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Title: Everything You Know I Haven't Got, Part 1
Author: Morgan Stuart
Fandom: Sherlock
Disclaimer: This universe does not belong to me; I'm just an appreciative visitor. I make no profit from this fan work.
Description: When the media declares open season on Greg Lestrade, the hunt begins.
Historian's Note: This takes place during the Great Hiatus.
Warnings (Highlight to Read): Assumed character death and, in later segments, depictions of violence, torture, attempted murder, injuries, and mention of PTSD-related disorientation and nightmares

The man had made himself all but invisible in the far corner, sitting with his back to the other patrons and his shoulder to the wall. Anyone who surveyed the establishment from its entrance or bar would assume that the booth was unoccupied.

Despite the barrier of furniture between them, Mycroft Holmes could see the man clearly in his mind's eye, forearms braced against the polished table, hands curled around his glass, head bowed.

Not exactly in the spirit of the venue, to be fair. This wasn't some dank, dark pub, but rather an upscale bar newly renovated in an attempt to bring a bewildering clash of colours and styles together into a cheerful chorus of "fusion."

Then again, the painfully overwrought brightness of the setting meant it was an unlikely place for this man to be, and that in itself made it a shrewd choice of destination.

The aging bartender exuded a quiet competence at odds with the self-conscious trendiness of his surroundings. Mycroft could tell he was the sort who was equally adept at offering a sympathetic ear or minding his own business, depending on the mood of the customer. He proved doubly amenable once he discovered that Mycroft was a man of especially refined (that is, expensive) taste.

Mycroft read the bartender's life story and personal character in the cut of his shirt, the faded scar above his left eyebrow, the brush of his blunt fingertips against the aged bottle. The elder Holmes adjusted his approach accordingly.

"Haven't seen you round here before, mate," the bartender offered noncommittally as he poured Mycroft's brandy.

"No." Mycroft held the man's gaze and nodded in the direction of the booth in the back. "And you haven't seen him at all."

Mycroft maintained a smile – somewhat more pleasant than daunting, he knew the shades of meaning well – as he watched for understanding and then agreement to dawn in the bartender's expression.

"Right you are, sir," the bartender said after a beat. He accepted the offered cash without glancing at the bill's denomination and then turned away without another word.

Satisfied, Mycroft nodded, took up the snifter, and made his way to the lone figure in the corner.

For a moment Mycroft stood beside the booth.

The man didn't respond.

Then his hands released his glass and clenched to fists on the tabletop, and he straightened as if readying to push himself to his feet, to fight or flee as needed. At last he turned his head, and his eyes grew wide, and his breath left him in a great huff.

"Bloody hell."

"Good evening to you, too" – Mycroft caught himself before he could say "Detective Inspector."

"Bloody hell," Lestrade repeated, sagging back, deflating. "Mycroft."

"May I?"

"Yeah." Relief was written in every line of his body, but the way Lestrade sighed the word made it sound like defeat. He waved Mycroft to the opposite seat. "Go on, then."

As Mycroft settled himself, his brandy, and his omnipresent umbrella, Lestrade added, "Not the wisest thing, though, being seen with me. You should realise that."

Mycroft brushed imaginary lint from his sleeve. "If all goes well, neither of us will be noticed." He observed Lestrade from the corner of his eye. "I've followed the reports in the press. They've been…"

"Brutal? Yeah." Lestrade shook with mirthless laughter as he revolved his glass in a series of ninety-degree turns between his fingers. "On the bright side, at least the bastards aren't dogging John Watson's every step these days."

"I expect the attention explains your new 'look.'"

Lestrade smoothed a hand over the silver-streaked hair along his jaw and gave a diffident shrug. "If it puts even one journalist or photographer off my trail, I reckon it's worth it."

The beard suited him, but Mycroft didn't say so.

"About the suspension, the hearing" – this was harder than Mycroft expected, as he had little practice with such an admission – "there was nothing I could do."

