade said. "I think it always means that I'm trying to hard to figure something else and give it a rest for a few days before trying again."

"I had thought I learned everything I needed to know about meditation and calming my mind in Tibet, but it seems that there is still more to be learned," Sherlock said with a sigh. "I wish I knew what I wanted, Greg."

Lestrade put his sandwich down on the wrapper and leaned forward. "Sherlock, you were forced to go running to protect your heart from destruction and spent a lot of time trying to heal from that," he said. "Then you also tried to find ways to calm your mind so you could come back to the city you love so much. I think you know what you want, you just haven't bothered to tell yourself yet."

"That doesn't make any sense, Greg," Sherlock said with a frown.

"Sure it does. Your heart knows what it wants, but you don't trust it anymore, so you're ignoring it," Lestrade said. "I started doing some research today to find out about different types of relationships. Did you know it's possible to have a loving relationship where you never have sex with your partner?"

"No, I didn't. Why would you be researching such things?"

"I like having your around, Sherlock, but I don't feel any sort of sexual desire for you," Lestrade said. "I don't want to hurt you the way that your brother and John hurt you, so I'm trying to be honest here. I'd like to have you here all the time, even with as crazy as you can be with your experiments, but I didn't know if it would be possible for us to be together in a relationship without sex."

"Were I to pick someone to spend my life with, it would likely be you, Greg, but it's as you say," Sherlock said. "I don't trust my heart any longer and do not wish to bind anyone into a relationship with me when I do not believe I can feel any sort of emotion for them."

"We're friends though, right?"

"Of course."

"Then why don't we stay friends and just see what happens as the years pass for us, Sherlock?" Lestrade said. "Friends support each other through life much as spouses do, though in different ways. I'm not trying to tie you to London, though I don't think I could go live in Tibet."

"I would like to be able to travel there for extended periods of time," Sherlock said. He leaned back against the chair he was sitting in front of, to keep his shadow from throwing on the shades. "I don't know if I'll ever be able to consult on cases again, Greg. If my judgment was so bad as to not be able to see what it was John planned, how can I, in good faith, apply those same faculties to cases where it is a matter of life and death?"

Lestrade nodded. "You're missing your confidence, Sherlock. You're welcome to stay here as long as you need, you know that," he said. "Why don't you read the papers and see if you can deduce the details from the stories? Start from the beginning again and retrain yourself to be able to observe. I know that you have enough money that you don't have to work if you don't want."

"I thought I might make an attempt to write," Sherlock said. "I know that my blog never got as many hits as I wished it to, but my cases could be instructional if used correctly in a teaching fashion."

"I think that's a great idea," Lestrade said. "You'll just have to be sure to give the details about how you arrived at various deductions because I know that I'm usually still lost even after you've explained everything to me at the end of a case."

"That's because you don't apply yourself," Sherlock said. "I have said many times that anyone can learn my techniques should they only apply themselves properly."

"Well then, why don't you use me as your test for the chapters you're working on then?" Lestrade asked with a grin. "If I can understand them, then you'll know that your students can."

Sherlock sighed. "I'm not saying you're stupid, Greg," he said. "Far from it. You just do not know how to best use your eyes and, when you do, sometimes you have trouble connecting the pieces into a picture that will tell you what you need to know."

"I've always known it was frustration that made you call me stupid, Sherlock. What are you going to do about your brother and John?"

"I don't know. I need to reestablish myself as among the living so I can have money to live, but I don't know if I want to go through the hassle of having to deal with John's guilt," Sherlock said. "What do you think I should do, Greg?"

"I think that you should go to the bank and tell them that you're alive and people have been exaggerating rumors of your death in an attempt to get your money," Lestrade said. "Don't do anything to draw attention to yourself while you're out and be certain you're not followed when you come back here. I'll deal with John and Mycroft for you."

"What if they should force the issue or attempt to gain entry here?" Sherlock asked.

"Then I'll have them arrested for attempted breaking and entering along with harassment," Lestrade replied. "Mycroft knows I'll do it, too. I'm not saying that you'll be safe here, Sherlock, but I think that you're safer here than anywhere else in London."

Sherlock nodded with a small sigh. "I'll go to the bank tomorrow," he said. "You'll allow me to pay you rent while I'm here."

