Title: Magical my ass
By: Tiffany F
Pairing: Sherlock/Lestrade
Fandom: Sherlock
Rating: AO
Disclaimer: Don't own, don't claim, no money made here.
Summary: Moriarty dabbles in the black arts. Sherlock doesn't want to be a virgin sacrifice so he goes and asks Lestrade to help him take care of the problem. Lestrade isn't exactly thrilled at the idea.


Chapter 1

Need your immediate assistance. SH

Lestrade looked at his phone and sighed. He couldn't imagine what Sherlock was cooking up to keep himself occupied without a case, but was fairly sure he didn't want any part of it. Hell, his sanity probably depended on it.

Busy. GL

Paperwork can wait, this is a matter of life and death. SH

Get John to help. I am working. GL

This is something he can't help with. I cannot even tell him about it. SH

Stop being so overly dramatic. GL

"I'm not. He'll move out," Sherlock said, shutting the door to Lestrade's office behind him.

"Jesus, Sherlock, don't sneak up on me like that."

Sherlock looked at him and raised an eyebrow. "Considering the number of loud and abrasive insults I was forced to endure on my way in, I did not sneak up on you," he said. "Anderson is being less professional than is usual. His wife must be in town."

Lestrade leaned back in his chair, coffee mug in hand. "All right, since you're here, what's so damn important?"

"I need you to take me to bed and penetrate me to mutual orgasm and allow me to do the same to you."

The coffee Lestrade had just sipped sprayed across the desk, most of it ending up on the consulting detective. "What?" Lestrade sputtered.

Sherlock sighed, pulled a handkerchief from his jacket and wiped his dripping face. "How charming, Lestrade, is this some sort of foreplay I am unaware of?"

"No, that's what happens when you surprise someone who has a mouth full of coffee," Lestrade replied. "You missed a spot, just there."

"Thank you," Sherlock said, trying to stay dignified, no matter how hard that was with coffee dripping from his curls. "Shall we go?"

"No, Sherlock, because we are not doing this," Lestrade said. He put his coffee down to be on the safe side and stared at the man across from him. "Go bother John with whatever mad scheme you're working on now."

"This isn't something I can ask John to help me with. He is, unsuited, for my needs. If you won't help me, then I have two choices left me; I can go to Mycroft or I can die."

Lestrade took a deep breath and counted to ten. In French. It took him longer because he could never remember seven and tended to get four and nine backwards.?

"Sept," Sherlock said. "Quatre and neuf. Honestly, Lestrade, focus."

"Okay, forget it. Come on."

"Your flat or mine?"

"Neither, we're going to see your brother and get this all straightened out because I really don't think I can handle this on my own today."

Sherlock closed his eyes. "You've just made this harder for the both of us, Lestrade. However, if you feel you must run to my brother, have the decency to allow me to clean up first."

"Yeah, whatever. I'll be here when you get back."

Mycroft didn't even look up when Sherlock stalked into his office, followed by a very uncomfortable Detective Inspector. "It's generally considered more effective to drink one's coffee, Sherlock," he said. "You won't achieve nearly the same enjoyment wearing it."

"I thought you gave up coffee, Mycroft, to try and lose those last few pounds."

"Merely changed the recipe a little. It's a pleasure to see you, Detective Inspector. Dare I ask what Sherlock has done this time? I know he hasn't blown up anything important. My desk, as you can see, is clear."

Lestrade sighed. Dealing with Mycroft was only slightly easier than dealing with Sherlock. He sat down and rubbed his eyes. "Your brother propositioned me in my office."

"Oh, Sherlock, you should really know better," Mycroft sighed.?

"Thank you," Lestrade said.

"You should wait until he's off the clock," Mycroft continued as if Lestrade hadn't spoken. "Far less fuss with legalities and eavesdroppers."

"Speaking from experience, Mycroft?" Sherlock asked with a small smirk.?

"Of course not. You know my feelings on the matter. Besides, the police do tend to frown on whips, no matter what the context."

Lestrade sputtered. "What the hell?"

"I only whip the willing, Lestrade," Mycroft said with a small smile. "Even then, only if they ask me very, very nicely."

"Okay, I probably don't really want to know," Lestrade said, holding up a hand. "Just help me out, Mycroft, please."

"Certainly. What aid can I be?"

"Sherlock came to my office and told me that he needs me to bugger him, then let him bugger me," Lestrade said. "And that if I didn't, he'd turn to you."

"Yes?" Mycroft asked.

"You mean you don't see a problem with all of this?" Lestrade asked.

"Only one."

"The fact that I'm married?"

"Put that down, Sherlock. Of course not, Lestrade. Have you ever been anally penetrated?" Mycroft asked.

"Of course not! I don't find men sexually attractive," Lestrade exclaimed. "I'm married and will not cheat on my wife."

"A very noble and, Sherlock I did say put that down, admirable sentiment, I'm sure," Mycroft said. "Especially when you consider your wife is in the bed of another man as we speak."


"Would you care to see the video footage? We normally don't monitor your flat, but it's been added to the list since we learned of Moriarty."

Sherlock appeared from whatever shadow he had been lurking in. "You are a detective, Lestrade, you had to have known on some level."

Lestrade took a deep breath. "Okay, fine, this seems to be the perfect set-up, so tell me why Sherlock's suddenly so keen to learn about buggery."

"It's all to do with Moriarty," Mycroft started with a small sigh. "Our sources tell us he's begun to dabble with what is normally referred to as black magic. He has decided to perform a virgin sacrifice to gain power, and fixed on Sherlock as his victim."

"And? Let him go find a woman and take care of the problem like a normal bloke," Lestrade said.

"A woman is unsuitable as there are two types of virginity and Sherlock needs to have both thoroughly eliminated," Mycroft said. "He and I have both researched the spell Moriarty is preparing to use, and Sherlock's partner must be a virgin in at least one area. As much as I would love to be able to debauch my dear brother in such a manner, I am entirely unsuited for the task."

"Not even going there," Lestrade said. "That's just wrong on so many levels. What about John? He's always willing to help Sherlock."

"He had a drunken one night stand with a male soldier and is equally unsuited. You see our dilemma, Lestrade, whomelse can we trust with this?"

"I'm sure you can find someone." Lestrade stood up. "Because it's not going to be me."

Mycroft and Sherlock watched him leave, shutting the door firmly behind him. "He'll come around, Sherlock."

"There isn't much time left."

"Have a little faith in your brother, though I do realize how hard that is for you these days. Lestrade is being used and doesn't even realize it."

"What are you going to do to him, Mycroft?"

"Show him the extent of his wife's infidelities, to start. He's a proud man, but a blind one. I do think it's time to help him see what's right under his nose."

Sherlock sighed. "I hope you're right about this."

"Trust me. He may be drunk when he arrives at Baker Street, but he will come to you. We won't allow Moriarty to win this round, and we can start his downfall at the same time."


Chapter 2

Lestrade really should have known better. He had honestly thought when he left the Holmes brothers in Mycroft's office, that would be the end of it. Hearing his wife's infidelity mentioned so casually stung, but no worse than any other manipulation Sherlock had used over the years. Lestrade knew what his wife was doing, had known since it started, and was determined to keep his vows for as long as he could. He meant them and wasn't a man to break any sort of promise.?

The package waiting on his desk the next morning made Lestrade pause with closed eyes for a moment, either begging for strength or hoping the damn thing would be gone when he opened them again. It didn't work. The box was still there when he looked again and, upon closer inspection, addressed by Mycroft's phone obsessed assistant.?Lestrade had a fair idea of what Mycroft would be sending him and debated leaving it until after work, but reasoned he would be able to focus better if he actually knew what was in the package rather than guessing. Feeling like he was about to confront a box of live snakes, Lestrade ripped off the brown paper and found a standard size file box with three folders inside it. Seriously doubting he was about to find briefing materials for a case with Sherlock, Lestrade picked up the first folder, flipped it open and fell back in his chair so heavily that he almost went over backwards. There were pictures. Pictures of his wife on a date with Donovan and Anderson, leaving no questions as to how the evening ended either. Lestrade found that he was shaking with repressed rage and thought that if he had to see either of his team, he might punch them. It was one thing for them to do what they did to Anderson's wife - and that alone made Lestrade mad enough - but for them to be involved with his wife as well. He forced his hand to unclench and closed the folder slowly. He took a deep breath and let it out. Photoshop. It could be photoshop designed to make him lose his temper and go storming to Baker Street.?

"Sir, are you okay?"

Lestrade didn't realize that one of the pictures had fallen out of the folder and onto his desk until he saw Donovan pale and take a step back in shock. Damn. Not photoshop. "Sally, you have one chance to convince me this isn't real," he said in a low tone, one that very few people ever heard from him.?

"Sorry, sir," she said softly. "I. There is no excuse for what I did. It was wrong and I shouldn't have let Anderson talk me into it."I

t was probably just as well there wasn't anything on his desk that he could throw. A red haze fell over his vision, one that wouldn't even vanish with deep breathing. "Out," he said. "Get out and do not come near me unless we have to work. Do you understand me?"


"I said, do you understand me, Donovan."

"Yes sir."

Lestrade clenched his hands into fists on his legs to keep from throwing something at her retreating back. He couldn't remember the last time he had been so mad. Probably not even the last time Sherlock had blown up something in his kitchen. Angry, sure, he got angry all the time, but the deep burning mad sensation was rarer and took longer to build up. Lestrade knew that he had to leave the Yard, get away from his team before he said or did something that would make him into the bad guy. He glanced into the second folder and saw his wife with a young, pleasant looking man. There was a note in a hand he didn't recognize, most likely Mycroft's, that said one word. Moriarty.?Lestrade gathered up all the files and left his office. He had sworn he wasn't going to do it, but he needed to see Sherlock. The younger detective was the only one who could help him make sense of everything.?

John wasn't sure what scared him the most when Lestrade flung open the door to the sitting room, but every single one of his survival instincts screamed at him to run. "Hey, Lestrade, case?" he asked, hoping that he sounded even close to moderately normal.

"No, I need to talk to Sherlock. Privately."

"Sure, I can, uhm, I can go see if Sarah needs any help at the surgery," John said. "How long do you need?"

"Morning tomorrow."

"Let me grab a few things then," John said. He would just sleep at the surgery if Sarah wouldn't let him kip on her sofa again. "Shoot me a text if you get things worked out before then, yeah?"


During all of this, Sherlock remained stretched out on the sofa, hands under his chin, eyes closed. He didn't even flinch when the folders landed on his chest. "Did you check the third?" he asked.

"No. I was too traumatized by the first two," Lestrade replied bitterly.

"Do sit down, Lestrade. Punching the wall will do you no good." Sherlock stared at him. "John's pillow, on the other hand, will take a beating and leave you no worse the wear."

Lestrade shook his head and sank down in the middle of the floor, his legs just giving out. "How?" he asked.

"It would seem she has all the morals of a house cat," Sherlock said. He sighed and sat up, leaning forwards towards Lestrade.

"That's my wife you're talking about."

"No, actually that was Sergeant Donovan I was talking about. Do try to keep up, Lestrade."

"You're a prat."

"So people tell me." Sherlock sighed and shifted to sit on the floor next to Lestrade. "The third folder has a copy of your wife's new bank account information in it. Moriarty has been, generous, in more ways than one. Mycroft and I weren't sure if you knew she had opened a personal account."

"I had no idea." Lestrade ran his fingers through his hair and stayed in that position, looking at the floor. "Sherlock, I thought I knew her. I knew what she was doing, but I still had hope. Foolish hope, maybe, but hope. God, I wanted to believe it was just a midlife crisis or something. I was willing to take her back no matter what I thought she had done, but knowing this how can I do it?"

"I'm not sure what you want me to say, Lestrade," Sherlock said softly. He shifted closer and, after hesitating a moment, put his arm around Lestrade's shoulder.

"What are you doing?" Lestrade asked, head snapping up to look at the younger man. 

"Isn't this how people give comfort?" Sherlock asked in reply. "I am sure that I've observed this method from people before."

Lestrade couldn't help but laugh at that. "Yeah, this is what us normal people do to try and comfort others," he said. "Never thought I'd see the day you tried to help someone else."

"Lestrade, you really are not much of an observer, are you?" Sherlock asked. "Haven't you realized that I am genuinely fond of you? That I do value your presence."

"Could've fooled me," Lestrade replied. "The way you're always going on about how stupid I am and how I don't see anything at my crime scenes." He paused for a minute. "Sherlock, is that your way of trying to be friends?"

"I've never been able to relate easily to people," Sherlock said. He tried to move away, but stopped when one of Lestrade's arms slipped around his waist and held him in place. "You, for all your protests and problems, have always understood me on some level, Lestrade. I know that if I need help, I can come to you and you'll give it to me. You may lecture and put restrictions in place, but you will ultimately help me. I am in no way comfortable in the world, surrounded by people who couldn't observe their way out of a wet paper sack, walking through life as if they were blind. I cannot lower my mind to their level and was forced to stop trying years ago. I am as you see me, Lestrade. I can realize if something is a bit not good, as John tells me, but I find it hard to care."

"Sociopath," Lestrade said almost fondly.

"High-functioning sociopath," Sherlock said.

"What are you going to do now, Sherlock?"

"Destroy Moriarty and anyone who was helping him," Sherlock sighed. "I am, sorry, for that, Lestrade."

Lestrade felt his breath catch in his throat. "What's she done?" he managed.

"The last three cases that you've had end under mysterious circumstances, where they've refused to move forward and the suspects walked out," Sherlock said. "Your wife passed information to Moriarty and, if this comes to light, will make it appear that you were the one to do so. Mycroft has the suspects in government custody and is holding onto them tightly. We can't make a move on anyone who still walks free until we're sure that Moriarty hasn't grown even more powerful."

"This black magic crap you were on about?"

Sherlock pulled away and stood in one fluid motion. "It's all real, Lestrade." He picked up a folder and book and handed them to the older man. "Read these. You'll likely be more comfortable in one of the chairs. Hungry?"

"Not really."

"Let me know when you are. I can order take away or something." Sherlock flopped back down onto the sofa and shifted back into his thinking pose. "I won't drift far today, Lestrade. Ask me any questions you feel you need answers to."


Chapter 3

Lestrade didn't know what to think. He was reading papers and information about satanic rituals and deals with darker powers for influence and power. If it had been anyone other than a Holmes - and even then he had issues with it being Sherlock rather than Mycroft - who had handed it to him, he would have dismissed the whole thing as a huge joke and walked out. The very fact that Sherlock and Mycroft were taking it seriously, that the brothers who based everything on science and logic were willing to believe that there was a real, tangible threat from the information he was reading made Lestrade at least keep an open mind.

"Have I ever lied to you?" Sherlock asked softly from across the room.

"Never blatantly, but you don't always tell me everything, Sherlock," Lestrade replied. "How did you know what I was thinking anyway?"

"Please, it's obvious. You're a cop and old school. You've never dealt with any sort of satanic cult or the darker parts of humanity so it's only natural that you would feel doubt when confronted by such a thing," Sherlock said. He tilted his head to the side and opened his eyes, fixing Lestrade with a look. "Yet they are out there, and people have killed in such a manner before. That Moriarty is trying it does surprise me on many levels, but we have to accept that the threat is there and is real in order to deal with it."

"So how do we deal with this threat?" Lestrade asked. "I'm not talking about the sex, Sherlock, I get that part. How do the two of you plan to stop Moriarty without sinking down to his level?"

Sherlock moved to his chair and sat down, leaning forward to talk with Lestrade. "There's an article in there on the rite that Moriarty wants to use," he said. "It's a deal with a fairly large creature, a demon, who would not take kindly to being lied to. The plan is for me to be completely unsuitable for the ritual and hope that it backfires on Moriarty when he attempts it."

"So you're going to let him capture you, tie you down and," Lestrade referred to the article Sherlock was talking about, "draw on your naked body with a knife to summon this demon and hope that the fact that you're no longer a virgin will be enough to turn the demon back on Moriarty? Sherlock, I've wondered before if you're mad. I think I've finally got my answer."

"All of our research shows that if you promise a virgin to a demon of that high of a rank and do not produce one, it will turn on the summoner and leave everyone else alone," Sherlock said. "My research shows that you do not make deals with demons lightly and he'll have already started the deal prior to the rite. Mycroft and I believe he's already signed the contract and has only to deliver me on a certain day. Time is running out for me, Lestrade. I really do not want to die."

Lestrade closed the folders and leaned back in the chair with a sigh. "All right, say that we do go and sleep together," he said. "You'll never get me hard, Sherlock. I've never found men even remote attractive. What are you going to do then?"

"Mycroft has been tutoring me," Sherlock said. "He believes that with the correct touch you'll be able to perform. I'm not asking for romance from you, Lestrade. I'm asking for a favor to help me save my life and the lives of the people in London. I realize that this is a lot of information being put to you at once, especially about your wife, but time is short."

"Sherlock, I just don't know," Lestrade said. "I haven't done anything casual since before I was married."

"No one will know of this but the two of us and Mycroft," Sherlock said. "Please, Lestrade. I would not ask if there was anyone else I could trust for this."

"How long do I have to think about it?"

"We believe that Moriarty plans to make his move the day after tomorrow," Sherlock said. "I will need time to recover, Lestrade. If it is to be done, it will have to be now."

Lestrade looked at the man sitting across from him. "You really are sorry about this, aren't you?"

"Of course I am."

"Oh, what the hell," Lestrade sighed. "It's not like I'll be able to go home tonight anyway. You're going to have to tell me what to do, Sherlock. I have no earthly idea about any of this."

"Thank you, Lestrade," Sherlock said. "I realize this is difficult for you and Mycroft and I both will do whatever we can when the case is over to help you heal from what we've asked you to do."

"Holiday at the shore will help," Lestrade said. "This is probably the least romantic encounter of my life. You got what we need in the bedroom?"

"I do," Sherlock said. He stood and held out a hand. "Come with me, Lestrade. I'll explain once we're secure in my room."


Sherlock closed and locked the door behind them, the blinds already drawn with curtains over them. "This is in two sections," he said. "I think you'll be most comfortable in a role you're already passingly familiar with, so you'll penetrate me first. Mycroft gave me exercises to do, Lestrade, so I won't take damage from this. I wish that we'd been able to do the same for you, but I'll go slowly and be extra careful. You can sleep here, I'm not going to ask this of you and then run you off."

"Part of me can't believe I've agreed to this," Lestrade said. "I'll be honest, Sherlock, everything I know about sex between two guys makes me think that it's more about pain and domination than it is anything else."

"You know for your work, where that is probably true," Sherlock said. He started to undress and motioned for Lestrade to do the same. "I do admit that I have no personal experience with intimacy of any sort, but I've spoken with Mycroft about it and he says that between two people who love each other, or at the least care enough not to wish harm on the other, it's not dissimilar to what happens between a man and a woman."

Lestrade draped his trousers over the back of a chair and looked over at Sherlock's naked form. "Yep, I got nothing," he said. "I don't know how you think you're going to get me hard for this, Sherlock. I think it's going to be impossible."

"Not as impossible as you seem to think," Sherlock said. "Let me get myself ready and then we'll work on you. Again, Mycroft has been teaching me what to do and has given me a couple of toys to help me get used to the sensations. It is not unpleasant, Lestrade. I was rather surprised by that fact." He took out a tube of lube and a toy. "Sit wherever you're most comfortable while I'm doing this. If you want to help, or are curious, then just make sure that you use the lube first."

"Sherlock, what about protection?" Lestrade asked, looking over at the bed.

"In the drawer there," Sherlock replied. He got into position and started to stretch his body open. "I'll admit that I've had more conversations with Mycroft in the past month and a half than I have in years, and all of them about one of two topics. Black magic and sexual instruction. It's been more than a little unusual."

"He's not been touching you, has he?" Lestrade asked. He figured if he was going to do this, then he might as well do it right. "How much lube do I use just to touch you?"

The younger man looked over at him. "Slick but not dripping wet," he said. "To answer your other question, no, Mycroft has never touched me. He makes his partners do all the work unless they've managed to get him to agree to a domination scene." He moaned when Lestrade's finger pushed in next to his. "He did warn me that the touch of another would be stronger than any touch of my own. In that, he was quite correct."

"How am I supposed to fit in here?" Lestrade asked. "My wife wouldn't let me near her arse. This seems impossible."

"It does, but it's not, I promise you that," Sherlock replied. "Look at the toy, Lestrade. Are the dimensions similar to your own?"