Lestrade glanced up at that, and genuine surprise creased his brow. "Never asked you, did I?"

"You did not," Mycroft confirmed.

"We both know if the inquiry's legit, they'll find in my favour. Sherlock was the real thing, and every deduction he made was backed up with old-fashioned police work by me and my team. I did my due diligence. Couldn't have secured convictions otherwise. Any honest investigation will confirm it."

The words came in a rush. Rehearsed. Repeated, obviously, if only to himself.

For several heartbeats, blue eyes held brown. "And you think it will be an honest investigation," Mycroft said.

Lestrade looked away first. Very deliberately, he raised his pint and took several long swallows. Once he'd replaced the glass on its coaster, he murmured, "'Course not."

Mycroft nodded and readied the mental script he'd prepared.

But Lestrade surprised him.

"How are you, Mycroft? Really?"

And how was he meant to answer that? He still lived in his familiar home; he still held his accustomed position. He still possessed a full staff dedicated to his support and safety, bound to him by esteem and loyalty. Lestrade could claim none of these things.

"Yeah, thought so," Lestrade said, very softly. "I miss him, too. God, I'm so sorry."

Mycroft blinked, at a loss.

After another healthy pull on his pint, Lestrade said, "Why're you here? Somehow I doubt this is one of your regular haunts. Sure as hell isn't mine."

"I was going to ask you the same question." Mycroft shepherded the conversation back toward the path he'd originally charted. "A man in your line of work accumulates enemies, Greg. And the media coverage of your suspension has announced in no uncertain terms that you're now alone, without defence or backup—"

"—and that the higher-ups at the Yard wouldn't exactly call out the cavalry if one morning I turned up missing. In fact, they'd probably be relieved." Lestrade grimaced. "I can read between the lines, y'know."

Mycroft crossed his arms. "And yet you're here, in the open, on your own."

Lestrade returned his gaze with frankness. Sleeplessness and stress and no little grief had etched new lines on his face and framed his eyes in shadows. "Am I supposed to respond to that, or just sit here like a good lad while you deduce everything you want to know?"

Before Mycroft could reply, Lestrade said, "No, don't answer. I'm here because if I'd spent another minute in that empty flat I might've crawled into a bottle and never climbed out. At least if I have a pint or two in public, I know I'll stop."

With his chin Lestrade indicated the night that lurked beyond the bar's front windows. "Wouldn't do to meet the monsters in the dark when I'm off my face. Self-preservation and all that."

He took a measured breath and managed to appear both embarrassed and defiant as he traced the grain in the wooden armrest with a finger. Mycroft let the silence spill out between them until Lestrade spoke again.

"I'm staring down fifty with no marriage and no home to speak of. All I have left is twenty-six-plus years on the force, and the bureaucrats want me to walk away from that for their convenience."

He shook his head, a man of few words unused to confession.

"I can't do it, Mycroft."

Lestrade forced himself onward with a kind of grim determination, seemingly content for Mycroft to serve as silent witness to this rare unburdening.

"I won't. Not if they demote me to constable or worse. It's all I've got, and I'll not apologise for doing my job, and I'll not make it easy for them to throw me away like yesterday's rubbish because I believed – still believe – in a man who helped me stop murderers."

After a beat, Lestrade looked up. With a rueful sigh, he added, "And it would be a hell of a lot easier to salvage whatever dignity I have left if you weren't staring at me like I'm something oozy in a slide under a microscope."

As forthrightness met finesse headlong, any awkwardness between them was familiar enough to be almost comforting.

"I came here" – Mycroft cleared his throat, off-balance for reasons he couldn't quite name – "to tell you that you have an alternative. There's a place for you. On my staff."

Lestrade actually laughed, a throaty, incredulous sound. "Doing what, pray tell? Washing your windows? Shining your shoes?" He ran a palm over his mouth, pausing to scratch at his new beard before waving a hand to dismiss the notion. "You forget I've seen your people, Mycroft. They're half my age with twice my education."