"Sure, Sherlock," Lestrade said with a smile. "That'll be fine."


Chapter 19

"Greg, could you do me a favor, please?" Sherlock asked the next morning before Lestrade left for work.

"Of course, what do you need?"

"Would you stop by Baker Street and collect my case books, please?" Sherlock said. "You know what they look like, hidden as I have them with the rest of my books, and also my files from my room? I'd like to have them here with me while I'm trying to write up my past successes and failures."

Lestrade nodded. "Sure, not a problem," he said. "How many trips is it going to take me to bring the lot back here?"

"Several, I'm afraid, but I don't dare go near Baker Street myself. I'm positive that Mycroft will have it watched and I'm not up to facing either of them just now."

"Not a problem, Sherlock," Lestrade said. "I'll get a couple of the lads to help me so it only takes us the one trip. I know you don't like strangers in your space, but it'll be easier this way. Do you want me to let Mrs. Hudson know the truth while I'm there?"

"If you would. Tell her that I'll call when it's safe for me to do so," Sherlock said. "I'm going to the bank today, to arrange for a transfer to a new account at another bank, and then I might walk a little. See what has changed while I was away."

"What sort of disguise are you going to be using?"

Sherlock managed a smile. "Nothing major, I don't have the supplies," he said. "The bank manager shall have to be able to recognize me, but I will be well shielded from the cameras while I'm out moving around."

"All right, call me if you need me," Lestrade said. "I'll see you tonight. Have a good day, Sherlock."

"You too, Greg. Stay safe."

Sherlock waited an hour after Lestrade left before making his way to the bathroom to put his small disguise together. The beard wasn't much, but it helped change the angle of his face enough that no one would recognize him at first glance. The wig lengthened his hair a little and, when combined with glasses and a hoodie, Sherlock felt hidden enough to venture out into an area where Mycroft was sure to have someone watching for him.

He snuck out the back way and used what allies and back roads he could while walking to his bank. Sherlock usually used cabs to move around, rarely taking the Tube, and even more rarely walked. He kept his hood up and his head down, slouching his shoulders and shuffling his feet rather than striding along as he normally did. He used the rear entrance to the bank and went inside, moving slowly as if he were injured.

"Excuse me," he said to one of the floor supervisors, "I have an appointment with Mr. Smithton."

"Yes, Sir, your name, please?"


"One moment, Sir."

Sherlock stood and looked around as best he could with his head down. There was no one that stood out as one of Mycroft's people, but for all Sherlock knew, he was speaking to the plant about his appointment.

"He's expecting you, Mr. Holmes, this way, please."

"Thank you." Sherlock trailed the man as they headed towards the offices on the upper floors.

"Come in, come in," Mr. Smithton said, when he caught sight of Sherlock. "Thank you, Jones, that will be all." He shut the door and turned to the younger man. "I was surprised to get your call, Mr. Holmes, given the rumors flooding the papers that you died."

"Greatly exaggerated, I assure you," Sherlock said, straightening up with a bit of a groan. "I appreciate you making time for me so quickly this morning, Mr. Smithton."

"It wasn't a problem at all. Sit down, please, Mr. Holmes. Can I get you some tea or coffee?"

"Thank you, no," Sherlock said. "Please let me come directly to the point, Mr. Smithton, before I left the country for an extended tour of Europe, I was attacked and brutally used by a pair of men that I considered family. I believe they are the ones that started the rumors of my demise, likely in an attempt to get to my money. Though I am back in London, I am having to remain in hiding to remain safe, and one of the men knows well where it is I bank."

"You believe he is having the bank watched, hence the disguise," Mr. Smithton said, nodding. "You should have used contacts rather than glasses, Mr. Holmes. Those eyes of yours are fairly unique. You're here to authorize a transfer of all your funds to one of our sister banks?"

Sherlock nodded. "I am. I would prefer the one in the north, if that is possible," he said. "If I did not fear delays in transactions, I would ask for the branch in Paris."

"There's less of a delay than you would think," Mr. Smithton said. "I would estimate it at roughly six hours longer than it would be for the bank in the north, with the added benefit, of course, that your associates would not be able to track you there."

"My thoughts exactly," Sherlock said. "Paris, then. How long will it take to set up the new accounts?"