"What sort of question is that?" Lestrade asked.

"A logical one," Sherlock said. "If you would prepare the toy for me, please, Lestrade. It's time to get you more involved in the proceedings."

Lestrade pulled carefully back, not wanting to hurt Sherlock, and picked up both the toy and the lube. "There's no way this is going to work, Sherlock. I'm not even getting twitches of interest from touching you."

"The toy, Lestrade," Sherlock said. "Thank you." He took it and slid it into his body slowly, a soft moan falling out when it was fully seated. "I will admit that I enjoy feeling full like this. It's not something I had expected. Now, is there anything you don't want me to do?"

"I can think of a list, yeah, but if you need to do it then do it," Lestrade said. "Where do you want me?"

"Stretch out on the bed on your back," Sherlock said softly. "I wish there was another way, Lestrade, but if Mycroft and I cannot see one, then it isn't there. Thank you for your help with his. It means a great deal to me."

Lestrade was touched at the emotion he saw in Sherlock's eyes. He knew the younger man was purposely showing the emotions to let Lestrade know they were real. He'd seen Sherlock act enough to know when something was real and when it wasn't. "All right, genius, show me how you're going to get me interested in things because I don't think you can do it."

"Oh, I can do it, Lestrade," Sherlock said with a smile. He leaned down and kissed Lestrade softly, keeping the touch between them light. "My first kiss," he whispered when they broke apart. "I can't think of anyone else I would rather it have been."

"Come here, you," Lestrade said. He might not know much about sex between men, but he knew about kissing and enjoyed it. He pulled Sherlock back down and took the lead in the next kiss, hands up in Sherlock's messy curls. Sherlock moaned and opened to Lestrade, letting the older man lead the kisses that followed. The jerk when their bare chests came into contact wasn't unexpected and Sherlock pulled back.

"So different for you, but I can make it so good," he whispered, starting to dot small kisses along Lestrade's neck and down towards his chest. "I'm not going to hurt you, Lestrade, relax." He ran the flat of his tongue over a nipple and pulled back, studying Lestrade closely. "Nothing. I can see that I'm going to have to explore a little."

"Sherlock, I think it's a lost cause," Lestrade said. "You can't fight biology."

"Of course you can," Sherlock said. "That was one spot on your body, Lestrade. There are numerous others that could trigger an erotic reaction. I just have to locate them. There is the obvious, of course."

Lestrade jumped when Sherlock's cool hand wrapped around his cock and lifted it up. Sherlock moved down and licked over the top. It was his best chance to get Lestrade involved in the activities and smiled when he felt the flesh under his hand twitch a little. "I think we have a place to start," he said, glancing up at Lestrade.

"I'll admit it's been a while," Lestrade said. He grabbed a second pillow so he could prop his head up to watch without killing his neck. "How the hell have you been practicing this?"

"Bananas," Sherlock said. He carefully took the head in his mouth and started sucking. Lestrade moaned as his body started to come to life. He hadn't thought it was possible, and he still wasn't sure he would stay hard, but it felt good to have a mouth wrapped around him again. It wasn't a touch he'd felt in at least two years, if not longer.

"Sherlock, I think I'm jealous of those bananas," Lestrade gasped, hands moving down to tangle back in Sherlock's hair. "Shouldn't be surprised though, you're good at everything you do." He jumped at a touch he hadn't been expecting. "Too soon."

"All right, Lestrade," Sherlock said pulling back. "Not until later then. Shall we try this?"

"How can we be sure I'll stay hard?" Lestrade asked.

"Stay as you are and let me come to you," Sherlock replied. "Stroke yourself, Lestrade, while I get things finished up."

Lestrade reached down and took himself in hand, stroking slowly. He wasn't sure what else had to be done and jumped when Sherlock brought the condom into play; he'd forgotten about protection. The lube was cool, but not cold enough to have an effect on him and Lestrade watched as Sherlock applied the lube and then straddled his hips. "I don't know about this, Sherlock."

"Trust me, Lestrade," Sherlock said. He dropped the toy on the bed next to them and reached back to steady Lestrade's erection as he sank backwards.

Lestrade couldn't help the moan that escaped him as he penetrated up into the body above him. "God you're tight," he said. He thrust up a little, sinking a little farther into Sherlock's body. "This isn't hurting you, is it?"

"No, I'm fine, it's just far more intense than I was expecting," Sherlock replied. "This is where I was hoping for a little more sensitivity in your chest, Greg." He rested his hands near Lestrade's nipples as he started moving. "I would be able to give you even more pleasure than you're feeling now."

"Can you come in this position?" Lestrade asked. He grabbed onto Sherlock's hips as the younger man started to move steadily.

"I'm not sure, I haven't attempted this on my own," Sherlock replied. "It is an awkward position, do you have another one you could suggest?"

"We could switch places," Lestrade said. "It'd let me kiss you too."

Sherlock paused for a minute and then nodded. Moving was an easier suggestion than the process was, but they finally found the perfect position and Lestrade groaned when he slid back into Sherlock's body. "You're still so tight," he said, starting to thrust.

"You feel good in me, Greg," Sherlock admitted. He reached down and started to stroke his erection, knowing that it would take practice for Lestrade to find the correct angle, and that wasn't something he would get. He would have to talk with Mycroft about options, because he liked what he was feeling and wanted to learn more. Sherlock knew that he would always feel an emotional attachment to the first one he was with, but wasn't naive enough to think that Lestrade would come back to him once they were done. Their time in bed was to save his life, not start a relationship.

"I'm getting close," Lestrade panted. "Haven't gotten to the edge this quick in years, Sherlock." He leaned down and kissed Sherlock, mouth open and tasting as much as he could. Sherlock's head fell back as he climaxed with a groan. He hadn't expected things to end so quickly and wasn't sure what he needed to do to get Lestrade to climax as well.

"Come on, Greg," he whispered, nipping at an ear that was close to his mouth. "Come for me."

Lestrade felt the words down his spine and did what they told him to. He collapsed forward onto Sherlock, trying to catch his breath. "Bloody hell that was intense," he managed.

"Are you all right?" Sherlock asked.

"Seems like I should be asking you that."

Sherlock smiled. "Let's clean up and nap a little before we finish this," he said. "The second half will be more intense for you, Greg. Thank you for trusting me in this. I know how hard it must be for you."


Chapter 5

Lestrade woke up to soft kisses dotting his face and opened his eyes slowly. "Did you sleep at all?" he asked softly.

"No, I was thinking," Sherlock replied. "I wish there was another way for this, Greg. I was trying to find one, something that would let you not have to do something that so obviously makes you uncomfortable, but I don't see any other option available."

"It's fine, Sherlock," Lestrade said. "If it keeps you alive, that's the important thing. Won't be the first time you dragged me into something crazy." He sighed and closed his eyes again. "My wife though."

"I'm sorry, Greg," Sherlock said.

"You really are, aren't you?"


Lestrade couldn't help the grin. "You'd better be careful, Sherlock. Anyone finds out you have emotions, you'll ruin your persona."

"I've worked hard for that persona," Sherlock replied with a smirk. "I think that you are one of the few who was able to see past it from the beginning, one of the few who bothered to realize there was something beneath it all."

"That why you've put up with me all these years?"

"I've hoped that I could teach you a little more about observation, Greg. You're smart enough to learn if you would only apply yourself harder."

"Insults aren't the best warm-up for sex, Sherlock," Lestrade said. "All right, what do we have to do now?"

Sherlock sighed. "Now we open your body up to allow me inside," he said. "You're going to have to stay relaxed for me, Greg. There is pain and pressure at each stage, but relaxing will dull them and let the pleasure come through. I'll move slowly and help you through each of the stages, but you have to do your part too."

"Okay, I'll try, but I'm really not sure about this, Sherlock. What's it feel like, having another bloke inside your body like that?"

"It's intense," Sherlock said, after thinking about it for a moment. He kissed Lestrade and pulled back to get the lube. "I would say that this is one of the ultimate forms of trust between two people, Greg. I would imagine the same holds true for encounters between men and women as well, but in this case, there is such a high risk of injury if one partner doesn't pay attention to the body cues of his partner, that the trust between the men must be absolute. As I said, I enjoyed the sensation much more than I had thought I would, but there aren't many I would trust to allow that close to me."

Lestrade bit his lip when Sherlock's slick finger started to rub at the opening to his body. No one had ever touched him there before and he wasn't sure what he thought about it. "That feels really weird."

Sherlock tried to look stern. "Are you neglecting your prostate exams, Greg?" he asked.

"Never really thought about it," Lestrade replied. He gasped when the finger slipped into his body. "Bloody hell that hurts."

"Try to relax. Yes, I do know it's hard, Greg, but breathe in and out slowly. Count to four between each inhale and exhale," Sherlock said softly, rubbing Lestrade's stomach. "There you go, that's it. In and count then out and count. That's it, slowly now. Don't panic, we have all the time in the world to be doing this. There now, slowly, slowly." He started to move his finger slowly, matching Lestrade's breathing. "There you are, you're relaxing for me. Can you feel the difference, Greg?"

"Never thought a finger could feel so big," Lestrade managed, trying to focus on his breathing. "Don't think I'll be moving for a few days, Sherlock."

"That's fine, you can stay as long as you need to," Sherlock soothed. He picked up the lube and added some before sliding his finger back into Lestrade. "Just making it slicker, stay relaxed."

"Y'know, Sherlock, you could make meditation tapes," Lestrade said. "Your voice is almost hypnotic."

Sherlock smiled and leaned down to kiss Lestrade softly. "Then focus on my voice and keep your breathing slow and steady," he said. "What do you want me to talk about for you, Greg?"

"Tell me what you've been thinking about while you've been in here by yourself, using that toy," Lestrade said. He gasped, his whole body tensing when a second finger slid into him. "Damn it, Sherlock."

"Breathe, Greg," Sherlock said softly. "Same as before, I know there's pain and I know it feels like it's shooting right up your spine and into your brain, but it will ease back if you relax. There you go, I'm sorry, I should have warned you I was moving to step two. I won't take you by surprise like that again, Greg. I promise. Nice and easy, don't hold your breath. In and count out and count. Easy. Slowly. There you are, easy now." He started to slowly move his fingers. "What I was thinking about when I was in my room alone. I originally tried looking online for porn, but everything was dull and unimaginative and I thought that even with my lack of experience, I could do better than what I was finding. I came in here and locked the door behind me, making sure that John wouldn't be able to find out what I was doing, and slowly went through the exercises that Mycroft had given me. I'm going to add more lube, but just two fingers. Breathe for me, Greg. There now, that's a little easier. I wasn't allowed the toy at first. Mycroft was worried I would hurt myself, so I had restrictions in place. I slowly worked my body open, thinking about a man I was at school with. He was quite a nice looking man, older of course, with the most intense blue eyes I think I've seen outside of my family. His mind though, Greg, he was exceptionally smart and I enjoyed talking with him about science and art."

"Art?" Lestrade managed.

"Yes, Art," Sherlock said. He adjusted his fingers a little and rubbed over Lestrade's prostate for the first time. "That feels good, doesn't it?"

"What the hell?" Lestrade gasped, arching a little.

"Prostate," Sherlock whispered. He wrapped his free hand around Lestrade's cock and started to stroke it slowly. "I'm going to add in another finger, Greg. This is going to stretch you more than you're expecting it to and will hurt the most, until I try to penetrate you. Breathe through it." He pulled back and coated his fingers. "Breathe in, count to four and out," he pushed in on the exhale. "I won't move until you relax, Greg. Breathe."

Lestrade tried to focus on keeping his breathing even, but it was hard. Pain was radiating up his body, making muscles want to tighten up. "Bloody hell," he croaked.

"I know," Sherlock said. "I do know, Greg. I've been exactly where you are not long ago and know exactly what you're feeling. If I could have, I would have found a way to keep this pain from you. There now, I'm going to move. Slowly. Keep breathing, Greg."

"Sherlock, you have thin fingers," Lestrade panted. "How are you gonna fit?"

Sherlock moved so he could look directly into Lestrade's eyes. "I won't lie to you, Greg. That step will hurt worse than anything you've made it through thus far, but I should be able to get you pleasure to dull down the pain," he said. "I did find a trick to ease the pain a little, but it's not fun."


"I found more of my pain post orgasm came from my muscles going back to their original positions, which caused cramping," Sherlock said. He opened a condom one handed and rolled it onto his erection. "I have a thinner toy that I used to help ease the cramping. Take it in stages, Greg, just like we're doing here."

"You're getting ready to go in me, aren't you?"

"I am," Sherlock said. "This will be easiest of your hands and knees, Greg."

Lestrade groaned when the fingers slipped out of his body, things spasming. "Damn it," he said, rolling onto his stomach. "You're right enough about the cramping. Just get it done, Sherlock."

"Breathe for me, Greg," Sherlock said. He shifted into position and watched his partner's breathing for a long moment, finally sliding in when Lestrade exhaled. "Breathe through it, that's all of me. Slowly, Greg, don't gasp. Don't deprive yourself of oxygen, you'll cramp up. Come on, breathe with me."

Lestrade was trying his best not to cry. He hadn't been expecting the surge of pain when Sherlock entered him, and he could feel panic trying to well up in his chest. He focused on Sherlock's voice and the counting, trying to get his breathing back under control. He had no idea why or how anyone would like anal sex, but he'd come that far and he wasn't going to back out. He couldn't. "God."

"I know, I'm sorry," Sherlock said. "I'm so sorry, Greg. The shock of a single entry is actually less than penetration in stages. The constant relaxation adds to the panic and makes it harder to relax each time. I'm not moving until you're ready. I owe you so much for this, Greg. You just saved my life, and the lives of countless others. You're so selfless, Greg. Such a good man. Never believe me when I tell you otherwise. That's an act for the people around us. You, Greg Lestrade, are the best man I've ever had the pleasure of knowing."

"Never thought about me in here though."

Sherlock chuckled and shifted a little. "I'm going to start moving slowly, Greg. Let me know if you need me to stop again," he said. "Oh, I did think of you when I was in here. Once Mycroft gave me the toys, I realized that I didn't want to think of anyone other than you when I was so full. When my body was begging for something to fill it, I thought of you, Greg. I thought of being with you here, in my bed, just like we were earlier today and it all felt good. Not nearly as good as having you in me, I will treasure that feeling forever."

Lestrade groaned and tried not to laugh. "Can't believe I'm doing this," he said.

"Moving faster, Greg," Sherlock said. He reached under them and grabbed Lestrade's cock, stroking it gently. "You are showing what a huge heart you have, sacrificing so much to help others."

"What the?"

"Prostate," Sherlock said. He tightened his hold on Lestrade's hip and tried to hit the mark as often as he could. "I want to make you climax again, Greg. Milk it out of your body until you're limp under me. I want that memory too, in case I've miscalculated and I don't survive my next kidnapping."

"Don't think I'll come like this," Lestrade said. "Too much pain still."

Sherlock grinned. "Then I'll suck it out of you," he said. He groaned as his own climax washed through him and he worked not to fall forward onto his partner. "The smaller toy is under the pillow, Greg. Can you hand it back?"


"Okay, breathe again," Sherlock said. He pulled back and got the smaller toy into Lestrade in-between breaths. "Lie down for me. Let me suck you."

Lestrade rolled onto his side and winced when his muscles started to complain. "God, haven't hurt this bad in years," he said. "Not since I gave up running."

"We'll get you into a hot bath in a minute," Sherlock said. He leaned forward and took Lestrade back in his mouth, working to bring the older man as much pleasure as he could. Lestrade moaned and went with it, enjoying the heat and other sensations until he climaxed with a loud moan.

"You're too good at that," Lestrade said, panting for air.

Sherlock grinned up at him. "I'll be happy to do it for you any time you're feeling too tense from work," he said.


"I was teasing," Sherlock said. "Rest while I get the bath ready, Greg. We can eat later when we've both rested."


Chapter 6


"Softy, Mycroft, Greg's asleep," Sherlock said.

Mycroft nodded and sat down next to his brother on the sofa. "I won't ask for details, but it's done?"

"It is," Sherlock said. "Take care of him for me. I didn't tell him I was likely to be grabbed tonight when I went out to fetch us supper."

"I have people in place to follow, but they won't engage unless your life is in obvious and immediate danger," Mycroft said. "I ask you again, Sherlock, are you sure you want to do this? There are other ways we could neutralize Moriarty with less risk to you."

"But not to others," Sherlock said. "No, Mycroft, we've been through this many times and this is the most obvious solution. I've washed, there's no scent on me that Moriarty will be able to detect, but the demon he's attempting his deal with should. I was just waiting for you to get here before I left. Greg's in pain and I didn't want to leave him alone."

"I'll take care of him for you," Mycroft said. "I'll see you when this is all over with, Sherlock. Don't fight more than you normally would. I don't want you hurt."

Sherlock leveled a look at his brother. "We both know the risks involved here, Mycroft," he said. He took his coat down from the door and slipped it on before grabbing his scarf. "I will see you when I see you. If this goes wrong, do not blame yourself and don't let Greg blame himself either. The miscalculation is mine and mine alone. Oh, and take care of John too."

Mycroft nodded and watched his brother leave. He waited until the door was shut before he sighed and leaned back against the sofa cushions. Deep down he knew that Sherlock was right, that this was the most simple way to defeat Moriarty for good, but Mycroft was the elder brother. His instincts were trying to get him to protect his brother, as he had done all their lives together. Shaking his head, he pushed up and went back to Sherlock's bedroom. "Awake, Lestrade?"

"Where's Sherlock?" Lestrade asked.

"He went out to fetch some supper," Mycroft replied. "I'm sure he'll be back in a bit. Now then, how do you feel? A man's first time is not always a pleasant thing and the pain can be quite bad."

"Nothing I can't handle, I'm just not moving on my own for a couple of days," Lestrade said. "The bath and the heating pads are both helping though. Don't know I'll be able to eat anything though."

"I understand, having been there myself once," Mycroft said. He brought the chair over from its corner and sat down, careful not to jar the bed at all. "Thank you for helping my brother like this, Lestrade. Losing him would kill me, I think."

"Given how the two of you fight all the time, I think that would be a bit of a surprise to him," Lestrade said. "Mycroft, tell me the truth. How dangerous is this whole ritual thing that Moriarty is planning out? Not for him, I get that going back on the deal could be enough to get him killed. How much danger is Sherlock in from all of this?"

"More than he will admit to," Mycroft said. "There is every chance he will scar from the knife cuts Moriarty will make on his body to aid in summoning the demon. There is a risk of fire and Sherlock could be very badly burned. He could even still die from this, the demon might go on a sort of rampage and kill every human in the area, not merely turn on Moriarty. No matter how we plan, there is the human element to take into consideration, and neither of us are all-seeing."

Lestrade nodded and winced. "He's not going to be on his own though, is he?"

"No, I will have men close at hand ready to help should the need arise," Mycroft said. "The most important thing you can do now, Lestrade, is rest. Let your body recover from the new activities you've introduced it to. I'll be here until Sherlock comes home with supper. Call if you need me for anything."

"You're not fooling me, you know," Lestrade said.

"I'm sorry?"

"Sherlock's already gone. You don't know if he'll ever come home again, but you're here to protect me and John from Moriarty's people," Lestrade said. "Sherlock thought I was asleep when he came in and kissed me on the forehead, but I wasn't. I was just resting. He doesn't expect to come back from this, does he?"

Mycroft sat down again. "He's taken care of his affairs should this plan fail," he said. "Neither of us expect it to, but the human element, Lestrade. It's impossible to predict every outcome. He asked me to come take care of you, to make sure you rest and don't try to do something stupidly heroic."

"Right now, Mycroft, I can't even sit up, let alone walk on my own," Lestrade said. "Just keep me updated, please? Sherlock's my friend."

"One of his rare friends. Before today, Lestrade, I would have questioned that statement, but only a true friend would go to the lengths you have to help a friend," Mycroft said. "My people are tailing Sherlock and, should he be taken tonight, will follow. After that, it's all down to him, I'm afraid. There's little you or I could do."

Lestrade sighed and shifted a little, trying to find a comfortable position. Sherlock had taken the thinner toy out after the bath and the cramping wasn't nearly as bad as Lestrade had been expecting, but it was enough to keep him in bed for at least two days, if not more. "Let me know when you hear something?"

"I will," Mycroft said. "Rest, Lestrade. The more you relax and let the heat help, the sooner you will be able to move under your own power. Call if you need me for anything. I'll just be in the sitting room."