"And only a small fraction of your experience," Mycroft countered. "And none of why I trusted you with my brother in the first place."

At Lestrade's raised eyebrow, Mycroft added, "Surely you recall the warehouse. What was it? Almost seven years ago."

"Bit of a blur, really. I remember thinking you were going to have me shot. I remember trying not to piss myself." Lestrade's features gentled into a fond expression at odds with his words. "And I remember telling you where you could shove your money and your spy games."

"Ah, I was thinking of that last part, yes."

Lestrade leaned forward and began to reach out, but he halted before he touched Mycroft's sleeve. He'd not consumed nearly enough alcohol in the long or short term, Mycroft thought, to make his eyes quite as bloodshot as they were.

"Throughout our years of" – Lestrade gestured vaguely between them – "cooperation, I've done what you asked because I chose to. I could honestly say, 'You're not the boss of me.'" He offered a brief, crooked grin. "Can't give that up now, can I?"

Mycroft scowled at the stubbornness of the man, even as an answering smile tugged at his lips.

The moment passed.

"Anyway, could be a moot point." Lestrade drew back and refitted his fingers to his glass. "I may be prosecuted, when all's said and done."

And if prosecuted, then possibly convicted.

Neither man noted that incarceration for a career policeman would be a death sentence – or worse. That was understood.

"It won't come to that," Mycroft said. "The Met fervently desire less publicity on this matter, not more."

Lestrade nodded.

Mycroft finished his brandy without tasting it at all.

The bar's mood music presented as much of a relentless assault on the senses as its décor.

At last Lestrade said gruffly, "Ta for the offer, but I'm not your mess to clean up. Made my own bed, didn't I? Now to lie in it."

Mycroft drew a breath to protest, but Lestrade cut him off with a quiet, "Please, don't."

After a swallow that nearly drained his glass, Lestrade rose – no trace of unsteadiness there – and ducked his head. "This was good of you, Mycroft. Very good. I won't forget it. Whatever happens."

He left without looking back, drawing his coat around his body like makeshift armour, hunching into the scant anonymity it promised.

Raising a hand in a final salute.

Six days later, Mycroft's surveillance team reported that Greg Lestrade was nowhere to be found.


Read Part 2


( 43 comments — Leave a comment )
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(Deleted comment)
Dec. 26th, 2012 08:20 pm (UTC)
Okay, you just totally made my day. :D

I promise it will be finished and the rest will be posted soon. I have the full draft completed, and I'm just touching up the revisions now.

Thank you so much for being interested. You're the best! *hugs*
Dec. 26th, 2012 04:40 pm (UTC)
Oh shit, Shan Yu's at it again.

Dec. 26th, 2012 08:21 pm (UTC)
Awww! ROFLOL! *hugs you and squeezes you tightly*
Dec. 26th, 2012 05:04 pm (UTC)
Consider me hooked, I shall be eagerly awaiting the next part.
Dec. 26th, 2012 08:23 pm (UTC)
Oh, thank you so much for this! It means a lot to hear that you care what happens now. I really appreciate your encouragement! The next part will be up very soon, I promise.

Your icon has officially made my day.
Dec. 26th, 2012 06:45 pm (UTC)
It is great to see you writing again and this is just a wonderful story. It is an original set-up (not easy at this point in the fandom) and full of beautifully spare detail. I'm really looking forward to seeing where you go with it.
Dec. 29th, 2012 10:56 am (UTC)
Oh, thank you so much for this encouragement! I truly appreciate it. I'm especially thrilled that the set-up seems original and the writing strikes the right note. I'll have more up very, very soon. Thanks again for your kind words, my friend.
Dec. 26th, 2012 08:04 pm (UTC)
I've peeked ahead but just want to add my praise here for such a gripping story! The cliffhanger ending here! Yikes! (And I have another theory about the "reason" for his new look - ha ha.)
Dec. 29th, 2012 10:58 am (UTC)
Oh, thank you so much, m'dear! It's been ages, and wow, I've missed doing this. This version is substantially rewritten (and, I hope, improved) from what you read, so I hope you like it. More will be up soon. Your support and encouragement mean the world to me.