"Two days. Would you like to make a withdrawal before we begin the transfers?"

"Please. Let me have five thousand in various bills," Sherlock said. "I have to pay rent on where I am living now, and purchase food and some other supplies as well."

Mr. Smithton nodded. "If you would leave us your new address, we will have the new cards and books delivered by personal courier as soon as the transfers are complete."

"That would be fine, thank you," Sherlock said.


Chapter 20

Mrs. Hudson wasn't home when Lestrade and some of his friends arrived at Baker Street after work. In a way Lestrade was relieved because he wasn't sure how best to tell the older woman that Sherlock was alive and only faked his death to protect his broken heart. He used his key in the lock and headed up the stairs to the second floor. Everything was the same and Lestrade shook his head when he saw that the room was also well-dusted. Mrs. Hudson was no doubt taking good care of everything, even though she protested that she wasn't their house-keeper.

"All right, guys, let me find the books I'm looking for and we can get them packed up," Lestrade said. He'd made up a story about needing some of Sherlock's books to help him with a personal matter, so it wouldn't seem odd to his friends that they were collecting books from a dead man's flat.

Lestrade started on the left-hand side of the room and slowly started to pull the books Sherlock kept on his cases, notes and clippings from the papers, and information on people around the world. It was one way the younger man was old-fashioned. With computers, many people would keep information on their laptop or tower. Sherlock didn't trust to the safety and security of electronics for his life's work, so he hid his information in with his other books to keep things safe. Lestrade was one of the rare people that knew what the case books looked like. He doubted John ever saw Sherlock work on one of them. Sherlock was more than slightly paranoid about the case books and the information held within them and rarely, if ever, pulled one off the shelf unless he was completely alone.

"Detective," Mycroft said from the doorway, "what are you doing here?"

"Fetching some books to help me with a personal matter," Lestrade said, glancing back. He could see John behind Mycroft and bit back the snarl seeing the pair of them together caused. "It's in his will, Mycroft, so I'm afraid you can't stop me."

"I'm sure I don't know what you mean," Mycroft said.

"Sure you do. Sherlock might have left a few things to other people, but the bulk of his belongings were left to me," Lestrade said. "I just haven't had the chance to collect them yet. Mrs. Hudson has been kind enough to let me store them here until I had space for them."

"I have yet to see a copy of this will, Detective Lestrade," Mycroft said. "So I am afraid that I cannot allow you to leave with the books, no matter how much you may need them."

Lestrade grinned and pulled a piece of paper out of the inner pocket of his jacket. "Here you go then," he said. "His solicitor is working late tonight if you wish to call. I'm sure you know the name, Mycroft. You're the one that introduced them, after all."

"A will only goes into effect when a person is proven dead," Mycroft said. "Sherlock is still alive."

"So you and Watson continue to insist, but his body was found and the autopsy proved it was him," Lestrade said. "Face it, Mycroft, you and your lover there pushed one of the best men to breaking and he killed himself as a result. If there was any firm proof of your actions, I would have already filed paperwork to have you both arrested for homicide."

Mycroft sighed. "I believe you would find that quite impossible," he said.

"I dunno, my bosses take a grim view of murders no matter where they work or how much power they have," Lestrade said. "Mycroft, you haven't had any say in your brother's life since he was a child and you don't have any now. I'm taking the damn books, and anything else I feel like, out of this flat and there's not a damn thing you can do to stop me. If I'm killed, my colleagues here will take the appropriate steps to be certain that I'm avenged."

"Is that a threat, Detective?"

"Not at all, just stating the facts for you, since you seem to not be able to understand anything else that I'm saying," Lestrade said. He closed up a box and added it to the stack they'd been working with. "If that's all, Mycroft, I'm busy and need to get back to work."

"Who is living with you, Detective?"

"No one," Lestrade said. He started to pull down some other random books so it wouldn't be obvious what all he was taking with him. "You know I don't like people around me after work. John, I would take him along to a doctor. I don't think Mycroft is well."

"He's fine," John said, speaking for the first time.

"He might need an unbiased opinion on that one," Lestrade said. He turned around with a stack of books in his hand. "If that's all, Mycroft, I'm sick of looking at you both. Get out."