Chapter 7

John didn't know what to think when he came home in the morning and found Mycroft in the sitting room and Lestrade in Sherlock's bed. Mycroft just smiled at him and said everything was well in hand, and Lestrade turned bright red any time John looked in on him. John finally sat down in his chair and looked at the elder Holmes brother. "All right, Mycroft, what's going on this time?" he asked.

"I'm not sure what you mean, John," Mycroft replied with a bland smile.

"Look, in spite of what Sherlock thinks, I'm not stupid," John said. "He's been distracted a lot lately, locking himself in his room at odd times, and out more than I've ever seen. Then Lestrade shows up in a fury, I leave for a day to give him time to talk with Sherlock about whatever the hell it was that was in the folders he was carrying, and when I come home you're here, Lestrade's in bed and there's no sign of Sherlock. All of that points to a case."

"Sherlock is working on a matter for me," Mycroft said. He looked at his watch. "If you would excuse me, John. I need to check on Greg and see how he's doing."

"What happened to him?" John asked, following along. "I am a doctor, you know. I could probably help."

"Thank you but all he needs is time and a mild pain killer," Mycroft said. "Greg, ready to get up for a bath?"

Lestrade caught sight of John at the door and flushed again. "Yeah, I think so," he said.

"Good, then let's see about getting you moved," Mycroft said. "John, would you be good enough to start a hot bath for me? Not scalding, but hot."

"Yeah, sure," John said. "Greg, mate, do you need a doctor's attention?"

"No, I'm fine, just sore," Lestrade said. He pushed up into a sitting position and winced, holding his stomach. "Mycroft says I'll be okay in a day or two."

"Indeed you will, and we're going to start you walking a little after supper tonight, Greg," Mycroft said. He looked back towards the door. "The bath, John?"

"Okay, fine, don't tell me anything," John said. "I'll just wait for Sherlock to get back and ask him." He turned and went to the bathroom muttering under his breath.

Lestrade leaned on Mycroft. "Anything?" he whispered.

"Not a word," Mycroft whispered in reply. "I do think we'll have to tell John something. I just worry he'll try and go after Sherlock and get hurt."

"I know," Lestrade said. He bit back a yelp when he took the first step. "Can't wait to feel better, you know."

"I do know, and assure you that you'll be back to normal soon," Mycroft said. "John, thank you for your help."

"No problem, want me to make tea or something as long as I'm at it?" John asked.

"Nothing for me right now, thank you though," Mycroft replied. "John, I do realize we're invading your home, but I do promise there is a good reason for our actions and it will be clear soon enough."

John sighed. "I've learned not to question you and Sherlock," he said. "Greg, tea?"

"Sure, thanks," Greg said. He leaned on the wall while Mycroft helped him out of the sleep trousers he had on. "I hate this part."

"I know, but the pain won't last much longer," Mycroft said. "Steady now."

John caught sight on a bruise on Greg's hips and the pieces slotted together in his mind. He didn't let on that he had seen, just went to the kitchen to start the tea. So Lestrade had slept with one of the Holmes brothers and, from the pain level he was showing, it was his first time and he hadn't been completely relaxed or ready for penetration. John bit his lip, wondering how to bring up the issue of a checkup for tearing. That was going to be one very awkward conversation.


Chapter 8

John waited until Mycroft was on the phone out in the sitting room and went into Sherlock's room. There was a chair near the bed and he sat down in it, clearing his throat. "Greg, can I talk with you for a minute?" he asked. "As both friend and doctor?"

"Yeah, sure," Lestrade said, face turning red again.

"Okay, look, this is going to sound really bad, but which one was it?" John asked. "Sherlock or Mycroft?"

"I'm not sure what you mean," Lestrade said.

"Greg, listen, I'm not only a doctor, I'm a military doctor and I've seen some of the craziest injuries you could imagine," John said. He could feel his face heating up and knew he was blushing. It wasn't easy to treat a friend, no matter how much John had seen since medical school. "Any sort of penetrative sex the first time can lead to tearing of the tissues, and if not treated, those tears can lead to worse problems. I just want to make sure that you're okay and not in pain. Based on what I saw when you went for your last bath, and what I've seen since I got home, it's possible you're injured more than you think you are."

Both men jumped when Mycroft cleared his throat from the door. "It's delightful how red you both are at the moment," he said. "Although, John, I worry about your blood pressure with how red you've gone. We might be able to cook supper on your face if we move quickly enough. I thought doctors were supposed to be professional and unflappable."

"Yeah, well, it's not easy when it's a friend who is obviously embarrassed by what's happened," John said.

"I shouldn't tease you for your concern for a friend either," Mycroft said. He walked in and sat down carefully on the bed. "I checked Greg when I arrived and he's fine. His pain levels have never been outside the norm given the situation and I know how to care for him, I assure you."

"This getting back to the whole thing with whips there, Mycroft?" Lestrade asked.

"Yes, well, you learn a few things when you live as I do," Mycroft replied with a smile.

John noticed that Mycroft didn't so much a tint red when Lestrade mentioned whips and filed the question away to ask Sherlock later on. "So you know about aftercare, Mycroft?" he asked.

"I do, John, and I assure you that Lestrade is right on track for events the past day," Mycroft said. "I expect him to be up under his own power by this evening, tomorrow morning at the latest. Now, if you will excuse me, I have a phone call I must make."

Lestrade buried his head under a pillow. "Can't believe I said that to him," he said, voice muffled by the bedding.

"Yeah, that was pretty brave of you," John said. "So, you and Sherlock then?"

"It was a one time favor," Lestrade said. "Sherlock needed my help and I wasn't going to tell him no, not if there was something I could do."

"This is a pretty huge favor," John said. "I don't know that I would've done it." He pointed at Lestrade's hand. "What about your wife?"

"It's complicated," Lestrade sighed. "Don't think I want to talk about it."

"Okay, then we won't. I'll be around if you want to though," John said. "Is there anything I can do for you?"

"Is there anything that I could read?" Lestrade asked. "I'm supposed to be on my stomach for another hour, but I get pretty bored just lying here, you know."

John nodded. "I can imagine. I'll dig around and see what I can find that's not something of Sherlock's," he said. "The man has an extensive library, but they're pretty unusual books."

"Don't go to any trouble over it," Lestrade said. "Bad enough Mycroft and I are here taking up space in your flat without your permission."

"You're obviously here for a reason and I'm sure I'll find out what it is soon enough," John said. "Mycroft isn't much of a conversationalist, but at least he's quiet. I'll find you something to read, Greg. If nothing else, if you feel up to it, you can come stretch out on the sofa and watch telly for a bit tonight."

"I'll have to see how I'm feeling," Lestrade said. "Thanks, John. Mycroft was right, you know, you did go pretty red there."

"There's a reason I don't usually treat friends," John said with a grin.

Lestrade nodded and settled back down into the bed. He was still thinking about his wife, Moriarty, the black magic spell and Sherlock. There hadn't been word from any of Mycroft's people, not since they reported Sherlock was taken and they were following along. Lestrade didn't know when they would find out how much damage there was from the fallout, he just hoped he would be able to be there for Sherlock when it was all over.


Chapter 9

The next day passed in much the same fashion with Lestrade finally being able to get up and move on his own, even if it was with a limp that Mycroft assured him would go away the more he moved. The pair was careful to not talk about Sherlock when John would be able to hear him, for John's safety. Both Mycroft and Lestrade were afraid that John would try and go help Sherlock and place the detective in more danger than he was already facing.

"What do you think?" Lestrade asked that night once John was in bed and Lestrade was back in Sherlock's room.

"We should hear something tomorrow or the next day," Mycroft replied with a sigh. "My agents will report anything unusual and, in this case, no news is very likely the best news we can have, Greg. I'm as concerned as you are, so many variables to be balanced. It's possible that one was overlooked."

"Not bloody likely with the pair of you working on it," Lestrade said. "What about everything else surrounding the case? What's been happening there?"

"The players are being watched, but no arrests have been made," Mycroft said. "When we do, Greg, it might be better for you to remain here or in one of my office's safe houses until the furor dies down. Having your wife linked to this case may well make the media attempt to go after you. I've spoken with your direct superior and the higher-ups at the Yard and explained everything. Your job is in no danger from this."

Lestrade nodded. "Thanks for that, I appreciate it," he said. "A holiday would be nice, you know. Somewhere with a warm beach I can lie out on and think things through. Like trying to figure out how I was so bloody blind to what my wife's been doing. I should've noticed something."

"She acted with the aid of a man who is probably the most intelligent criminal mastermind I think I've ever had the displeasure of meeting," Mycroft said. "Do not feel that you are a fool, Greg. As to the holiday, I think that I can arrange something for you, maybe in the south of France? You've helped my family far more than you know."

"I'll take you up on that," Lestrade said. "I did it to help a friend out, Mycroft. Sherlock's a good man and if he needed my help, then I'll help him. Yeah, I know what I said back at the beginning, but I was in shock. It isn't every day I get told I have to sleep with a man to help defeat black magic."

"I can only imagine what that sounded like to you," Mycroft said. "Excuse me a moment. This is Mycroft. I see. Very good. Yes, Bart's. Send in the MI clean-up crew and I'll stop by later once I've been to the hospital." He put his phone back in the inner pocket of his jacket. "That was my team, Greg. It's done."

Lestrade pushed back the covers, wincing when he stood, and went for his clothes. "How is he?"

"Better than he has any right to be," Mycroft said. "Meet me at the car, I'm going to wake John."

"Do you think that's wise?"

"No, but he has a right to know that Sherlock's been injured," Mycroft said. "As fast as you can, Greg."

"Two minutes."

Mycroft asked Lestrade and John to wait in the hall while he was in the private room with the doctor and Sherlock. John leaned against the wall with a sigh. "You guys could tell me what's been going on, you know," he said. "Bad enough Sherlock keeps me in the dark all the time, do you guys have to start it too?"

"It was for your own safety, John," Lestrade said. "No, seriously, Moriarty was involved and we didn't want you to go and try to find Sherlock while he was working. We did everything we could to prep for the case. It was all down to Sherlock."

"So you're telling me that you sleeping with him was prep for the case?" John asked.

"Yep. Mycroft, how is he?"

"Asking for you. Go on in, I'll explain things to John."

Lestrade took a deep breath and ducked into the room, not sure what he would see. Sherlock was in the bed, bandaged up like a mummy, only his eyes and mouth exposed. "Well, bloody hell," Lestrade said. "I guess the demon didn't like what he had on offer for dinner."

"Very droll, Lestrade," Sherlock said. "These are to prevent bleeding, I'm not burned. I was able to roll out of the way of the fire ball. Moriarty, however, wasn't nearly as lucky. We won't have to worry about him anymore."

"Are you okay?" Lestrade asked. "Do you hurt?"

"No worse than I have in the past," Sherlock replied. "I think you've seen me worse off than this, Greg. I just wanted to see you and say thank you again. Mycroft assured me you were suffering no lingering pain from our activities, but I was worried about you."

"I'm fine," Lestrade said. "Yeah, I still twinge if I move too quick, but I've had worse after chasing down suspects. You're the one that needs care and attention now, Sherlock. John's out in the hall, do you want to see him?"

"In a moment. Greg, I know that you have no interest in me at all, but I was wondering if I could give you a hug?" Sherlock said, sounding uncertain.

"Come here, you," Lestrade said. He pulled Sherlock into a very careful hug. "Mycroft is sending me to the south of France until this all blows over. You want to come? It could help you heal up."


"I'm promising nothing, but I had time to do a lot of thinking, Sherlock," Lestrade said. "I think we need to spend more time talking."

Sherlock moved back enough that he could study Lestrade's face. "Are you certain?" he asked.

"Yeah, this time, I am," Lestrade said.


Chapter 10

"Sherlock, you have sustained cuts to over ninety percent of your body, most of them requiring stitches," John exclaimed when he found out about the plans. "You need to stay here at the hospital or come back to the flat where I can keep an eye on you, not go running off to France for any reason."

"I'm fine," Sherlock said. "Mycroft has made all the arrangements and there will be a doctor at the family house waiting for me. Lestrade and I shall travel by train in a private government car so no one will see me and I won't be at risk for infection. You worry too much, John."

"Seems like I have good reason to be worrying about you. You've done some stupid things since we met, Sherlock, but this one takes the cake," John said. "Allowing yourself to be kidnapped and put up for a ritual sacrifice knowing full well that you could die. What were you thinking?"

Sherlock sighed and leaned back against the pillows on his bed. "I was thinking that my life was a cheap exchange for the lives of those Moriarty would kill once he had the backing of a demon, John. I can understand that you are upset," he said. "I just don't understand why. I had back-up from Mycroft's office and I was perfectly safe at all times. I survived, Moriarty didn't. It's done and that's what we were aiming for."

"I'm upset because you went into this like a total prat and didn't bother to tell me what the hell you were doing," John said.

"I told you nothing because there was nothing to tell," Sherlock interrupted. "You were unsuited for helping me with this investigation and I wanted to keep you out of danger. You always accuse me of caring only for myself, John. I should think you would be happy to have me show a care for someone else."

"John, do not upset my brother, he needs quiet in order to heal," Mycroft said, shutting the door behind him. "Sherlock, the doctors have agreed that you can travel so long as there is a trained medical professional with you and you do not overdo for a week. They worry about you pulling your stitches."

"Thank you, Mycroft," Sherlock said. "You've made the arrangements for us?"

"Wait, us?" John asked.

"I have and Greg is fetching a wheelchair for you now," Mycroft said. "Do take care of him, Sherlock. I worry that his wife's involvement in this matter will have farther reaching consequences than either of us are anticipating."

"I will," Sherlock said softly. "Who will be attending us at the house?"

"Dr. Lawrence," Mycroft said with a fond smile. "He is getting on in years, but he was willing to come and tend you. I do remember that he is the only doctor you have ever listened to in your life. Ah, Greg, very well timed. Sherlock, this is Vincent, he'll be traveling with you to the family house. Do not terrorize him."

Sherlock huffed and moved to get out of bed. Lestrade reached him before John could and held out a hand. "Where's it safe to touch?" he asked softly.

"Palms of the hands," Sherlock replied. "Everywhere else is tender."

"You come to me then," Lestrade said.

"Vincent will take care of you and there are bags for you both on the train," Mycroft said. "Enjoy your holiday and I'll be in touch."

John waited until he was alone with Mycroft before he said anything. "You're just letting them go then?"

"What else should I do?" Mycroft asked. "The family house is the best place for them both to rest and recover from the toll this case took on them. It will also give them a chance to talk openly and honestly about how they both feel. The cases coming up will be bad, John, and I would rather have both Sherlock and Lestrade well away from it all."

"What exactly did you mean by Lestrade's wife's involvement?"

"She was taken and used by Moriarty as a weapon against Lestrade. I have taken care of the problem, but when the case comes to light, it is possible there are those who will look on Lestrade with an unfavorable light," Mycroft said. "John, I understand that you feel as if you have been pushed to the side, but Sherlock was acting to keep you safe. Should you have become involved with this case, you would have died. Even Lestrade was kept to the fringes. Sherlock took a risk when he went in as he did, but it paid off in the end. His wounds will heal, he will have a chance to talk with Lestrade, and it is possible they will return closer than they have ever been. Have patience, John. You'll see what I mean in the end."

"There's still something you're not telling me, Mycroft."

Mycroft smiled. "Of course there is, John. There is much I haven't told you because you do not need to know. I'm certain that Sherlock will call you from the family house at some point. He will return, John. He loves London too much to stay away."


Chapter 11

"I did not anticipate John being so upset with me," Sherlock said once they were on their way. The train car was one Mycroft usually used to entertain foreign dignitaries and was completely enclosed, isolating them from the rest of the train. There was a small staff there to handle food and drink, and Vincent was close in case Sherlock needed him for anything. "He has been so disappointed in me in the past when I failed to show care for people. Why is he so upset now that I showed I care about others?"

"I think it's because he's used to being right next to you for your cases, especially the danger, and thinks you didn't trust him enough to bring him along this time," Lestrade said. "Mycroft and I both tried to explain it to him, but I don't think he understood exactly what we were saying. You know that we're proud of you, right?"

"Why is you being proud of me important?" Sherlock asked.

Lestrade smiled fondly. "Because you did the right thing to help others, Sherlock," he said. "You were showing that you do have a more human side, and that's important. You risked your life to save others without thinking of yourself. That's pretty important, you know."

"Will you stop being proud if I tell you I was scared I was going to die from the moment the first cut was made?" Sherlock asked.

"Nope, because that just means you were aware of what was happening around you and had some sense," Lestrade replied. "Right now nothing you say is going to make me not proud of you for what you've done. I hate that you're hurt as badly as you are, but I also know it could have been worse and we're lucky to get you back as whole as we did."

"The demon was not pleased," Sherlock said softly. "I think it realized immediately that I wasn't the virgin it was promised and it started killing immediately. Moriarty had me chained down on an alter of sorts, but the chains had enough give that I was able to roll to the floor. That's the only reason I avoided the fire that killed Moriarty. If those chains hadn't had side give to them, Greg, I would have been burned."

"The doctors wondered how you got those bruises on your side. It's where you hit the floor, isn't it?"

Sherlock nodded. "I landed in such a way that I wouldn't break anything and started to try and get free because I didn't know if the demon would finish with Moriarty and come after me or not," he said. "I believe I got lucky that Moriarty had done a deal with one of the demons that considered humans beneath it unless they wanted to make a deal. When Moriarty was dead, the demon vanished. I think, though there is no way to be sure, that the demon returned to hell to meet Moriarty and continue its torments there."

"Sherlock, I don't remember seeing anything about the fallout if the ritual didn't work," Lestrade said. "What would happen to Moriarty beyond dying?"

"We don't know," Sherlock said. "Part of the ritual dealt with his soul and that's why I believe that, when the demon realized it was tricked, it killed Moriarty and took him to hell to torment him for eternity. The details of that part of the ritual were sketchy and Mycroft and I were unable to find many references to it. I suppose it's possible that Moriarty did all of this not knowing what his fate would be should he screw it up in any way."

"I hate to say he deserves it, but I'm glad we don't have to worry about him anymore," Lestrade said. "The man was insane, wasn't he, Sherlock?"

"A cold sort of insanity, I think," Sherlock said. "I don't know this for a fact, but he wasn't well. His mood swings were dangerous to the extreme as well."

Lestrade nodded. "I think I feel pretty lucky to have never met the man," he said. "So, we've got unlimited time in the south of France. I've been meaning to ask, what's all this about a family house?"

"It's mother's family estate," Sherlock said. "It passed to Mycroft when he turned twenty five and he's arranged for us to stay there for as long as we need to. You'll like the house and estate it sits on, Greg. We're a bit of a drive from the beach, but there will be a car available to you should you want to go and swim. I, unfortunately, won't be able to for several weeks."

"I think I'm just looking forward to the quiet," Lestrade admitted. "A chance to just get away from everything and think. I did a lot of thinking when I was in bed after you were kidnapped, Sherlock."

"Yes, I'm curious about the possible change of heart, Greg," Sherlock said. "I had thought that you were doing that only as a favor to me and you wouldn't want anything of the sort again."

"I don't think I'd want anything like the second part again," Lestrade said. "The first part though, that's what I really want to talk about with you. Just, not on a train full of strangers."

Sherlock smiled. "Then I will contain my curiosity until we're at the house and alone," he said.


Chapter 12

Lestrade bit back any muttering he wanted to do about the house being a bloody mansion and followed the butler up the stairs to the room he'd be staying it. It wasn't far from the one Sherlock was using, which was good, because he wanted to be able to get to the other man if Sherlock needed him. He left his bag near the closet and went down the hall, tapping on the door to Sherlock's room.

"Come in, Greg."

"I won't even ask," Lestrade said with a smile. He shut the door behind him. "This is nice, Sherlock, how long has it been in the family?"

"Mother's ancestors built it back in the 1800s and have lived here off and on since that time," Sherlock replied. "Mother was raised here, though it became a summer home by the time Mycroft and I were old enough to remember being here. There are some nice beaches that I think you will enjoy."

"I was wondering if we could talk a little, Sherlock," Lestrade said.

"Of course, please, sit," Sherlock said. "They're going to be in to change my bandages in an hour or so, and Dr. Lawrence wants to check my stitches when they do."