(And I have another theory about the "reason" for his new look - ha ha.)

::blinks innocently:: I'm sure I have no idea what you mean. Bwahahahaaa! :P
Dec. 26th, 2012 08:45 pm (UTC)
You are so perfect. How are you so perfect? Lestrade's quiet bravery here is amazing. I adore his reaction to Mycroft's offer, and his ability to throw Mycroft off his script. "How are you Mycroft, really?" Of COURSE Lestrade is concerned about Mycroft, who just lost his brother. God, my heart just aches for him, especially when he said he was drinking in public because he knew he'd stop. He's so damn strong, and when I think how little he recognizes that in himself... *wibble* This line encapsulates the two of them quite well:

As forthrightness met finesse headlong, any awkwardness between them was familiar enough to be almost comforting.

I could read your version of these two characters for days and days. I'm eagerly awaiting the next part!

P.S. Thank you for the v-gift!
Dec. 29th, 2012 11:03 am (UTC)
Oh, my friend, you have no idea how grateful I am for this. No idea at all. THANK YOU! It means so much to hear that these characterizations work for you (you, who write them both so beautifully!), and that Lestrade's strength and bravery and obliviousness to both come through, as well as his ability to surprise Mycroft.

I'm especially thrilled that "forthrightness met finesse" line struck the right note!

More will be up very, very soon. Thanks again for your lovely words of encouragement.

Thank you for being awesome!
Dec. 26th, 2012 08:59 pm (UTC)
Ohhh, Lestrade is so awesome. I really really want him to take Mycroft up on his offer, but I don't blame him for refusing. ♥
Dec. 29th, 2012 11:05 am (UTC)
I love Lestrade so much! I agree with you, that I'd love to see him working for Mycroft (and, more to the point, under Mycroft's protection), but I don't blame him for refusing, either. ;)

Thanks a million for reading and for your kind feedback. More is on the way shortly!
Dec. 27th, 2012 08:18 am (UTC)
What a promising start. Can't wait to see the rest of it.
Dec. 29th, 2012 11:06 am (UTC)
Oh, thank you so much! I'm delighted that you like it so far. More will be up very, very soon, I promise!
Dec. 27th, 2012 11:56 am (UTC)
Oh wonderfully done, it's a fantastic take on what happens "after" - can't wait to see where it goes. lovely, thank you...
Dec. 29th, 2012 11:09 am (UTC)
Oh, thank you! I'm thrilled that you're enjoying it so far. More will be up very, very soon, I promise!
Dec. 27th, 2012 03:21 pm (UTC)
I really like your description of Lestrade and his understanding of the way things are going; how he realises that he won't be treated fairly and how the powers-that-be at the Met would prefer it if he were to conveniently disappear; and how very alone he is.
Dec. 29th, 2012 11:12 am (UTC)
Thank you so much for this! It's really good to hear that this comes through, especially how alone Lestrade thinks he is. Moriarty's evil machinations are the gift that keeps on giving, and I can only imagine how dire the fallout might be for Lestrade. And I love him so much, I have to make sure he's not as alone as it seems. ;) I'm so grateful to you for reading and commenting. Many thanks!
Dec. 27th, 2012 04:25 pm (UTC)
Oh, the roughness of this survivalist Lestrade. I want my Lestrade. I see you are going to hurt him. *weeps* He's strong. He'll make it.
Dec. 29th, 2012 11:13 am (UTC)
Augh! It hurts me, how isolated he must feel after the fallout from all of Moriarty's plans. But he is strong, most definitely - and, I like to think, not as alone as he believes.