"I hate that you're hurting so badly, Sherlock, and wish there was something I could do to help you," Lestrade said. "I've got to ask, are the cuts all over your body, or just the more obvious places?"

Sherlock pinned him with a look. "Trust me, Greg, you do not wish to know all the places they had to stitch," he said. "Some of them are quite painful."

"Yeah, thought they might be," Lestrade winced. "Sherlock, I was awake when you came in and kissed me before you left the night you were kidnapped. That's what got me thinking because that's not a normal thing for men to do, no matter what they've been doing with each other, and it made me wonder if you hadn't been kidding when you offered to suck me off whenever I wanted. That led to me thinking about you in other ways, out of the bedroom, and I started to realize that you are fond of me, no matter how much you want me to believe otherwise."

"I wasn't lying to you when I said I had imagined you in bed with me when I was using the toy, Greg," Sherlock said. "I had seen you naked twice when we were showing at the Yard after particularly messy arrests and knew roughly how large you were. Mycroft took my estimations and had the toy made for me."

"Oh, bloody hell, Sherlock, that's not something you just go and do," Lestrade protested, flushing red.

"I do notice that your body seems to like the idea, Greg," Sherlock said with a nod at Lestrade's lap. "That's a change from last time."

"I told you that I did a lot of thinking," Lestrade said. "I don't think that I'd ever be able to sleep with another man, but I might be able to sleep with you, Sherlock. Even when I was recovering, thinking about you under me like you were would make me feel hotter. I didn't know if that meant I was attracted to you or not, but that combined with this makes me think that maybe I am."

Sherlock smiled softly. "It will be ten days before we can test your hypothesis I'm afraid, Greg," he said. "I do not want my stitches to pull."

"No, god no," Lestrade said. "There's still a hell of a lot more I want to talk about, Sherlock. Just, I wanted you to know what I was thinking about and how I was feeling. You're not a rebound for my wife. I do still love her, even with everything she's done."

"Is that why you still have your ring on?"

"Yeah. I know I need to take it off, but I just don't feel right without it."

Sherlock held a hand out and Lestrade reached over and took it. "Then wear it, Greg," he said. "I will not judge you and anyone who wishes to is the fool for doing so. Maybe, someday, if I'm lucky enough, I'll be able to replace it with one that means love again."


Chapter 13

Lestrade woke up early the next morning and, after pulling on a pair of shorts and a t-shirt, made his way out into the gardens behind the house. He wanted time to sort out the dream he'd had the night before before he saw Sherlock for breakfast. It wasn't the first time he'd had an erotic dream, but Lestrade was willing to admit that it had been years since he'd had one so vivid and arousing. That Sherlock was the star of the dream confused him a little, but Lestrade figured it all tied back to him wanting to sleep with the younger man again. Lestrade hadn't been lying to Sherlock when he said he'd done a lot of thinking and he wanted to try for a relationship with the younger man, but he thought Sherlock managed to pick up on how nervous he was about the whole thing. It wasn't easy for a man Lestrade's age to suddenly be thinking about a man sexually for the first time in his life.

He stopped to admire the roses and couldn't help but smile. They were obviously the most cared for plants in the garden and Lestrade wondered how long they'd been there. He supposed it was possible some of them were ancestors of the original roses planted back when the estate was established. He'd have to come back with Sherlock when the younger man was feeling better and see if he could get Sherlock to talk about them a little. Lestrade moved on, heading towards the sound of water in the distance. He'd been assured the estate was fenced so he wouldn't accidentally wander onto a neighbor's grounds. As he walked, his mind drifted back to the dream again, and Lestrade had to admit he wasn't even sure if the position he'd dreamed Sherlock in was possible, but it was hot and he felt his body stirring a little as he walked just thinking about it. Oh, who was he trying to kid, that one night with Sherlock had shattered every single belief he held about himself and it was time to learn what he believed now. Lestrade sighed and started back up towards the house. He wasn't sure, but he thought that it was time for breakfast.

"Good morning, Greg," Sherlock said when he caught sight of the older man, "did you have a good walk in the garden?"

"Yeah, those roses are something," Lestrade said. He sat down at the table with Sherlock and sighed. "How old are they?"

"Grandmother planted many of them herself, much to Grandfather's dismay," Sherlock said with a grin. "We have staff that cares for them now. You had a restless night, Greg, are you okay?"

"Don't know why I thought I'd be able to hide it from you. I had a dream about you last night, Sherlock," Lestrade admitted. "I hope the staff won't talk about the mess I made in the bed last night."

Sherlock grinned and looked down towards Lestrade's lap. "They might, but not outside their own group," he said. "Greg, I do understand that I asked you to do something completely outside your comfort zone when I asked you for help with this. I had thought that our time together before my kidnapping would be all we had and that I would have to find someone else to sleep with once I was healed. Of course, I did realize that I could die and that made it a moot point, but I had hope I would survive through it all. I never thought it possible that you would wish to continue our relationship, and will admit to being puzzled by events as they stand."

"That makes two of us, Sherlock," Lestrade said. "You saw what it took to get me, wait, are we totally alone out here? There isn't anyone hiding in the bushes in case you need something?"

"Don't be silly, Greg. Vincent is inside and the door is shut," Sherlock said. "The staff is in the kitchen and we will hear the door open when they bring our meal out. We are alone here."

"It's just not something I've ever been comfortable talking about in public, even with the boys at the Yard," Lestrade said. "I've always respected my partners too much to do that to them. Okay, well, you saw how much you had to do to get me hard that first time. Why is my body suddenly doing it all on its own?"

"There are those who say that attraction and sexual desire is on a sliding scale, Greg," Sherlock said. He paused when the door open and breakfast was brought out. "I'm looking forward to being able to chew again without pulling stitches. Dr. Lawrence says the ones in my face will take the second longest to heal because they will be pulled any time I talk or even blink. I am not a vain man, Greg, but I do hope scars won't put you off. Yes, thank you, that's all for now."

Lestrade waited until they were alone again. "Can't imagine growing up with all this around me," he said. "So, sliding scale?"

"Those who feel attraction for either the opposite sex or the same sex are at the extreme ends and there are gradients towards the middle where people desire both sexes," Sherlock said. "I don't know how much I believe it, personally, but it would explain what's happening with you. Before you limited yourself to women because they are the ones that caused your body to react sexually. Now that you've had a sexual experience with a man that you find attractive, your body is realizing that there is another option."

"But if that's the case, shouldn't I be attracted to men in general?" Lestrade asked. "Because I sure as hell don't want to go sleep with John or Vincent. It's just you, Sherlock."

"I will admit I feel rather smug about that, Greg. To have one as attractive as you desire me, it is pleasant," Sherlock said. "I don't know the answer to this one. I suggest you spend some time online reading if you want answers. I'm counting down the days until most of my stitches come out and we can explore things a little more together."

"Sherlock, I'll be honest about that," Lestrade said. "I can't wait. I almost had to jerk off down in the garden this morning just thinking about you and that dream I had last night. I'm not sure what's happening, but I'm ready to have you healthy again."

"I should like to watch that," Sherlock said. The bandages his it, but he flushed a little with the admission. "Do you think that's something we could do together, Greg? It would help us learn how the other likes to be touched."

"What the hell," Greg said. "You put up with me being red the whole time, yeah, we can do it. I have a feeling there's a lot we're both going to have to learn here, Sherlock. How are we going to do that?"

"Mycroft sent books along," Sherlock said. "He seems to realize what direction our relationship is moving, and approves. They want me to stay inside most of the day, something about hotter sun not being good for my recovery. Would you like to join me in my room to read, Greg?"

Lestrade flushed red. "Yeah."


Chapter 14

"Sherlock, have you ever dated anyone at all?" Lestrade asked later in the day. The butler had brought them lunch in Sherlock's room and Dr. Lawrence had been in twice to check on the younger man. Apparently he was healing up well, even if it was hard to see it. "For any reason?"

Sherlock put down the book he was reading and focused on Lestrade. "Once, yes, for a case," he said. "It was a private client, no connection to the Yard at all, and I had to get into the house to steal back some jewelry."

"Oh for, you know you could have been arrested for that," Lestrade said.

"I do, but in this case I felt safe in my approach because the suspect had stolen two custom-made rings and a necklace that went with them," Sherlock said. "My client had all the drawings, documentations and proof they truly belonged to his wife. It wasn't easy, but I managed to seduce one of the maids in the house and learned the layout from her."

"If you seduced her, how the hell were you still a virgin?"

"I didn't let it get that far, which she found adorable," Sherlock said. "She was looking forward to teaching me all the tricks of the bedroom and that was how I gained entry to the house. I drugged her, stole back the jewelry and was away before anyone else in residence was aware of what had happened. I'm sure that John would tell me I should feel guilty for using the woman as I did, but she was married."

"Bloody hell, how do you get mixed up in these things?" Lestrade asked, trying not to laugh.

Sherlock smiled. "I take only the cases which interest me, Greg, you know that," he replied. "Dating me will not be easy, I'm afraid. You know my moods."

"Almost as well as you do, I've known you long enough," Lestrade said. "As long as you promise to try, Sherlock, that's all I'll ask of you. I don't know that I'm ready to jump right back into living with someone again. Might be nice to have my own space to go home to. It's been years since I've had anything like that, who knows, it might drive me mad."

"Just as long as you don't try and live at the Yard," Sherlock said. "I'd rather have you at Baker Street with me than have to pull you out of your office nightly."

Lestrade started laughing. "No, not you, Sherlock," he said, holding up a hand. "I just realized that Sally and Anderson are going to realize that we're dating. Can you picture the look on their faces?"

Sherlock's lips twitched. "So long as they don't turn on you, Greg," he said. "I will try to be a good boyfriend to you and, should it not work out, I hope a good friend. I do realize that we're risking our working relationship here. Do you think there will be problems should we break up?"

"We're not even officially together, remember," Lestrade said. "I think we're both professional enough to look past the personal when we're working. It's a risk, yeah, but it's one I think we can take without too much worry. John's not going to give you grief about this, is he?"

"He says it's all fine, though I really have yet to try the truth behind that statement," Sherlock said. "I do think he'll be okay with it in the long run, however. Anything to stop me experimenting in the kitchen."

"Which this won't."

"He doesn't know that."

"You can be such a prat at time, you know that?"

Sherlock smiled. "Of course," he said. "Greg, I still cannot think of anyone I would trust for a relationship, other than you. I do hope you can put up with my moods and it won't ruin things between us."

"There will probably be some arguing, but as long as we're both willing to talk, I think we'll be okay in the end," Lestrade said. "Have you heard anything from Mycroft about the trials?"

"No, and I don't expect to until they're over. I know you're concerned about your wife, Greg," Sherlock said. "I will tell you as soon as I hear anything."

Lestrade nodded with a sigh. "Thank you."


Chapter 15

When Lestrade went to bed that night, he found a package waiting for him on the bed with a note on top in Mycroft's handwriting. With a sigh, he picked up the note and read it first. *Sherlock has informed me you're curious why your body does not react to others as it does to him. See if these help to answer your questions. No one else in the house knows what these are. Keep them hidden if you must. MH*

"Bloody Holmes brothers," Lestrade muttered under his breath as he opened the package. Four gay magazines fell out onto the bed and Lestrade's mouth dropped open when he caught sight of the cover of the top one. "The sell these?"

He grabbed a towel from the stack on his dresser, he had no idea why the towels were in his room rather than in the bathroom, but it worked out in his favor, and climbed into bed. Lestrade arranged the pillows behind him and picked up the first magazine. He wasn't sure exactly what he would find but pictures of naked and mostly naked men wasn't it. He'd been thinking swimsuit models or something and wondered where the hell Mycroft would even be able to find something like that when he came across the men in bed. Lestrade felt his cock twitch when he remembered what it felt like to be inside of Sherlock's body and he flipped the page to see what else he would be able to find.

Two orgasms later, he had to concede that it wasn't just Sherlock or the thought of the younger man that made him hard. He stuffed the magazines under the bedside cabinet, dropped the towel on the floor and fell asleep.

Sherlock was in the sitting room the next morning enjoying the morning sun before the doctor re-wrapped his bandages, when his phone rang. "Mycroft?"

"How are you, Sherlock?"


"I would imagine so, but I haven't heard any complaints from anyone at the house, so you must be behaving yourself," Mycroft said. "I'm sending some files down for you to look through. It's not a complex case, but it's not one I have time to take on myself. I do think there are enough features there to catch your interest while you're waiting to heal up."

"Thank you for the magazines, by the way," Sherlock said. "I heard Greg down the hall last night. He quite enjoyed them."

"Good, I'm glad. Hopefully they will give him some ideas," Mycroft said. "The other reason for my call is the first round of bargaining has completed and Lestrade's wife was one of the three that was sentenced out this round."

Sherlock sighed. "What was her sentence?" he asked.

"Everything totaled means she won't be released from prison until she is an old woman," Mycroft replied. "I am unsure where she will be serving her sentence, but I believe it will be somewhere up north. How will you tell Lestrade?"

"As best I can," Sherlock said. "He's still working through everything in his mind, Mycroft. I wish there was a way I could help him, but I don't truly understand what it is he's feeling."

"I suspect he knows that, Sherlock. So long as you are there and willing to listen to him when he wishes to talk, I think you will both be just fine. Do call if you have any questions or if there is anything you need."

"I will," Sherlock said. "Thank you for everything, Mycroft. I know this can't be easy to explain to your bosses."

Mycroft chuckled. "I'm actually having fun trying to explain it to everyone," he said. "I shall have to give you details when you're home again. Oh, and Sherlock, if you have a moment, give John a call. He is worried about you."

"Is he just going to lecture again, do you think?"

"I don't know, but you know he lectures when he's concerned. Give him the benefit of the doubt. I think he fears he is being replaced as your best friend."

"All right, I'll call, but I make no promises as to how good a conversation it will be."

"That's all I ask. Take a look at the folders if you can, and let me know what you think," Mycroft said. "I'll call again on Friday to see how you're getting on. Do take care of yourself, Sherlock, and allow Greg to take care of you as well."


Chapter 16

"Greg, could you come in here a moment, please?" Sherlock called when he heard the older man moving around. "I know you want to go down and see the beaches this morning, but I need to speak with you before you go."

"What's going on?" Lestrade asked, appearing in the doorway. "How'd you know it was me, anyway? There's about a dozen other people in this place."

"I know the sound of your footsteps," Sherlock replied. "Greg, Mycroft called early this morning."

Lestrade managed to get to a chair before his legs gave out. "My wife."

"She was sentenced out of trial and will be going north, Mycroft believes," Sherlock said as gently as he knew how. He knew enough to know that it wasn't a time to be cold and clinical, but he didn't know how to soften the news. "She will be there for a very long time."

"What would have happened if she'd gone to trial with the others?" Lestrade asked.

"She interfered in government and police investigations and was working with a man who wished to take down the government," Sherlock said. "I would have been surprised if she was not sentenced to die, Greg. This is the easier option, she will be in with other women and they won't work her hard. I know this isn't easy for you to hear, but I didn't know how else to tell you."

"No, it's fine, Sherlock, you did good," Lestrade said. "I'm still going to go to the beach. I've got a lot of thinking to do."

"Greg, I'm here if you want to talk," Sherlock said softly. "I would hug you if I could, but I can't."

Lestrade leaned forward and held his hand out palm up, smiling a little when Sherlock's rested on his. "You heal up, Sherlock, that's your task," he said. "Mine is to get through this bloody muddle of emotions my wife has caused me so I can keep going with my life. Can I leave my mobile here and take yours today? I don't want to risk anyone from London finding me right now."

"Of course, mine is on the table there," Sherlock said. "The car will wait for you, Greg. Take a lunch and enjoy the beach. Think hard, but don't overdo today. You have as long as you need to think on this."

"All right, see you when I get home then," Lestrade said.

Lestrade found a spot on the beach and settled in to watch the water. He'd just wanted to be somewhere warm and sunny where he could sit and see water. He hadn't counted on being in such an upscale part of the world, but with Sherlock along to help him out, he was managing. Lestrade sighed and turned his thoughts to his wife, or soon to be ex-wife because he'd have to divorce her. With a wince, he realized he should have asked if that was even possible before he left the house, but his mind had been swirling around with the news that she could have been killed that the rest of it was a bit of a blur.

When Sherlock's phone rang around lunch time, Lestrade debated answering it, but saw who it was and figured it would be okay. "Hey Mycroft."

"Ah, Greg, good. Sherlock told me you have his mobile today, which I must say is a good idea," Mycroft said. "He's been fielding calls on yours since the news broke this morning. All very well, he seems to be behaving himself, but your team might be a little traumatized."

"Which one?" Lestrade asked.

"Sally, I believe, although he said he could hear other voices in the back, so it's possible she was on a speaker phone," Mycroft said. "I wanted to call because I realized I had been remiss in talking to you about options and paperwork I had filed on your behalf."

Lestrade couldn't help but laugh. "You started the divorce proceedings for me, didn't you?" he asked. "Why do I even worry about anything when I have you and Sherlock around, Mycroft?"

"I merely collected the paperwork and spoke with a friend of mine about options," Mycroft replied smoothly. "I believe in anticipating all possibilities, Greg. Now, is the divorce something you do wish?"

"Yeah, I just realized it today, but yeah," Lestrade said. "I don't want to be tied to her when she's made it pretty obvious she's done with me. What do I need to do?"

"Sign a few forms whenever you get home, but there is no rush," Mycroft said. "Sherlock did say you took the news fairly well. Are you all right, Greg?"

"Good as I can be, given the circumstances," Lestrade said. "The beach is nice, Mycroft, your family has good taste."

"Thank you, I shall have to let mother know; she'll be delighted," Mycroft said. "She's always fussed that I don't spend enough time at the family home. She'll be thrilled to know that it's getting some use, and by someone who is enjoying it."

"In that case, tell her the roses are wonderful too," Lestrade said. "Mycroft, I'll say this a lot, but thank you. I don't know how I'd be surviving this on my own. You and Sherlock, for once, are making things easier on me."

Mycroft chuckled. "We're only human as well, Greg, we just like to hide the fact as much as we possibly can," he said. "Sherlock might have a couple of stitches out when you return, but he still has a ways to go towards healing. When he is better, take him to the beach. It will do him good."

"I'll try my best," Lestrade said. "I'll talk to you later, Mycroft, thanks again."

"Of course, Greg. Anything you need."


Chapter 17

When Lestrade got home from the beach, he wasn't exactly in a better mood, but he was feeling a little more settled about his life. Talking with Mycroft had helped more than he'd realized. He knew that he still had a long way to go, but he was starting to believe that he might actually be able to recover from the betrayal from his wife and move forward with life. Lestrade left his things with one of the maids and went to the sun room to see Sherlock. "Hey."

"Good evening, Greg, did you have a good day?" Sherlock asked.

"Better than I thought I would. Lonely though," Lestrade replied. He sat down and looked at Sherlock. "All right, you, what's wrong?"

"Do you know how hard it is for me to answer that question rather than insist everything is fine?" Sherlock asked in reply.

Lestrade smiled fondly. "I can imagine, yeah. If you want me to leave it alone, I will," he said. "You've been listening to me going on, might be good for you to have a chance to talk."

"It's John," Sherlock sighed. "I rang him while you were away. He was not happy."

"Bloody hell," Lestrade said. "What's got him so upset?"

"I wish I knew, but he's not giving me enough facts to work with," Sherlock said. "He told me I should still be in the hospital, not off in the south of France where there's no medical care if I need it. He expressed disbelief at the nature of the case I had been working, telling me that there was no basis for the black arts and that I shouldn't make things up for cases just because I'm bored."

"Sounds to me like he's jealous as hell and he's letting it color everything," Lestrade said. "Sherlock, remember how I reacted when you first told me about the whole black arts angle on the case. I didn't believe you and stormed out of Mycroft's office rather than listen to the two of you. It's not easy to understand that there's really magic around, that demons are real and deals can be made with them."

Sherlock looked over. "I thought it was more the sex you objected to than the black arts, Greg," he said.

"Yeah, that too," Lestrade smiled. "I'm sure that Mycroft packed up all the research you two did on the case, maybe you should let John see what you let me see and he'll start to understand a little better. As to you being here rather than in the hospital, you look healthier than I've seen in years, and that's with bandages covering most of your body."

"Dr. Lawrence took out five sets of stitches this afternoon," Sherlock said. "The shallower cuts on my chest had healed enough that they were no longer needed. He says I have about a week left before he will reevaluate my condition and see about removing the other stitches."

"I'm just looking forward to being able to see you again without the bandages on," Lestrade said. "It's a little unnerving having your eyes peering out of the wraps, you know. I don't think I ever realized how intense your eyes are."

"They itch, so I'm looking forward to getting rid of the bandages and stitches both," Sherlock said. "Greg, what should I do about John? I don't want to lose him over something so silly as a misunderstanding."

"Maybe Mycroft could take the papers over and talk with him for an hour," Lestrade said. "I know how busy your brother is right now, but the man has to eat. He could have supper with John and they could talk. I don't think it would hurt anything, Sherlock."

Sherlock sighed. "It might make things worse, Greg."

"It could also make them better."

"I'll ask him. I need to ring his office anyway," Sherlock said. "He sent a case along and I need some more information. Thank you, Greg, for listening."

Lestrade leaned over and kissed Sherlock gently. "That's what boyfriends are for, Sherlock," he said.


Chapter 18

"Good evening, John, I do hope I'm not interrupting."

John just sighed. "Mycroft. Do either of you understand the idea behind knocking?" he asked.

"Of course, but I do find it distasteful to kick a door to announce my presence, and my hands are rather full," Mycroft replied. He set a large box down on the desk. "Sherlock rang and said that you are finding it difficult to understand the basis of his most recent case. I should have realized and left the information here for you to read rather than taking it all with me. I do apologize for that."

"Mycroft, he was talking about demons and black magic. There's no such thing."

"There is, John, you just have to know where to look to obtain factual information rather than the lies that are posted all over the internet," Mycroft said. He sat down in Sherlock's chair and settled in. "Consider who is telling you about this, John. Do you really believe that I would make up such stories when all of my life is based on fact?"

"No," John said. "Of course not, but at the same time, what one person considers as fact can still be wrong at the foundation, leading to problems and lies later on."

Mycroft smiled. "What an outstanding point, John. I must introduce you to some of my staff, they would be delighted to debate with you," he said. "The information I brought you is what Sherlock and I were working off of when word reached us that Moriarty was making a deal with a demon and planning a virgin sacrifice. I do apologize for keeping you in the dark for so long, but Sherlock and I were worried we would place you in more danger if you knew the truth of the case."

"But you could tell Lestrade?"

"Well, yes, because he could be of some aid," Mycroft said. "John, do you not remember your drunken night of exploration while you were posted abroad?"

John flushed red. "That was a mistake," he said.

"Mistake or not, it eliminated any aid you could give Sherlock," Mycroft said. "Our researches showed that the partner had to be a virgin in at least one aspect, and Lestrade had never slept with another man before. Had Lestrade not agreed, I do not know what we would have done, as I was equally unsuitable to be Sherlock's partner."

"He's your brother," John said, face twisting up in disgust.

"A fact of which I am constantly aware. However, to keep him alive and with me, should I have been able, I would have done what was needed, as would Sherlock," Mycroft said. "Both of us were raised to do what was needed, John. Fortunately for yours, and Lestrade's sensibilities, he was willing to help Sherlock out. You saw the direct result of that."

"Yeah, he couldn't walk on his own," John said. "Sherlock could have been a bit more careful with him."

"I can assure you, John, that Sherlock was extremely careful with Lestrade," Mycroft said. "Lestrade still had lingering tension in his body and that had a negative impact upon the proceedings. Happily, he recovered, our plan worked, and they are heading towards a relationship. That, I must admit, was unexpected, but is welcomed."

"What plan?" John asked.

"The demon was promised a virgin. We made sure that Sherlock was quite unsuitable when he was chained down. The demon took offense and killed Moriarty," Mycroft replied. "Sherlock's injuries are the result of some carvings that were required to summon the demon, but I am assured he will make a full recovery. Dr. Lawrence is one of the best, and I cannot think of one I would rather have watching over Sherlock."

"Sherlock should be in the hospital."

"Why? His wounds are stitched and require monitoring, but he suffered no worse injury," Mycroft said. "Dr. Lawrence is one of the few men Sherlock respects and has a better chance of keeping Sherlock down to allow him time to heal. The only person served by having Sherlock in the hospital here is you, John. I do realize you're his first best friend, but do keep in mind that he is allowed to have more than one."

"I don't know what you're talking about," John snapped.

Mycroft sighed. "As you will, John," he said. "Do review the information I've brought you as I think it will help you understand the case a bit better. Lestrade read through less and believed. I do hope that you will to."


Chapter 19

As much as Lestrade wanted to be in with Sherlock while the stitches were being removed, he didn't know what seeing the younger man naked would cause his body to do, so he paced the hall outside, ears listening for any sign of pain or trouble. Getting stitches out wasn't pleasant, and it was possible that Sherlock would still have to be bandaged up, but hopefully not as extensively as he had been. It was over an hour of waiting, but Dr. Lawrence finally came out, and smiled when he caught sight of Lestrade. "He's fine, lad. Just needs rest, keep those plasters on for three days and then cream for another week, but ultimately he's fine. I'll be back in a few days to check in again."

"Thanks for all your help, Dr. Lawrence," Lestrade said with a smile. "I don't think we could have done this without you around."

"All in a day's work," Dr. Lawrence said. "Go on in and see Sherlock. He's been waiting for you. Impatiently, too."

"Sounds about right," Lestrade said. "Thanks again." He went into the bedroom and shut the door behind him. "Less like a mummy and more like an ad for medical supplies."

Sherlock snorted. "How droll," he said. "I'm just glad to be rid of the frightful things."

"It's good to see most of you again," Lestrade said. "Do they hurt?"

"No more than they did, now that the pain of having the stitches removed is fading away," Sherlock said. "I'm not allowed out in the sun for another week, but I have been cleared for more physical activities."

"Surely not sex."

"No, not for another week, regrettably," Sherlock sighed. "However, I can join you for walks in the garden provided it's early morning or late evening and can sit under an umbrella at the beach as long as I'm careful to stay in the shade."

Lestrade nodded and turned to the bedside table. "So we've got three days until those smaller bandages come off, then we use this cream on you?"

"I think it's more lotion than cream, but Dr. Lawrence wants to be sure that none of my scars are going to be tight and cause issues," Sherlock said. "Especially the more intimate ones."

"Not a mental image I needed there, Sherlock."

"Sorry, Greg, but it is a reality we need to face. I have scars over ninety percent of my body now," Sherlock said. "Some will fade with time, others will be with me for the rest of my life. It will just be more ammunition for those who already see me as a freak."

"Hey now, I told you, the only thing I care about with these scars is that you got hurt," Lestrade said, tilting Sherlock's head back up. "I don't care that you have them, Sherlock. I'm still attracted to you, and that hasn't changed. I guess I'm still just shy."

Sherlock reached over and started to rub Lestrade's inner thigh. "I wish I could understand better," he said. "Having never been in this position before, I don't understand the shyness, Greg. I do know it pained you to be penetrated and don't wish to do that again. I enjoy having you inside of my body too much to wish a change."

"That's good because I really enjoyed our first time together, once you got me interested in things," Lestrade said. "I'm not sure how nervous I'm going to be when we're together again. I'm sure you've heard me with the magazines at night, there's definite interest in learning, but I guess there's still a bit of a freak-out factor involved. One time doesn't ease that back, you know."

"We can go as fast or as slow as you wish, Greg," Sherlock said. "I wish I could do more with you now, you know that patience has never been one of my virtues, but these scars on my face as still delicate and opening my mouth for any length of time could cause them to open again."

Lestrade groaned when he thought about feeling Sherlock's mouth again. "We'll wait, Sherlock," he said. "I don't want to cause you pain. You need to finish healing and then we'll have our time together."

"Waiting is going to be the hard part," Sherlock grumbled.


Chapter 20

"How are you holding up?" Greg asked a few days later. They'd gone to the beach and Sherlock was sitting under a large umbrella that they were adjusting to keep him out of the sun.

"I'm tired, but nothing worrying," Sherlock replied with a quick smile. "This is the beach Mycroft and I used to come play on as children. When I'm able to be out in the sun for long periods of time, Greg, we shall have to go and see if the cave network is still accessible."

Lestrade grinned. "I'm sure it is, even if it's only at low tide," he said. "I guess the two of you explored this whole area when you were kids, didn't you?"

"We did. Mother generally left us to our own devices, trusting Mycroft to keep an eye on me," Sherlock said. "It didn't always work, given our natures, but there were more fun days than bad, at least that I remember. It's possible Mycroft would tell you differently."

"I'll take your word for it," Lestrade said. "Sherlock, I got a call from John this morning."

"How is he?"

"It was hard to tell," Lestrade said with a small sigh. "He still thinks you should be home in the hospital and ranted for five minutes when I told him your stitches were out. Something about it not being enough time for you to have healed properly and they should be in for another week at least."

"The cuts were shallow, for the most part," Sherlock said. "John didn't see them pre-surgery and that probably is biasing him slightly. What else did he say?"

"Something about Mycroft being a creepy bastard and haunting the flat in the evenings," Lestrade said with a small smile. "I pointed out that was what Mycroft did when he wanted to know something and John should just suck it up and ask him what's going on. John wasn't too happy to hear me say that."

Sherlock's lips twitched up a little. "I imagine not. Not being there and having not point of reference, I would speculate that Mycroft is trying to ascertain if John has read through the information on the black magics he was provided with and if he has any questions," he said. "John likely has not touched the materials and isn't willing to look at them until I'm home again, thus Mycroft haunting the flat, as John put it. Mycroft is quite aware of all of this, of course, would have been after the second visit, but he does enjoy drama. It's very likely he's just there to annoy John a little because John is annoying me."

"So, basically, Mycroft is being a good brother, is what you're saying."


"Never thought I'd see the day," Lestrade grinned. "Anyway, I told John that I had a hard time accepting the whole black magic bit, especially the virgin sacrifice, but it is all true and he needs to keep an open mind about things. Yes, before you say it, I told him that I had a hard time doing it and it took me a while to come to terms with everything, but that I had other problems on my mind at the time."

"Yes, the pressure of sleeping with a man for the first time combined with finding out the truth about your ex-wife," Sherlock said. He leaned over and kissed Greg softly. "Have I mentioned how happy I am that you not only helped me out with such a dire situation, but that you're here with me now?"

"No, but I'm glad to be here," Lestrade said softly. "We're not making out on a public beach, Sherlock. We can kiss when we're home again, but not out here. There's children."

"I'm sure they've seen worse," Sherlock said, but he lay back against his back prop. "I will admit to looking forward to this weekend a great deal, Greg. I would like for things to be better than they were last time."

"We'll manage," Lestrade said. "I'm sure Mycroft is spying on us and will send along some box of supplies that will have everything we need in it. I'm going to swim, do you need anything before I go?"

"I'll be fine," Sherlock said. "Though I shall have to restrain myself from licking the salt water from your skin when you come back."

"Bloody hell, Sherlock," Lestrade groaned.

Sherlock smirked. "Sorry."

"No, you're bloody well not," Lestrade said. "Now I have to calm down before I can go swim."

"I'm sure you'll manage. This is just as hard for me as it is for you."

"You have no idea how hard it is."

"I could, if you'd uncurl a bit."

Lestrade swatted the hand reaching towards him. "You did not just make a dirty joke, Sherlock."

"I don't know what you're talking about."


Chapter 21

Sherlock snorted when Lestrade showed up with a box in his hands. "Mycroft?" he asked.

"Just like you predicted," Lestrade replied. "How is he spying on us like this, Sherlock. There can't be cameras around, not this far away from his office."

"I think it might be less spying and more anticipation of what we plan to do," Sherlock said. He crossed his legs and opened the box in front of him. "He does know that we are pursuing a relationship, Greg."

"I'm not sure how comfortable I am knowing that he knows so much about our relationship," Lestrade sighed. He sat down on the edge of the bed. "Still, it'll be handy to have supplies to hand."

"Yes, it will," Sherlock said. "Now all we need is for Dr. Lawrence to clear me completely."

"One more day, Sherlock. We can make it," Lestrade said. "You're going to be wound up for me, aren't you?"

Sherlock looked over at him. "I very likely shall orgasm at your first touch, Greg," he said.

Lestrade couldn't help it, he started laughing. "Why did I never see this side of you before, Sherlock?" he asked, moving up to kiss the younger man.

"I don't let anyone I do not trust see me like this," Sherlock murmured. "John has heard me make jokes before, but he never knows quite what to make of me when I do."

"Makes me want to pin you down and kiss you senseless," Lestrade said. "Keep this up and tomorrow is going to be too far away."

"If only we could," Sherlock sighed. "You still have yet to see the extent of the scarring."

"Then let me see," Lestrade said. "You've been doing your front with the lotion. Give me a chance to help you with it?"


"Hey, I have never seen you uncertain before, do not start now," Lestrade said firmly. He took Sherlock's hand and pushed it against his erection. "You feel that, Sherlock? That's because of you. Want me to strip off so you can see that I'm not going soft seeing these scars?"

Sherlock looked up at him. "Would you really do that for me?" he asked.

In reply, Lestrade stood up and pulled off the t-shirt he'd been wearing since his shower. "Short of breaking the law, Sherlock, I'll do anything for you," he said. "That does not mean you can use this to get favors from me on cases, but if it's reasonable and safe, then I'll do anything."

"So that means I cannot come to work and ask you to help me gain access to the morgue," Sherlock sighed. "Nothing will have changed there then, which is good. I know where the boundaries to our relationship lie, Greg, and I can respect them."

"That hasn't stopped you in the past." Lestrade tossed his jeans and pants over the chair and looked at Sherlock. "Robe off, Sherlock. Let's get this cream on you."

"Not the cream I want," Sherlock muttered.

"Bloody hell, Sherlock!" Lestrade exclaimed.

Sherlock pushed off the bed with an evil grin and kissed his lover deeply. "You are enchanting when you're red, Greg," he whispered.

"You are not to do that when we get home."

"I promise," Sherlock said. He took a deep breath and let his robe fall to the floor.

Lestrade reached out and ran a hand slowly along Sherlock's chest, fingers tracing over the still angry scars. "I hate that you suffered so much, Sherlock, but that's all," he said. "You have visual proof of this."

"How am I so lucky?" Sherlock whispered.

"We're both lucky, love," Lestrade replied.


Chapter 22

Dr. Lawrence appeared midday and spent an hour in with Sherlock, both checking him over and talking about how to care for the scars in the coming weeks. The older man was worried the ones on and around the groin would cause discomfort if not cared for properly. Sherlock, not wanting to risk anything, listened carefully and asked questions that normally would have made him turn red.

Lestrade caught the doctor on his way out the door and asked a few questions of his own, wanting to be sure what he had planned out wouldn't hurt Sherlock any. Dr. Lawrence assured him that, as long as Sherlock kept using the cream on the scars, he was cleared to do anything he wanted. "Yes, I do know how dangerous it is to tell Sherlock Holmes that, Detective," he said with a fond smile.

"Thanks for all your help, Dr. Lawrence," Lestrade said. "I'm not sure how much longer we'll be here, but I have to say I haven't seen a place so beautiful in a long time."

"It is beautiful here, one reason I've stayed," Dr. Lawrence said with a smile. "You need to bring Sherlock back here more often, allow him a chance to relax and be himself. I don't think London is healthy for him."

"Maybe not, but he loves it," Lestrade said. "Normally he and I are both so busy, we don't have time to eat, let alone think about holidays. The only reason we're both here like we are is down to Mycroft and his office taking over a case."

"Mycroft is a good man," Dr. Lawrence said. "I need to ring him, let him know that Sherlock is healed properly. He's been worrying."

"We've been talking with him too," Lestrade said. "I'm going to take lunch up to Sherlock. Thanks again."

"My pleasure," Dr. Lawrence said. "I can see myself out. You go tend to Sherlock. He's certainly antsy enough with anticipation."

Lestrade flushed red and headed up the stairs quickly. He knew what he wanted, but it was weird to know that others knew that he and Sherlock were in a relationship. He didn't know what he would be doing once he was back in London and his team worked things out. "Sherlock?"

"Come in, Greg," Sherlock said. "What happened to make you blush?"

"Dr. Lawrence all but shoved me up here for sex," Lestrade said. He sat down on the bed and rubbed his face. "I guess it's still new enough that I'm going to turn red pretty easy."

"Given the nature of my questions, it wouldn't be hard to work out that I am anticipating sex," Sherlock said with a smile. "I feel that I've kept you waiting long enough, Greg. I am cleared for everything."

"You need to eat first," Lestrade said firmly. "You've been doing better about food lately, Sherlock, and I'm not taking you off that routine for anything."

"You are a spoilsport," Sherlock said.

Lestrade leaned up and kissed him soundly. "Eat a good lunch and I'll show you exactly how happy I am that you're cleared for sex, Sherlock," he said. "Then we need to talk about how much longer we're going to be here, and what's going to happen when we get back to London."

"I thought another week to explore the area a little more, now that I'm mobile again," Sherlock said. He grabbed his robe and pulled it on, stretching a little. "We can eat on the balcony, Greg. Lunch is waiting for us. When we're back in London, I'll return to Baker Street and you said you wished space of your own. You're welcome to stay if you want to, but I want you comfortable."

"Back to work like nothing changed and see how long it takes the team to work out?" Lestrade asked.

"I think so, yes," Sherlock replied. "I do not care of you continue wearing your ring. That's something personal to you, and your choice. I shall have to speak with John at some point. I hope he is willing to listen to me."

"I can talk to him too, if you think it'll help," Lestrade said.

"Thank you, I might just take you up on that," Sherlock said.


Chapter 23

After lunch, Lestrade trailed Sherlock back into the bedroom and stopped him next to the bed. "Will you let me touch you?" he asked softly.

"Whatever you want to do," Sherlock replied. "We did skip a few steps last time, didn't we?"

"I get the feeling there's still a lot I have to learn," Lestrade said. He leaned in and kissed Sherlock softly, pulling the younger man in against him. Sherlock wrapped his arms around Lestrade's shoulders and let Lestrade lead. "I do like kissing though," Lestrade whispered against Sherlock's lips.

"So do I," Sherlock said. "I'm still learning too, Greg. I look forward to learning everything you like."

Lestrade couldn't help but smile. "I think I can admit that I like having you here with me," he said, rubbing Sherlock's back gently. "Do you think we'll be able to sleep together, Sherlock?"

"I don't sleep much," Sherlock admitted. He pulled back and slipped off the robe, leaving him in a baggy t-shirt and sleep pants. "However, I have no objecting to lying quietly next to you while you're asleep, if you don't think that's too creepy."

"You might start sleeping more now, Sherlock," Lestrade said. "Come here, I don't care about the scars. Let me see you." He pushed the shirt off and ran his hands slowly over Sherlock's torso. "Is there a pattern to these or are they just random?"

Sherlock kicked off the sleep pants and settled back on the bed. "You start here and read down to my hip, then back up to the top down the center of my body, then back up and down the right side of my body," he said. "I'm not sure what the language is, but as long as there's no blood involved, they're inert. You don't have to worry about a demon suddenly showing up in our bedroom."

"That's good to know," Lestrade said. He dropped his own shirt on the floor and started on his jeans. "I think I can live a happy life never having to meet a bloody demon."

"I could have as well," Sherlock sighed. "The supplies from Mycroft are in the bedside drawer there."

"I'll be honest, Sherlock, as much as I've been thinking about this and reading those magazines, I really have no clue where to even start," Lestrade admitted.

"Kissing and touching are both good," Sherlock said with a smile. "I can lie here and not move until you want me to, if you'd like."

Lestrade straddled Sherlock's hips and smiled down at him. "I've seen you go still, it's scary," he said. He ran his fingers over Sherlock's stomach and chest. "Are you always this cool?"

"It's one reason I wear so much all the time," Sherlock said, hands rubbing Lestrade's legs. "I think my body temperature is just naturally lower. You, on the other hand, are warm."

"You were going to say hot, weren't you?"

"Maybe," Sherlock smiled. He arched up a little. "That's good there."

"No scar there either," Lestrade said, rubbing just under Sherlock's collar bone. "Moriarty was insane, Sherlock. I'm glad he's gone."

"So am I, though he was a worthy opponent for me," Sherlock said. He wrapped a hand around Lestrade's cock and started to stroke it softly. "I never hope for criminal masterminds to show, but criminals are so very dull these days."

"Well, we have another way to keep you entertained these days," Lestrade said, leaning down to kiss Sherlock's neck softly. "I can't tell you how weird this all feels, Sherlock."