Thank you so much for reading and commenting. It means a lot to me!
Dec. 27th, 2012 05:16 pm (UTC)
I've been waiting almost a year for a story like this one. Lestrade's involvement in the whole "scandal" is serious. I don't know how "Sherlock's" writers will resolve the whole situation but in the real world he would face serious consequences and dire disciplinary actions for his involvement. He would carry the stigma of the official scapegoat. He would be the perfect target for the press, and we know that the press has the ultimate power over the life or death of a person's reputation.

You always write subtle scenes that trigger the most beautiful and detailed images in my mind along with the most perfect angst and hurt. Not to mention that breaking and mending Lestrade is my favourite reading.

This story has the right portion of bitterness, hopelessness and poignancy. The whole situation is even more ironic, from the reader's point of view, since we all know that Sherlock is alive and that he'll be back. Not everybody gets a seconds chance. Believe me I know. I identified my brother's dead body a little over ten months ago.

The last sentence left me breathless, teary eyed and biting my nails frantically. I want to thank you and tell you that I will be waiting (im)patiently for more.

P.S. English isn't my mother tongue. If it's all Greek to you, it's probably because I'm Greek.
Dec. 29th, 2012 11:25 am (UTC)
I can't thank you enough for your lovely feedback. I've read and reread your kind words, and they just thrill my heart!

I agree wholeheartedly with everything you say about how the fallout from the scandal will be - or at least should be, for the sake of realism - serious for Lestrade. It breaks my heart for him, to be honest, because it's his life's work on the line.

Thank you for your generous comments about my writing. It means a lot to me that my scenes come across as subtle and meaningful, and that the balance between bitterness, hopelessness, and poignancy here strikes the right note. I'm also very happy to hear that this scenario works at yet another level, too, because we know what Lestrade doesn't: Sherlock is alive.

It's fantastic to hear that the last line packed the proper punch. More will be up very, very soon, I promise!

Thank you again for your wonderful encouragement. It's truly appreciated.
Dec. 27th, 2012 08:54 pm (UTC)
What an excellent first chapter. I love their talk so much, even with all the problems Greg still ask about Mycroft.

"I came here" – Mycroft cleared his throat, off-balance for reasons he couldn't quite name – "to tell you that you have an alternative. There's a place for you. On my staff."

You know, this is my dream AU, Greg working for Mycroft, of course Greg would never do it because I don't think he'd like "spy games" but I love that little glimpse of what if. I love even more his reason for saying no.

Lestrade actually laughed, a throaty, incredulous sound. "Doing what, pray tell? Washing your windows? Shining your shoes?" He ran a palm over his mouth, pausing to scratch at his new beard before waving a hand to dismiss the notion. "You forget I've seen your people, Mycroft. They're half my age with twice my education."

How I love Lestrade. He truly thinks he's just an old copper, nothing special and now I'm terrified of what you will do to him :)

Edited at 2012-12-28 12:55 am (UTC)
Dec. 29th, 2012 11:29 am (UTC)
Oh, thank you so much for this! It's fantastic to know what in particular worked for you. I'm delighted that you like it so far.

How I love Lestrade. He truly thinks he's just an old copper, nothing special

I'm so pleased this came through! Thank you. I love him, too, and his reasons for turning down Mycroft's offer (although I agree that it would be all kinds of fun to see them working together).

and now I'm terrified of what you will do to him :)

Ack! :) And, um... I'm sorry!

More will be up very, very soon, I promise! Thanks again for reading and commenting. I appreciate it so much!
Dec. 28th, 2012 01:03 am (UTC)
Wow - was not expecting that ending. Very well done - Lestrade in particular. His voice seemed spot on to me. Love Mycroft's cluelessness :D
Dec. 29th, 2012 11:15 am (UTC)
Oh, thank you so much! I'm delighted that the ending came as a surprise, and that Lestrade's voice in particular struck the right note. I really appreciate your encouraging words.

More will be up very, very soon, I promise!
Dec. 28th, 2012 01:47 am (UTC)
Wonderful :)
Dec. 29th, 2012 11:07 am (UTC)
Oh, thank you so much! I really appreciate your reading and commenting.
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