Sherlock smiled. "In your own time, Greg," he said. "If we go no further than this today, I'll be happy."

"I have no clue how to prepare you for anything."

"Let me up, I'll show you," Sherlock said. "Of course, I can also suck you while I'm showing you. Which would you like more?"

"Oh, bloody hell," Lestrade groaned. "How are you able to still spring these things on me?"

"Lie on the bed for me, Greg," Sherlock said, dropping his voice a little. They shifted around, Sherlock grabbing the lube while Lestrade got settled on his back and then settled into position. He poured some lube onto his hand and then handed the tube back to Lestrade. "Wet but not dripping when you join me."

Lestrade would have replied, but Sherlock's mouth surrounded his erection before he could say anything, and a groan was his only reply. It took Sherlock a moment to find the exact position he wanted, but he was finally able to slide a finger into his body to start opening himself up. Lestrade watched more closely this time, wanting to be able to do it himself in the future, but having Sherlock sucking on him at the same time made things a little harder than he'd been expecting. Lestrade finally slicked up a finger and pushed it carefully in next to Sherlock's, the resulting groan echoing up his erection. "You're so tight, Sherlock," he said softly. "I know I'll fit, but I don't understand how it doesn't hurt you."

"Practice and constant stretching," Sherlock replied, breath ghosting over Lestrade. "It does sting, Greg, but it doesn't hurt."

"Good, you've hurt enough during all of this," Lestrade said. "Can you take another finger in there?"

"Yes," Sherlock hissed as Lestrade's thicker fingers opened him up. "Feels very good, Greg."

"I just can't get over how tight you are," Lestrade said. "In the magazine they showed a guy coming just from this, Sherlock. Is that something you'd be willing to try?"

"Just not today," Sherlock said, pushing back against Lestrade's hand.

"Yeah, not today," Lestrade agreed. "Get me ready for you?"

Sherlock grabbed the condom that had been dropped on the bed, opened it and rolled it on. "Need the lube," he gasped as Lestrade's fingers ran over his prostate.

"I'm wondering how I didn't realize how much I need this," Lestrade murmured, passing the lube over. "Want you on your back, Sherlock. I want to be able to kiss you."

"Let me move then," Sherlock said. He squirmed around before flopping on his back and looking over at Lestrade. "Ready."

"We're going to have to get better at this," Lestrade commented, shifting into position. He groaned when he pushed into Sherlock's body again. "So good."


Lestrade leaned down and caught Sherlock's mouth with his own as he started moving, pushing into the body under him. He thought that he was going to be able to last a little longer than Sherlock, given that he'd been jerking off almost every night while Sherlock was healing up from the cuts, but didn't know if he would last long enough to drive Sherlock to orgasm first.

"So many things to try, Greg," Sherlock said as he slipped a hand between them. "I want you to cuff me to the bed and make me come untouched. Force it out of me."

"Bloody hell, Sherlock," Lestrade groaned.

"We need to make lists of everything we want to try," Sherlock continued, starting to pant a little. "That way we can try everything."

"Hush you," Lestrade said, catching at Sherlock's mouth again just as the younger man's climax hit. Lestrade managed to ride through the contractions around him a little longer, but he still climaxed faster than he had in years. "Damn."

Sherlock caught him and held him close. "So perfect," he managed.

"Still have to clean up," Lestrade said.

"In a bit," Sherlock said.


Chapter 24

John was in his chair reading a medical magazine when he heard footsteps on the stairs. "Mycroft, for the last time, I haven't had a chance to read through the things you left here, so you might as well take them back," he said, not looking up.

"It's a shame you haven't, they're fascinating reading," Sherlock said as he kicked the door open. "John."

"Sherlock. No one mentioned you were coming home today," John said. He stared at his friend's face. "What happened?"

"Moriarty," Sherlock said, turning away. "Greg, do you have the bag with the wines in it?"

"Yeah, right here," Lestrade said as he came into the sitting room. "Hey John, how's it going?"

"Fine, I think," John said. "What's this?"

Lestrade grinned. "Sherlock and I went and toured an old winery before we came home and got those for you," he said. "It was amazing to see how they made the wines, John."

"I'm going to unpack," Sherlock said.

"Okay, I'll be right there," Lestrade said. He grabbed Sherlock's wrist and pulled him in for a quick kiss. "Remember what I said, Sherlock."

"I know," Sherlock said softly.

"John, can we talk for a minute?" Lestrade asked when they were alone. "There's a couple of things I need to fill you in on before Sherlock comes back out."

"Yeah, sure, have a seat," John replied.

"First thing is don't stare at Sherlock for any reason," Lestrade said. "He's really self-conscious about those scars on his face and is going to look into different types of make-up to hide them. He trusts you so he wanted to let you see them, but please don't stare at him for anything. Not even if he asks you to. We had a hard time keeping a couple of them closed because they ran so closely to his mouth, so they're the worst. Dr. Lawrence said it wasn't anything to worry about, and it turned out he was right."

"I still say he shouldn't have been running around in France," John said.

"He wasn't. We were at an old family house and he stayed either in his room or in the sitting room until the stitches came out," Lestrade said. "John, I'm not sure what's bothering you so much about this, but the deepest cut only required five stitches. There wasn't anything life threatening about those cuts, other than how much they were bleeding. Moriarty must have used some sort of chemical to make the blood flow more freely because they couldn't stop the bleeding without sewing him up like they did. I've spent the past week trying to help him understand that the scars aren't that bad, but he's going to be flighty about them for a while."

"I really don't believe any of this," John said. "Demons aren't real."

"You need to read those papers and books Mycroft left you," Lestrade said. "It's hard not to believe once you've seen the evidence there. Besides, it's not like Mycroft and Sherlock would make something like this up and maim Sherlock because they were both bored, John. It really happened. Hell, it could have been worse if not for Sherlock's quick reflexes." He sighed. "I'm going to go unpack. Sherlock's offered to let me stay here while I search for a new flat. I hope you don't mind."

John shrugged. "It doesn't matter to me," he said. "It'll be nice to have someone who responds to conversations once in a while."

"All right, thanks," Lestrade said. "I'm serious, John. Read those files. Let me know if you have any questions when you're done."


Chapter 25

Lestrade woke up the next morning and immediately looked to see where Sherlock was. They'd found that the younger man slept longer if he was able to cuddle up with Lestrade, but there wasn't a body pressed up against him, no warmth in the bed next to him. There was, however, a form by the window. "Hey."

"Good morning, Greg," Sherlock said.

"You okay?"

"You're returning to work today," Sherlock said. "We've had almost two full weeks of time together and I guess I'm surprised at the fact that I'm going to miss you."

Lestrade couldn't help the smile. "You can bring me lunch if you want to, Sherlock," he said. "I'm probably not going to be able to get away from my desk today. I doubt Mycroft had people handling my reports for me while I was gone."

"He probably did, knowing him," Sherlock said. He crossed back to the bed and crawled back under the covers. "I'm not sure what I'm feeling, Greg, but I've never felt it before and I don't like it."

"My best guess is a combination of anxiety and depression," Lestrade said. He pulled Sherlock in against him and started rubbing his back slowly. "You're going to be alone with John for the first time since before the ritual and you're worried about how he's going to react. You haven't had a chance to research covers for the scars on your face and he keeps staring at them. You've also gotten used to having me around and you're worried you're going to be lonely while I'm at work."

"Is this what it means to let people close to you?"

"This is it, Sherlock. You're also stuck with me, so don't even try to shut me out."

"I wouldn't. You'd withhold sex."

Lestrade laughed at that. "Never thought I'd find out that it's sex that makes you behave," he said. "You can text me all day if you want, but keep in mind it might be a bit before I can reply. Don't text constantly, Sherlock. I'd like to give it a couple of days before we start letting on there's been a change in our relationship."

"Are you going to request a new team, Greg?" Sherlock asked softly. "I know you spoke with Mycroft about it, when you were going through the divorce papers over the phone."

"I'd like to think that I'll be able to work with them, but I don't think I will," Lestrade sighed. "Hell, it's possible they were tied up in the whole mess deeper than we thought before the ritual. I think I'll talk with my boss and see what he wants to do."

"I might go call on Mycroft today," Sherlock said. "He might have a suggestion for these scars as well. I know Dr. Lawrence said some would fade over time, but I don't think these on my face ever will."

Lestrade rolled them so Sherlock was half under him and leaned down to kiss his lover. "I know your self-conscious about them, Sherlock, but I don't see them when I look at them," he said between soft kisses. "I see your eyes and your lips. In your eyes I see love and I want to kiss your lips any time I look at them. The scars are a part of you for me, and they don't take away from the rest of you."

"Thank you, Greg," Sherlock said. "Never tell anyone I'm this worried about something so superficial?"

"It'll be our secret," Lestrade promised. "Come shower with me?"

"Can I?"

"Absolutely," Lestrade said. "You can even blow me while I'm washing my hair if you want."

Sherlock grinned. "I like the sound of that," he said.


Chapter 26

Sherlock was on the sofa working on his laptop when Mycroft walked into the flat without knocking. "I just had my final report from Dr. Lawrence, Sherlock," he said, draping his coat over the back of a chair. "He told me that you behaved better for him now than you ever did when you were a child."

"I had incentive to get better," Sherlock replied.

"Lestrade is good for you," Mycroft agreed. "Sherlock, I brought you this. Some of my operatives use it when they are going in the field. It will cover the scars without damaging your skin. Lestrade mentioned to me that you don't want them visible when you're out in public."

"Thank you," Sherlock said. He closed the computer with a sigh. "Do you think me weak to want to hide something like this away, Mycroft?"

"No, Sherlock, I do not. I think you experienced something traumatic and that you had no previous frame of reference for," Mycroft replied. "You don't wish to cover the scars because you are ashamed of them, you want to cover them so you do not have a reminder of your time in Moriarty's grasp, and I can't fault you for that. It's likely I would do the same were our positions switched out."

"John keeps staring at me, Mycroft," Sherlock said. "I cannot deduce if it's because of the scars, because of the case I was working when I was injured, or because of my new relationship with Greg. John truly doesn't mind Greg being here, he was honest about that with me, but there is something else on his mind that he will not share with me."

Mycroft nodded. "John has had a bit of a revelation, I'm afraid, Sherlock," he said. "It will take time for you to be back to where you were. I think that John believed that he was truly your only friend and that you would turn to him for everything. Finding that he was wrong, in addition to our talking about black magic, demons and other summonings, well, that has only thrown him for a worse loop, as they say."

"Slang, brother, I didn't know you had it in you," Sherlock said with a small smile. "Should I try to speak with John again, or allow him to come to me?"

"I believe that you should speak with him when he comes home tonight," Mycroft said. "Even if he doesn't listen to you, he will hear what you are saying. Give him time, Sherlock. He is your friend and he will come around. Besides, you must admit, the thought of black magic is hardly logical or something encountered in daily life."

Sherlock's lips twitched. "How very true," he said. "I'll do my best to speak with him before Greg is home tonight."

"He should be home around six," Mycroft said. "His team was, regrettably, involved with Moriarty and is being questioned by some of my people to be sure that no other cases were tampered with. Lestrade will have some paperwork to finish up, but he shouldn't have any new cases until next week."

"How did you manage to keep Greg out of this mess, Mycroft?" Sherlock asked. "Were I one of the higher ranked officers at the Yard, I would have looked first to the leader of the team, not the team itself."

"Well, I had a more intimate view into Lestrade's character because of you, Sherlock," Mycroft said. "I knew that he would rather kill himself than tamper with a case. It was simple enough to search out another point to the problems in the investigations, and I was justified in my hypothesis when I found that both Lestrade's team and wife were guilty. I am glad he has you, he has lost everything, Sherlock."

"He has his honor untainted thanks to you. For Greg, honor is everything, Mycroft. I don't know that either of us will ever be able to thank you enough."

Mycroft paused. "That's John's key," he said. "He hasn't reacted well to seeing me, so I'll take my leave. Be honest with him, Sherlock. That's the only thing you can do at this point."

John paused in the door and frowned. "You're not fighting," he said.

"I could throw something at him if that would make you feel better," Sherlock said.

"Now Sherlock, throwing items around the house is something you know Mummy would frown on," Mycroft said with a small smile. "Do let me know how that cream works for you, and I'll lay in a supply for you. John, Have a good day."

"I didn't think the two of you could be civil," John said. He hung up his jacket before heading towards his chair. "Have you been to the doctor's yet, Sherlock?"

"Not yet, maybe tomorrow," Sherlock said. "John, the cuts were not deep. I know how bad I looked in those bandages, but had the herbs not been employed as they were, none of the cuts would have required stitches. Maybe those butterfly things to help hold them closed, but not stitches. Dr. Lawrence is a good man and he monitored me closely. Were I to have stayed here, nothing would have changed beyond me possibly pulling my stitches because I was fussed over so much."

"Sherlock, I don't care how deep the cuts were. You were injured and you had no business going directly on a trip," John said. "You should have given your body a chance to start healing before you took off for France."

"The doctors treating me didn't agree," Sherlock said. "John, for this case, I needed a partner that had never been penetrated by another man. You have been, so you were completely unsuited for that part of the case. Had you even attempted to go with me, you would have been dead before you could have been any help. Moriarty had men in place to kill anyone following me. Mycroft lost a man because of that. Inside the chamber where the ritual was set up had no windows, one door, and no place to hide. Mycroft could take you to see it, see where the flames scorched everything. I kept you away from this case because you have expressed anger in the past when I placed your life in jeopardy." He looked down at his hands. "I did not expect to come back from the ritual, John. Our research showed that the demon could easily kill everyone in the room. I was willing to sacrifice myself to save the people of London. I thought that was the right thing to do."

John sighed. "Sherlock, there's no such thing as demons," he said. "I don't know what they drugged you with when they had you, but demons aren't real. I think I need to check you over."

"I'm going to take lunch to Greg," Sherlock said. "I cannot prove or disprove the existence of demons, John, because I would have to summon one here and I am not going to enter into a deal with such a creature." He picked up the bottle Mycroft had brought him. "I'll be back later."


Chapter 27

Lestrade was working on a report when a bag dropped in front of him. He looked up and couldn't help the smile. "Sherlock."

"Lestrade. Lunch?"

"Thanks, Sherlock," Lestrade said. "I didn't realize it'd gotten so late. I was in meetings all morning. You heard about my team?"

Sherlock sat down in the chair nearer the desk and opened his own bag. "I did, Mycroft came to call earlier," he said. "I have to say that I'm not surprised to find they were involved as they were. I do hope they're going to give you a team that is a little more intelligent and a little less interested in each other."

"I'll find out next week. They've got me finishing up reports and other paperwork while they figure out exactly what they want to do with me," Lestrade said. "My job is safe, thanks largely to your brother, but there's still a question of how much I knew about everything."

"Your bosses are idiots," Sherlock said. "You knew nothing before I came to ask for your aid with the ritual."

"You're not talking with them, Sherlock," Lestrade said. "They'll let me back out in the field, I just have to be patient. Mycroft had another reason to call, I see."

"We talked," Sherlock said. "I wasn't expecting the covering cream, but it works well. I'm hoping the scars on my face will fade a bit as time passes."

"They should," Lestrade said. "It's all back to patience, Sherlock. Something I know you're frightfully bad at."

Sherlock smiled. "I can be patient if there's a worthy reward at the end, Greg, as I proved in France."

"True," Lestrade agreed. "What about John?"

"I think he's scared," Sherlock said. "This is something outside his scope of understanding and without visual proof, I don't think he'll ever be able to believe me. It'll take time, or another idiot summoning a demon in the middle of the city."

"You're not summoning a demon in our bedroom."

"I hadn't planned on it. I like my soul where it is."

"Good, I'm glad," Lestrade said. "Truthfully, Sherlock, you and John might have to just agree to disagree and have done with it. I know how hard it was for me to come to terms with the whole idea of demons and black magic. I can't imagine what John's got to be going through."

"I had just hoped that, with the information coming from me and my brother, he would be willing to at least consider it," Sherlock said. "John knows that Mycroft and I are not prone to flights of fancy, or involved with anything not based on logic and fact. For us to be talking about such topics seriously, I'd hoped there would be some consideration in there."

Lestrade shrugged and reached back into the bag for the package of crisps he'd felt. "John might be considering it, Sherlock, and just hasn't gotten to the point where he's comfortable talking about things. Give him some time and let's see what happens. It hasn't been that long, after all."

"True," Sherlock agreed. "I do wish he would stop harping on about my traveling immediately after they stitched me up. That's not only boring, but it makes me feel like he doesn't trust me."

"In his defense, Sherlock, he has found you doing some crazy things," Lestrade pointed out.

"That he has," Sherlock agreed with a smile. "I told him that the doctors didn't think I needed to stay in bed here and was okay to travel. Maybe I should tell him he can go and look at my files at the hospital to be sure I'm not lying to him."

"That's not a bad idea," Lestrade said. "He's just worried about you, Sherlock. John's had a scare and it'll take time for him to be sure that you're really okay."

Sherlock sighed. "If you say so. I'm still frightfully bad at relationships."

"You're not that bad," Lestrade said. "If you're that worried about it, you can prove to me your not tonight when I get home."

"I do like the sound of that," Sherlock said with a small smile.


Chapter 28

"Hey, John, is Sherlock home?" Lestrade asked that night, hanging his coat up on the rack.

"Back in his bedroom, I think," John replied. "I haven't really seen him much today."

"Have you had supper yet?"

John shook his head. "I've got a date tonight, so I'm not eating before that," he said.

"All right, just thought I'd offer to buy if you wanted to have something brought in," Lestrade said with an easy smile. "Enjoy your date." He headed through the kitchen and into the bedroom he was sharing with his lover. "Hey."

"Greg, welcome home," Sherlock said, not looking up from his laptop.

"What've you got there that's so interesting?"

Sherlock glanced up and kissed Lestrade softly. "Case for Mycroft," he said. "I'm not going to make a habit of this, but he did give me the cream."

"I think it's good, Sherlock," Lestrade said. He started to unbutton his work shirt. "You two have been at odds for far too long. I think it's good that you're both making an effort here."

"It's not going to last. One of us will say something and the other will take offense and we'll be right back to where we were prior to this whole mess with the demon," Sherlock sighed. He closed his laptop and focused on his lover. "Are you undressing just for me?"

"No, I was planning to change into some casual clothes, but if you want me undressed then we can discuss things a bit," Lestrade grinned.

"I'm still not sure what the boundaries of this relationship are, Greg," Sherlock said.

"Well then, that's something we should talk about," Lestrade said. He climbed onto the bed and opened his arms, smiling when Sherlock curled up against him. "Relationships are built on several foundations, Sherlock; love, trust, and mutual interests. Faith is included in there too, but I've always thought it ties neatly in with trust and love both."

Sherlock nodded. "I believe I'm experiencing everything that the textbooks call love," he said. "I've long trusted you, even if you didn't always see it."

"I figured when you insisted on working just with me, there was something going on there," Lestrade said. "I don't know that I love you yet, Sherlock, but I'm working towards it. Love isn't something that happens overnight, it grows the more time you spend together. I'm definitely more than fond of you."

"You've said you wished to take things between us slowly," Sherlock said. "I'm trying to respect that."

"I know you are," Lestrade said, kissing the top of Sherlock's head softly. "You're letting me pick everything right now, but you don't need to do that, Sherlock. Relationships should also be equal in everything."

"So if I wanted to go to the museum this Saturday for a special exhibit?"

"Then you should ask me if I'd like to go along with you," Lestrade said. "I have to work Saturday morning, but I'm free in the afternoon and would enjoy a chance to spend some time out with you."

"Really?" Sherlock looked up at his lover.

"Yes, really," Lestrade said. "We could have supper out on Saturday as well, if you like. Make it a proper date."

"I've never been on a date before," Sherlock said. "I'm not sure how to behave."

Lestrade smiled fondly. "Refrain from deducing everything about the people around us, at least in tones loud enough that they can hear you," he said. "Eat your supper slowly and we'll talk about our day. Then we can take a walk together or come back here and finish the night in bed if we both feel like it."

"Hmmm, it sounds like an interesting time," Sherlock said. "Is this what people normally do when they're in a relationship?"

"Pretty close onto it, yeah," Lestrade said. "We'll just go out and have a fun time together, Sherlock. That's the main point of a date, spending time together while having fun."

"All right, I can try to learn," Sherlock said, snuggling closer.


Chapter 29

John wasn't sure what to think. He'd been on three dates and Sherlock hadn't bothered him during any of them. It was weird, and John was worried that the detective was planning something. "Where are you off to?" he asked when Sherlock appeared out of his bedroom. "Case?"

"No, I'm meeting Greg for lunch," Sherlock replied, grabbing his coat. "Have a good afternoon, John."

With a sigh, John settled back into his chair and stared out the window. He never thought he would miss Sherlock bugging him constantly, but did. It looked like both Mycroft and Lestrade were right, John had thought he was Sherlock's only friend, had gotten used to being the focus of attention, and not that the focus had shifted, he didn't know what to do with himself. He liked Lestrade a lot and thought the two men were good for the other, even if he wasn't too sure about how their relationship came to be. John watched closely to be sure that Lestrade was never limping, worried that Sherlock might hurt the older man, but there was never any sign that Lestrade was in pain.

"Good afternoon, John."

"Bloody hell, Mycroft, do not sneak up on me like that," John gasped. "What do you want?"

"To take you on a small outing," Mycroft replied with a small smile. "There's something I would like to show you, if you are free that is. I understand you have a new girlfriend, one you quite like."

"She's different," John said. "Without Sherlock constantly barging in on the middle of my dates, it's possible I might have a long term relationship."

"Good," Mycroft said, "fetch your coat. It's a bit nippy out today."

John only just refrained from rolling his eyes as he pushed up. "Where are we going?" he asked.

"To see where the demon was summoned and then for a late lunch with a dear friend of mine," Mycroft replied. "I do realize that demons aren't something you believe in, John, but I think that you might be able to reconsider when I bring you home this afternoon."

"Where's John?" Lestrade asked when he and Sherlock got home that evening. "He didn't mention any plans to me."

"Mycroft took him on a small trip to meet a man that is an expert in demons and their summoning," Sherlock replied softly. "I'm not sure how John's going to take this new information, but he'll be home late."

Lestrade pulled Sherlock into a soft kiss. "I'm sure that John's going to look at everything with an open mind," he said.

"John's both a doctor and a soldier," Sherlock said. "It's one reason he and I get on so well is that we both believe in fact."

"That's true, you never told me how you were able to come to terms with all the talk of demons and black magic," Lestrade said.

"It was Mycroft that brought the matter to my attention," Sherlock said. He sank down on the sofa and leaned back with a small sigh. "Given that it was my brother, who has never lied to me directly, that brought the information to me, I knew I had to consider it with an open mind. I took a week and read through not only the briefing materials Mycroft provided me, but online information as well. The library has a section of books on the matter and I skimmed those as well. At the end of everything, I found that there was only one logical course to take, and that was to believe what I saw in front of me and find a solution from there."

"I guess you can turn your mind to anything with the right incentive."

Sherlock managed a smile. "I had more trouble with the sexual part of the affair," he admitted. "I've never enjoyed the touch of another, not even hugs when I was growing up. Mycroft seemed to realize that was the main problem and that's when he set me to my exercises to get ready for whoever it was we found to be my partner. Once I realized exactly what I had been missing, I was able to move forward and find full enjoyment in my own touch. Your touch brings me at least twice that pleasure though, Greg."

"That's good to hear," Lestrade said. "So you found out about this quite a while before you approached me for help. There wasn't anything else you guys could have done?"

"By the time Mycroft realized what was happening, how deeply Moriarty had his claws, it was too late for your wife, Greg," Sherlock said softly. "She'd already corrupted one case and was working on a second when Mycroft became involved. No matter how much we pretend to be, neither of us is all-seeing."

"I know, and I don't blame either of you," Lestrade said. He wrapped an arm around Sherlock and pulled him into a hug. "The only ones to blame are those that started working with Moriarty, and the man himself, of course. There's no one else to blame."

"Thank you, Greg," Sherlock said.

Lestrade grinned. "Besides, I got bloody amazing sex out of all of this," he said. "I'm enjoying you more than I have any other partner, Sherlock, and there were a few before I married."

"Maybe you've finally found what it is you need then."

"I think I have."


Chapter 30

Sherlock found John in the main part of the flat when he finally emerged from his room the next morning. Lestrade had been up and left for work, but Sherlock was tired and fell back asleep. He had a feeling that his body was still overcoming some ills from the ritual, but he wasn't about to admit that to anyone other than Mycroft. "John."

"Sherlock," John said.

"How was your day out with Mycroft?" Sherlock asked, flopping down on the sofa.

"Interesting. I've noticed your flair for the dramatic before, Sherlock, but I never thought the two of you would go so far as to set all this up just to trap Lestrade," John replied.

If it was possible to feel your heart stop, Sherlock did at that moment. "What do you mean?" he asked.

"Mycroft showed me the room where you were supposedly trapped by Moriarty," John said. "With the smoke stains on the wall and blood everywhere. I'm a doctor, Sherlock, I know what human blood looks like and that wasn't human blood on the floor of that room. The guy talking about demons, I don't know where you guys found him, but he was so obviously fake that I don't know how anyone believed him. Lestrade was pretty shocked when I told him about all of this before he left for work."

"You did what?" Sherlock asked.

"I told him what all I'd observed yesterday," John said. "Sherlock, he was happily married. There wasn't any reason for you to break that up or lie to him about all of this."

Sherlock didn't even reply. He just grabbed his coat and ran out of the flat as fast as he could.

Lestrade was at his desk working on some paperwork when the door to his officer slammed open. "Bloody hell, Sherlock, are you okay?" he asked, standing up.

"I didn't.... I didn't.... I didn't lie," Sherlock gasped.

"Oh love," Lestrade said. He went to shut the door and then pulled Sherlock into a tight hug. "I know you didn't lie to me, Sherlock. You haven't lied to me once since you came to me for help. I know that and you know that. Come on now, deep breath. Try to calm down. You're okay."

Sherlock melted against the older man, trying to breathe and get his heart to settle back down. He'd be so scared that he was going to lose Lestrade that he hadn't thought before he ran out of the flat. "I'm sorry."

"It's okay. Come on, let's sit down," Lestrade said. "Sherlock, your scars."

"I didn't have time," he said. "John told me that he told you I'd been lying to you to break up your marriage and I could only think about getting here to you. I shouldn't have doubted you, but I was so scared, Greg."

"I don't blame you, Sherlock," Lestrade said. "John did tell me all of that this morning when I was having breakfast, but you have to remember that I've actually read the files. I know more about it all than he does and I know that you and Mycroft are telling me the truth. John's jealous, and he's lashing out."

"Why is he jealous?"

"Because he had you all to himself for a long time, and now I'm there and you're spending more time with me than you are him," Lestrade said. "I know you're trying, Sherlock, you don't have to say it, but you also have to remember that jealousy is a strange emotion and can make men act so out of character it seems, well, it seems like they've been possessed. To John's mind, if he breaks us apart, he'll have you back again."

Sherlock finally looked up from Lestrade's shoulder. "Why?" he asked. "John's been happy going on dates unmolested. Why would he want to go back to the way it was before?"

"It's irrational, Sherlock," Lestrade said. "Remember that no matter what he says to me, or what he says to you, I'm going to come home to you in the evening because you are my partner and I care so deeply for you. It's so close to love, Sherlock, that I can almost say that to you and mean it. Do you want me to talk with John about this? I didn't have a chance this morning because I got a call-out."

"Could you?" Sherlock asked. "I don't know what else to do. I want my best friend back, Greg."

"I know you do, Sherlock. I know you do. It'll just take time. Do you want to stay here for the rest of the day?"

"No, I need to go home. I'll just stay in the bedroom. Mycroft might have something I can work on."

"All right. I'll see you when I get home tonight then."

Lestrade ended up pulling a late case, so he did the only thing he could think of. He called Mycroft again. The elder Holmes listened to everything Lestrade had to report and then made his way to Baker Street. "John."

"I've got a date, Mycroft," John said.

"No," Mycroft said. He grabbed John's arm and pulled him out of the flat and down to waiting car.


Chapter 31

"John, I can accept that jealousy will cause the most irrational behavior in men," Mycroft said as John was secured to a chair in the middle of an empty room. "I can accept that a change in world-view will cause a change in behavior. I can even accept that feeling slighted can lead to lashing out and attempting to cause the same pain in another that is caused in you." He turned and looked back towards John. "What I cannot and will not accept is your attempts to hurt my younger brother."

"I told Lestrade the truth, Mycroft," John said, pulling against the cuffs holding him to the chair. "He has a right to know what you and Sherlock did to him."

"He does know, John. Greg was open-minded enough, even when dealing with the sharp sting of betrayal from his wife, to read the information presented to him and to ask questions," Mycroft said. "He has since seen the other information compiled on his wife and his team, and has realized there was nothing anyone could do to save her, though I tried."

"Lestrade was happy, Mycroft."

"And he's not now? I think he's happier than I've seen him since I first made his acquaintance years ago," Mycroft said. "Greg feels deeply the betrayal of his wife, and his team, but he has spoken with a doctor about it and that has helped him see not only what happened, but what could have happened. Sherlock was not the only one healing in France, John. Do not mistake their behavior at home for lack of pain. They both still hurt deeply, but they are talking and healing together. Your actions, however, are serving only one end, John, and that is to increase that pain. Why did you think it necessary to tell Sherlock that you told Greg that he was used as a pawn in a game?"

"Because he deserves to know the truth," John said. "Will you let me go?"

Mycroft sighed and put his umbrella to the side. "John, I do understand that you feel wronged," he said. "However, your continued attempts to hurt Sherlock as you believe he hurt you in the past must end. I will not allow more harm to come to my brother. He placed himself in a deadly situation, never intending to live, selflessly willing to sacrifice himself to save the people of London. Strangers that no more know a demon came into their midst than they know the daily workings of their government."

"Again with the demon crap, Mycroft," John said. "It doesn't work like that."

"I could have one summoned here, tonight, but you would accuse me of using film or hypnosis," Mycroft said. "You are settled quite firmly in your denial, John. It makes me wonder what all you did see in the war. What other-worldly horrors might have been visited upon you?"

"I don't know what you're talking about," John said. "Don't come near me."

"Oh dear, it seems I've hit the truth at last," Mycroft said. "You have seen a demon before, John, and you know exactly what it is they're capable of. Now that I have my answer, I can help you heal. You should have been honest with me from the beginning. We all could have been saved a lot of pain, you know, if you had only trusted me to help you."

"You don't know what you're talking about," John said.

"No, I probably don't, but my friend will," Mycroft said. "Fetch him a blanket and some supper while I make a phone call. We'll soon have you sorted to rights again, John."

Lestrade looked over when Sherlock's phone rang. He paused the movie and went to get something else to drink.

"Mycroft," Sherlock said. "I see. How long? I suppose it makes sense when you stop and think about. Thanks for calling, Mycroft."

"Everything okay?" Lestrade asked.

"Mycroft has been talking with John," Sherlock replied. "It seems that one night, when John's unit was out on patrol in the desert, a demon attacked them. John's been repressing the memory since he woke up alone among the bodies of his unit and this latest case brought all the pain back to the fore of his mind. Mycroft is going to get him some help."

"That's good then. We know the source of the poison, we can get it taken care of," Lestrade said. He wrapped an arm around Sherlock. "You know what he's been through, Sherlock. When John comes home again, you'll be the best one for him to talk with."

Sherlock sighed. "What if he doesn't want to talk with me again?" he asked. "I'm a reminder that demons are real, that John was attacked by something he can't explain and doesn't believe in. What if he moves out?"

"We have to give him time and space, Sherlock," Lestrade said. "You need to finish healing up as much as John does. Don't think for a second I haven't noticed you trying to hide those twinges of pain when you roll over or go from a resting to standing position."

"You're getting better," Sherlock admitted. "I'm fine, it's just residual magic that will take time to fade."

"Luckily for you, we have the time," Lestrade said. "Come on, Sherlock, let's head for bed. I think that we both need sleep more than anything else right now. Mycroft will be in touch when he knows more."

"All right," Sherlock agreed.


Chapter 32

"Do you want to talk about it?" Lestrade asked after about an hour.

There was silence in the darkness for a moment and then Sherlock sighed. "How did I miss that John had been attacked by a demon or demonic force?" he finally asked. "I should have been able to pick up on the signs and missed every one of them."

"From the sounds of things, John was hiding this deeply, Sherlock," Lestrade said. "So deeply that not even Mycroft was able to see it. You've told me yourself that he's sharper than you, no matter how much you hate the fact, and if neither of you could see it, then no one would be able to."

"Mycroft would have been the better one to see it because he doesn't know John as I do," Sherlock said. "He wouldn't have known the small lies that John tells himself every day. I find it hard to deduce deeply about John, I have ever since we moved in here. Why do you think that is?"

"Because he's your friend."

"But we were friends and I could still deduce you."

Lestrade grinned. "Different sort of friends there, love," he said. "You and John, you hit it off faster than anyone I've ever seen before. It's like two missing pieces of a whole coming back together. No matter how much you fight, what happens between you, the pair of you are always going to have that bond and nothing is ever going to be able to break it. Not even this. John's going to need help to heal from his trauma just like you and I need the time for our own."

"How do I let him know I'm here when he wants to talk?"

"Tell him that, and then tell him that you can never talk about it again if that's what he wants," Lestrade said. "Just because John might not want to talk about his experience with a demon doesn't mean that you and I can't talk about yours back here at night. I know you're still having nightmares about what you experienced, and you shouldn't have to hide that away."

"I don't want to make John any more uncomfortable than I already have," Sherlock said. He rolled over, propped up on an elbow and looked down at Greg. "I hate that I caused him so much pain without knowing it. Why couldn't he trust me enough to tell me the truth? Why all the deception?"

"I can only guess at that," Lestrade said. "John's the only one that survived the attack, right?"

"I believe so, yes."

"There's going to be a lot of guilt there, thinking he should have died with the rest of his squad," Lestrade said. "Survivor's guilt. Anyone can feel it, Sherlock. Then you add into this that John doesn't believe in demons or the occult, and that's going to be at war with what he saw out in the desert. My best guess, and that's all this is, is that John has been fighting with reawakened nightmares from his time deployed mixed with seeing you hurt by the same sort of force that killed his friends. He didn't know how to bring everything into alignment with his beliefs, so he started lashing out to keep us away from him until he felt more secure again."

Sherlock sighed. "I wish I knew how to help him."

"Be there for him," Lestrade said. "That's the best thing you can do for him, Sherlock. Talk about every day things. Don't bring up Moriarty, your attack, your time healing; any of it. I'm not moving out, I know I said I wanted my own space, but this feels like home. I'll do my best with John, too, but ultimately, it's up to him."

"What if he fails at it?" Sherlock asked.

Lestrade reached up and cupped Sherlock's cheek gently. "Then he fails and he has to make the choice for himself what he wants to do next," he said. "Sometimes, Sherlock, being there for someone means letting them run as far away from you as possible and waiting for them to come back again. John might leave, there might be too many bad memories for him here to stay, but deep down, he'll always remember that you're his friend and you went through exactly the same thing he did. You will be the one person that will understand him when he finally feels able to talk about it."

"If he never does?"

"Give him time, love. It could take years and he might travel the world, but I think that John will come back to you," Lestrade said. "He's your best friend and that bond isn't one that's broken lightly or easily. You just have to be patient and give him time."

"Why do so many things in life require patience?" Sherlock asked. He shifted over a little and curled up with Lestrade as his pillow.

"You're the scientist, Sherlock. Do you rush a chemical reaction?"

"Of course not."

"Then why do you think you can rush life?"

"Life is a chemical reaction?" Sherlock fell silent long enough that Lestrade wondered if he'd fallen asleep. "Yes, you're right," he finally said. "Life is a chemical reaction."

"Go to sleep, Sherlock. Some of us have to work in the morning," Lestrade grumbled fondly.


Chapter 33

Sherlock was stretched out on the sofa when John walked into the flat the following afternoon. "John."

"Sherlock," John said.

"There's tea in the kitchen, milk in the fridge and Greg had sandwiches sent over in an attempt to make me eat," Sherlock said. "Help yourself."

"That's it?" John asked.

"Until you want to say more, yes," Sherlock replied. He turned his head and looked at John. "You are my first friend, John. I am still unsure of how best to be a friend to another, but I've been told that giving you space and time are both key. I am here should you want to talk and I am here should you wish never to speak of this again. I'm sorry I didn't pick up on your distress sooner, John, and I'm sorry for the pain that I inadvertently caused you."

"Okay, wait a second, what the hell happened here?" John said, sitting down in his chair. "You never apologize."

"Greg is trying to teach me how to be more human and caring," Sherlock said. "I don't understand everything he tells me, but I am trying. Is that not right?"

John sighed. "No, it's fine, Sherlock," he said. "I just wasn't expecting it. You really won't bring any of this up again if I don't want to?"

"I do not believe it healthy, but no, I will drop the subject completely," Sherlock said. "Having Greg living here won't be a bad association, will it?"

"It shouldn't, no," John said. "You two are really together then?"

Sherlock smiled. "We are. I don't know how I'm so lucky to have him as my boyfriend, but I am," he said. "Greg is special, John. Far more than I ever realized just working with him on cases."

"I'm still not sure how the hell the two of you happened," John said.

"To be honest, I wasn't either at the time," Sherlock said. "He and I agreed one time for the case I was working and that would be all. When he came to the hospital, something had changed in him, he had thought about my actions and some things I said. We talked a great deal at the family estate in France and I am lucky enough that he's willing to look past the outside to see the man I hide away. I am the first male companion he has considered, and I know it's possible this won't last, but I hope it will."

"If you quit leaving experiments in the kitchen, you might have a better chance of keeping him," John said.

"He's used to them," Sherlock said with a small smile. "I do realize that we'll all have to come to an arrangement living here together, but I think that we can."

"Sherlock, I have to ask, what about me going out on dates?" John said.

"What about it?"

"You usually interrupt and do your best to stop relationships before they start," John said. "When you came back from France, you suddenly weren't doing it and I don't know what I think about that change in behavior."

"You want me to break up your relationships?" Sherlock asked.

"No, of course I don't," John replied. "I just don't get it."

"I'm not sure I can explain it. You are my first friend and you showed such an interest in my cases that I worried you would be upset if you missed something," Sherlock said. "It was also lonely when you were gone, and that wasn't something I'd felt before. Now though, I have Greg and your most recent girlfriend is good for you. None of the others were."

John snorted. "So you were saving me," he said. "Sherlock, that has to be some of the most backwards reasoning I've ever heard in my life. You realize that I could end up moving out."

"I would hope we could remain friends and work together," Sherlock said. "I have never encountered a mind that helped my own work so well before. You are a benefit to my investigations. One last thing, John. If you ever do want to talk about what you saw, or what you've been through, tell me. As Greg points out, I know what you've been through and will be able to understand better than anyone." He glanced at his watch. "I'm due at the Yard. Greg's new team is starting today and I want to make sure they're not idiots."

"Can I come?"

"If you like," Sherlock said. "I just need to change first."


Chapter 34

"So what happened between you two?" Lestrade asked late that night, once he and Sherlock were back in their shared bedroom. "I'll admit I was surprised to see John following along behind you earlier today."

"I followed your advice," Sherlock replied. "I don't know that John believes me when I say that I'm not going to bring up demons and magic again, or that I'll not bother him when he's on a date, but I think only time will prove those."

Lestrade grinned. "I'm just glad to see the two of you together again. I was getting worried, Sherlock. I know how much your friendship with John means to you, and I worried you were going to lose that," he said. "Did Mycroft tell you anything about what he did to help John out?"

"His friend, the expert on demons that helped us with our investigations, spoke with John in depth," Sherlock said. "It wasn't easy to get answers from John, he's locked the experience away deeply, but once he admitted Mycroft was correct, that he had seen a demon and survived the attack, it was like a poison was drained from him. Mycroft believes that it was a taint from the demon, something left behind that John wasn't aware of, and the lingering traces of Moriarty's demon on me were enough to awaken the taint and that's what caused the modification in John's behavior towards me. The expert assures Mycroft that it's gone, any hold the demon had on John is no more, but John has a choice to make now. He can talk about it with someone he trusts and truly finish healing, or he can lock it away again and there will always be nightmares lurking at the edges of his mind."

"Well, we can hope he'll talk with someone then," Lestrade said. "Give him time, Sherlock. Just like any medical procedure, give John a chance to heal up and then we'll see where we stand."

Sherlock nodded. "I'm going to honor his wishes," he said. "It would be harder if I didn't have you to speak with, but I'm going to do my best to keep quiet about everything, and keep my scars covered. I do not wish John to have to see physical reminders of demons either."

"They look less pink, Sherlock," Lestrade said. He reached over and traced one that ran close to Sherlock's mouth. "I know you hope that they fade with time, and I think some of these might do just that."

"I still do not know how you can look at them and not be repulsed," Sherlock said softly.

"Hey now, I told you how I feel about them and that hasn't changed," Lestrade said. "There's no shame in covering them, Sherlock. There's no shame you should be feeling at all about any of this. I don't know many men that would willingly go into a situation where they might be killed at any minute by something no one really believes in. You saved so many lives that night, Sherlock. It doesn't matter that Mycroft, John, and I are the only ones that know about it. You did something remarkable that night and then you came back from it."

"I really did not expect to," Sherlock admitted. "When the demon appeared, Greg, I froze. I had known about it in theory, but seeing it there, in front of me, ready to kill. I couldn't move. I have never once, in my life, felt fear like that before."

"What'd it look like?" Lestrade asked.

Sherlock moved so he could curl up next to his lover. "He was tall, with horns or antlers that scraped the ceiling when he stood up straight," he said. "Darkly colored but with streaks in his skin that appeared to be fire or maybe plasma like the sun. It's his eyes that I will never forget. Yellow, cat-like, and glowing. They focused on me for a long moment and he sniffed the air several time before the first fire appeared. I think the sniffing was to check and see if I was the virgin he was promised. He was unclothed and I believe I know what his first act would have been had I still been a virgin."

"Oh, Sherlock," Lestrade said softly. "No wonder you're still having nightmares about your whole ordeal there."

"I have had Mycroft check, his expert is positive there is no link between me and the demon," Sherlock said. "I worried that he would return for me when he tired of sporting with Moriarty, but I've been assured there's no way for him to trace me. Not even through my scars, not unless every one of them is retraced with a knife and those herbs added back in."

"All the more reason to hope some of them fade out. We don't need your body to be a demon mobile," Lestrade said. He pressed a kiss to Sherlock's head. "It's a world neither of us really understand, isn't it?"

"It's one I wish to understand better. Do you mind if I go and take lessons from Mycroft's friend while you're at work and I don't have a case?"

"Long as you never try to summon a demon of your own, not at all. I know you, Sherlock, and I know how much you need to understand everything," Lestrade said. "I just don't want to risk demons running loose in the city, or hurting you."

"I have no desire to come into contact with another demon, no matter what happens," Sherlock said. "You may rest easy about that, Greg."

"All right, just making sure we're on the same page," Lestrade said. "We still on for tomorrow night?"

Sherlock nodded. "I collected the tickets today before I came to the Yard," he said. "I'm quite looking forward to it."

"So am I, love."


Chapter 36

"Hey, you're home early," John said when Lestrade showed up around three in the afternoon. "Everything okay?"

"Yeah, it's fine," Lestrade replied with a grin. "Sherlock and I have plans for tonight and he's running a little behind, so I thought I'd hop in the shower and shave now while he's out."

"Where'd he go? He wouldn't tell me."

Lestrade sighed. "It has to do with the subject we're not talking about," he said. "Sherlock's serious about not wanting to make you feel uncomfortable, John."

"I've never seen him this serious about anything," John admitted. "I guess a part of me is still expecting him to revert back when he gets bored."

"He's starting to consult for the government on a more regular basis, and he's taking some private lessons on a few things to keep him busy when he's not on a case and I'm at work," Lestrade said. "You gonna be okay here tonight while we're out?"

"Yeah, I'll probably have an early night," John said. "You two aren't going to the opera or anything like that, are you?"

"No, god no," Lestrade laughed. "It's a play that I've been wanting to see and Sherlock managed to get us tickets. It's rare there's something I want to see on stage, but this was one that linked in a little closer than usual to work, so I'm curious."

"Oh yeah, I saw that listed. Some sort of serial killer thing, isn't it?" John asked.

"That's the one. I figure that I'll be able to keep Sherlock quiet during it, although I'm sure he'll have his opinions about it," Lestrade replied. "Fortunately he was able to get us seats where he can mutter and not disturb others. I really think Mycroft probably had a hand in that, but he won't tell me if he did or not."

"Have fun then," John said. "Not my taste, no matter how much I help Sherlock out on cases."

"I know what you mean. Normally I'd stay well away from a play like this, but I saw the movie and I'm curious to see how it's going to translate over to the stage," Lestrade said. "I've got to shower, see you in a bit, John."

"That was really rather more disturbing than I thought it would be," Lestrade admitted once the play was over and the pair was heading down the street to enjoy a bit of a walk before heading back to Baker Street. "Part of it is probably that I've watched Matt Smith in Doctor Who and wasn't expecting him to be so good here."

"He is an extremely talented young man," Sherlock said. "I will admit that even with the glaring mistakes in the story, it was an enjoyable outing, Greg. Thank you for suggesting it for us."

Lestrade grinned. "Thank you for staying quiet during it," he said. "I was a bit concerned you'd deduce something loudly and we'd be kicked out."

"I'm trying not to do that when we're out together," Sherlock said. "I do know that people take offense at it, but when I'm working I find it hard to care. For something you obviously enjoy though, I don't want to ruin that for you. Is that right?"

"That's perfect, Sherlock," Lestrade said with a fond smile. "I think a lot of people would be surprised to find out you do know how to be quiet."

"Let them wonder," Sherlock said. "I quite enjoy being able to throw them with sudden deductions and leave them wondering what else I could possibly have seen. Sometimes it's enough to panic people into revealing more than they intended when they sat down to be questioned."

"Loon," Lestrade said fondly.

"Probably, but a high-functioning one," Sherlock said, lips curling a little as he tried not to smile. "Greg, I wanted to ask you a question but wasn't sure if it was okay."

"What's that?"

Sherlock took Lestrade's left hand and ran his finger along the pale skin. "This."

"Yeah, it's okay," Lestrade said. "I just realized that I was holding onto the past wearing it, that I'll always love the woman I married, even if I didn't know her by the end of it all, but I don't need to have it on. It'll take some time for the skin to tan in, but it will."

"So it wasn't anything I said or did that led to you removing it?"

"No, it was fully my decision. You were willing to let me wear it as long as I wanted, Sherlock, and I think that gave me a bit of strength to take it off," Lestrade said. "You've never once tried to tell me I was wrong to have stayed with her as long as I did, or to have wanted to fight for her before I realized the depth of her involvement. It's a topic you've been silent on, and that means a lot."

"Especially given that I don't shut up when I have a strong opinion on something I've observed?"

"I wasn't going to say it," Lestrade said.


Chapter 37

Both Sherlock and Lestrade were out when Mycroft showed up at Baker Street roughly two weeks later. "John," he said, shutting the door behind him. "I've heard that you haven't been out in several days and wanted to check and make sure that you're okay."

"Did Sherlock call you?" John asked.

"No, I have cameras outside and the agent watching them told me about it," Mycroft replied. "I'm sure that Sherlock is concerned for you, John, but he is at least attempting to allow you privacy while you heal."

John sighed. "I accidentally punched my, well, my now ex-girlfriend," he said. "I had a nightmare and she was trying to wake me up. I'd warned her not to touch me if I had a nightmare, because it's always possible I'm not going to remember where I am when I wake up, but she touched me anyway. Now she won't talk with me."

"John, you do realize that it is not your fault, correct?" Mycroft asked softly. He settled into Sherlock's chair with a sigh. "You suffered the revival of a highly traumatic experience recently and nightmares are to be expected not only in soldiers returning from battle, but for anyone with severe trauma in their past. She is okay?"

"I think so. I managed to calm her down enough to check her before she kicked me out at three in the morning," John said. "It looked like a black eye. She didn't hit her head or fall out of bed, but how can I forgive myself for that, even if I wasn't awake when it happened? I should have better control over myself."

"John, no one can exert completely control over themselves while they sleep, no matter how much they may wish to," Mycroft said. "You had cautioned her not to touch you, but her large heart over-rode your warnings. I know you blame yourself for her pain, but can you not also say that she has caused you some pain by refusing to discuss this matter with you? You're back with your counselor?"

"No, not yet. She can't work me back in until end of the week," John said with a sigh. "I just feel so horrible, Mycroft."

"Of course you do, and I would expect no less from you," Mycroft said. "Have you given any thought to talking with Sherlock about your mutual experiences? It could help ease your nightmares."

"I don't know how to bring it up," John admitted. "I can't just ask him to talk about demons, can I?"

"I don't see why not. Sherlock has been studying with my friend, the one that helped you that night, learning more about demons," Mycroft said. "I do understand how hard it is to believe in these beings, John, but I do have to say that I am now a firm believer in not only demons, but other things science cannot explain. I might not have witnessed the same thing Sherlock did, but he's told me enough about it that I feel as though I was in the room with him."

John looked up. "You and Sherlock are both firm believers in logic and science, Mycroft," he said. "I never did ask how you came to believe in these things."

"Well, my friend was a help there," Mycroft said. "There is so much farce in the world talking about demons, ghosts, and other so-called supernatural beings that it is rather hard to know where to start. Once my friend provided me with factual information, I found it a little harder to dismiss them out of hand. I have also witnessed the summoning of a much smaller demon, nowhere near the scale of what you or Sherlock were unfortunate enough to encounter. That, once I assured myself of no outside influences, made me a believer."

"I'm still not sure what I saw that night," John admitted. "I just have had it locked away for so long, Mycroft, that I don't know how to even think about it."

"I believe you should talk with Sherlock, and Greg if you can, and listen to what he has to say," Mycroft said. "Then take your turn and tell him all you saw that night. Sherlock will not judge you in this, John. He wants to help, but is honoring your wishes. Then, once you are done talking with Sherlock, return to your counselor and talk with her about the recurring nightmares. She might not believe you, but you know it is the truth. Also, I am here should you ever need someone to speak with."

"You have been around an awful lot lately," John said. "You and Sherlock are fighting less, too. I've been wondering about that."

Mycroft smiled. "Yes, well, I feel I am partially to blame for events, John," he said. "Sherlock will never tell you this, but in some ways, I am much smarter than he is. My powers of observation are stronger than his, though I lack the energy to go out and dash all over London. He always has been the active one in the family. I should have seen there was more to your distress than you were allowing us to see. So much pain could have been averted if I'd been more alert."

"I don't know if you're right about that," John said.

"Well, we're there now, and that's what matters," Mycroft said. "Think about what I've said, John. I'm positive that Sherlock will sit with you and talk. You just have to give him the chance. Also, don't give up on your girlfriend. It's possible she's thinking just as hard as you are. I know that you are not a violent man at heart, John Watson, and you're beating yourself up far more than anyone else could possibly do."

"I hit her, Mycroft. It doesn't matter if I was asleep and fighting a war in my head," John said. "I still hit her."

"John, in this, as in anything, intent should come into play," Mycroft said. "Do think about that before you condemn yourself to hell forever."


Chapter 38

"Sherlock, can we talk?" John asked the next morning. Lestrade had already gone into work, and Sherlock was stretched out on the sofa working on his computer.

"About what?" Sherlock asked in reply, glancing over at John.

"What happened to you," John said.

Sherlock paused his typing and looked at John closely. He sighed, "I wish it hadn't come to you hurting yourself before you had to ask this question," he said, sitting up. "What happened?"

"I punched my girlfriend when I was having a nightmare and she's dumped me because of it," John said. "Mycroft told me that I'm not at fault, that she should have listened to me when I said never to touch me when I'm asleep, but I can't help but believe I should have had more control."

"What if you did?" Sherlock said. He held up a hand. "John, listen before you get angry with me. You were locked in a nightmare of your time in the war. I do not know if it was before your trauma with the demonic or after, but do you recall the nightmare in detail?"

John shook his head. "Not really, no," he said. "I rarely do when I wake up from them, which I've always thought was a blessing. It's hard to watch good people die and have to remember that when you're awake and asleep."

"So, if you do not remember your nightmare that night, how do you know that she didn't touch you at the exact same moment someone within your mind touched you?" Sherlock asked. "It is possible you believed that touch to be an enemy and reacted to that. I am not saying that you intentionally punched your girlfriend, because you would never do anything of the kind, but what if you intentionally punched an enemy that your girlfriend was unaware she mimicked?"

"I never thought of it that way," John said. "I've given up trying to talk with her. She won't take my calls and had the police bring over an order to stay away from her flat and workplace."

"I'm sorry for that, John," Sherlock said. "I truly thought she would be the one you asked to marry because you were well-suited for each other. Would you like Greg or me to try and talk to her for you?"

"No, it's fine. She has a right to make her own decisions," John said.

Sherlock bit his lip, but finally nodded. "Then I will drop the matter until you want to talk about it again, but know that you are not at fault for your actions that night, John," he said. "Battling with our minds is one of the hardest things we do, and you had taken the precaution of telling her never to touch you. She made the decision to ignore what you told her, and this is the end result. Greg tells me that life is a chemical reaction, but I don't think I'll ever understand it as I do Chemistry."

John couldn't help himself, he started laughing. "If I ever had any doubts that Lestrade is good for you, they're gone now," he managed. "That's one of the craziest things I've ever heard in my life."

"I believe he was telling me to be patient when he made the comparison, but I can see it extending over to other things as well," Sherlock said. "I am glad to see you smile again, John. I was getting worried about you, though I didn't know how to ask you about it."

"Mycroft helped, believe it or not," John said. "I know you consider him an enemy, Sherlock, but I'm actually enjoying having him around the place more."

"Mycroft and I are slowly coming to an understanding," Sherlock said. "I do not know if we will ever be as we once were, but maybe this is better. We can learn about each other as adults rather than the children we were. Do you still want to talk about the night Moriarty died, John?"

"Not all of it, just, were you scared?"

"Terrified," Sherlock said. "I didn't know if I was to be raped or killed; or both. Or neither. There was no way to know if my preparations for that night had worked. If the demon would ignore me and turn upon the one that summoned him falsely. Once the fire died out, and Moriarty and the demon both were gone, I almost passed out in relief. I was bloody and hurting, but I was alive. The demon was gone, never to return to hurt a human, and Moriarty was no more."

"Then I showed up and started lecturing you," John said. "I'm sorry for all of that, Sherlock. I was a git, and I shouldn't have been."

"You had your reasons, and I've already forgotten about it, John. You're still here and you're still talking to me," Sherlock said. "I half expected you to leave while I was in France, or right after I came home. I had no way to know what you were thinking, and Greg could only tell me to be patient."

"You're never patient," John pointed out. "That demon could show up again, couldn't it?"

Sherlock nodded. "It could, should another mad human take it into their mind to summon him," he said. "There is always a risk from the demonic, no matter how much we battle back against evil in our lives, John. However, there is this about it. The demon Moriarty made the contract with is one of the highest ranked demons in Hell. To summon him will cause enough ripples that those that study demons will be aware of the summoning, and can prepare to battle back."

"Is that going to include you and Greg?" John asked.

"No. Because I've been marked as I am, and the same holds for you with your own experience, we cannot be allowed to battle back against the demons that marked us," Sherlock replied. "We can all help out in other ways, but we will never be allowed onto the front lines of battle."

"I don't know if I should be relieved about that, but I think I am," John said. "I'd be happy to forget about it forever, to be honest."

"I think your best way to forget is to actually embrace and accept what happened to you," Sherlock said. "Acknowledge it and then you will be able to move on. It's possible that this will even help your nightmares, in the end."

"I don't know if anything can do that. There's a lot of bad stuff mixed up in my mind."

"It would be a start," Sherlock said.

John nodded with a small smile. "Yeah, it would. I think that's one reason therapy has never worked for me," he said. "I don't like to talk about the bad stuff I've seen. I'm going to try and do better this time around."

"You'll let me know if there's anything I can do to help out, right?"

"Yeah, I will. Thanks, Sherlock. I actually feel a little better," John said. "Hungry?"

"I could eat," Sherlock said. "Do you want to go out? I don't think there's much in the kitchen."

"That's your fault, you know."

"Of course it is. Five minutes okay?"

John knew Sherlock wanted to cover up his scars before they went out. "That's fine. I'll go grab a jacket," he said. "Meet you back here when you're ready."


Chapter 39

"How was your day, love?" Lestrade asked when he and Sherlock were in their room for the night. "Were you able to make any headway on the case you've been working for Mycroft?"

"A little, but not nearly as much as I'd thought this morning," Sherlock replied from the bed. He stretched and rolled to his side to watch Greg finish undressing. "John asked me if we could talk about the night I confronted the demon. We talked and then went out to lunch. To try and take his mind off his troubles, I walked with him through the park after we finished eating and quietly deduced every person we saw."

"How'd he take it?" Lestrade asked, sliding into bed with his partner. "You know he doesn't like you deducing everyone."

Sherlock grinned. "Because I was so careful to allow no one but him to overhear me, he took it in stride, and even seemed to be in better spirits when we arrived home," he said. "John is blaming himself for hurting his ex, even though she was the one that made the mistake."

"I don't know if you can call having a big heart and worrying about the person you care for a mistake there, Sherlock."

"Not that, idiot; I'm talking about sealing him out of her life so completely before he had a chance to talk with her," Sherlock said. "John would rather kill himself than hurt someone he cares for, and this is eating at him badly."

"She's probably scared that he'll hit her again and you can't blame her for protecting herself there, Sherlock. You and I both know that John would never hit a woman, but the fact that he did when in the grip of a nightmare shows there's a part of him that needs to be bled out," Lestrade said. "When's he back with his therapist?"

"End of the week, I think."

"John works hard with her this time, then he'll be able to go back to dating without worrying about hitting anyone in his sleep again," Lestrade said. "Nightmares are tricky things, you and I both know this, and not everyone is able to deal with them in someone they love."

"Is this part of the human mind that I don't understand, Greg?"

"Probably, but you can learn easily enough," Lestrade said. He pulled Sherlock in against him, knowing the younger man slept better cuddled up under the blankets. "You just have to be willing to ask the questions, Sherlock. I've got a couple of friends that were in the military and came home with bad nightmares, sort of like John. Their wives left them because of it. It's not fair, and it makes me want to hunt the women down and demand how they can just walk out on their loved ones because of nightmares, but I know that I don't know every single thing they're seeing."

"Why are humans so hard to understand, Greg?"

"I have no idea," Lestrade said with a sigh. "I think if they weren't though, you and I would be out of jobs. We wouldn't need the military or the police because everyone would be either good or bad and crime would be simple and clear-cut."

"Sounds frightfully boring," Sherlock said, shifting to rest his head on Lestrade's chest. "John's asked to learn more about demons. Do you think that's a good idea?"

"It would be a way for him to conquer his fear of what he saw in the desert that night," Lestrade said, rubbing Sherlock's back. "I think your teacher will keep a close eye on him and won't let him get lost in the darkness."

Sherlock hummed in agreement. "It would seem that things are settling down to normal again, Greg," he said. "Are you happy?"

"If you'd told me, back before all this happened, that I'd fall in love with another man, especially one that drove me crazy on a daily basis with his bad behavior at crime scenes or in the Yard," Lestrade said, "then I would have said you were insane. Well, more insane than normal, anyway. But I am happier than I can ever remember being in my life, and that includes my wedding night."

"Aren't wedding nights supposed to be the happiest day of a person's life?"

"That's the rumor," Lestrade said. "I think part of it is that people are supposed to have not slept together before the wedding night, so they were having their first sexual experience that night."

Sherlock snorted. "Given human nature, even with chaperones, I can guarantee that those people were not having their first sexual experience," he said.

"You don't have a true romantic bone in your body, do you?"

"Not if that's what qualifies as romance, no," Sherlock said. "I'm glad you took the chance with me, Greg. I can't imagine anyone else accepting me with my scars."

"Then they wouldn't be worthy of you, love," Lestrade said. "Those scars are a mark of honor and if people can't see them that way, then that's their problem. You did something so selfless to save so many people, and you did it because you're a good person, not because you wanted rewards from the people you were saving. Have any of us told you thank you for what you did that night?"

"You don't need to," Sherlock said. "You, being here, tells me everything I need to know."

Lestrade kissed the top of Sherlock's head. "See if you can turn that brain off for a few hours, Sherlock," he said. "Some of us have to be at work in the morning."

"Good night, Greg," Sherlock said, wrapping an arm around his lover's waist.