Fandom: BBC Sherlock
Disclaimer: These characters are not mine.
Summary: “It's a literary reference, you ignorant sod,” Lestrade says. “Oscar Wilde. The Picture of Dorian Gray. No, don't tell me. You deleted it.”
In which Sherlock discovers an old photograph and Lestrade discovers something more unexpected.
A/N: written for bwblack's lovely prompt for Fall Back Into Sherlock at the sherlockmas comm on LiveJournal, though too late to be included in the fest. The prompt was "Lestrade/Any: 'No Spring nor Summer Beauty hath such grace
As I have seen in one Autumnal face.'" Many thanks to blooms84 for beta encouragement.
For Else He Is Nowhere
The photograph must be thirty years old, if not more. Lestrade's in his cricket whites, lounging on the edge of the pitch and looking up at the camera. He's wearing that expression Denny, the cricket club captain, called “your Shut Up And Fuck Me look”. He doesn't think Denny took this, though he can't remember now who did.
Forgotten he still had this. Trust bloody Sherlock to turn it up, poking around in things that aren't any of his sodding business as usual. If he weren't such a brilliant shag –
Don't kid yourself, Lestrade. You'd still want the bastard even if he was a lot less good in bed. Still need him, too.
Lestrade sighs. “I wish you wouldn't keep going through my stuff, you nosy git.”
Sherlock pays no attention. Typical.
“Pretty, weren't you?” he says.
“Yeah, well,” Lestrade says, wincing. “Sadly I don't have a portrait in the attic.”
“You're babbling again, Lestrade,” Sherlock says. “You don't even have an attic.”
This is true: Lestrade has a first-floor flat. But really not the point.
“It's a literary reference, you ignorant sod,” Lestrade says. “Oscar Wilde. The Picture of Dorian Gray. No, don't tell me. You deleted it.”
Sherlock shrugs. “So?”
“So Dorian Gray is a beautiful young man who never looks any older. But he has a portrait of himself in the attic that gets old and ugly and shows all of his sins.”
“Boring,” Sherlock says.
“How would you know?” Lestrade says. “Since you've probably never even read it.”
“The idea is boring,” Sherlock says tetchily. “Why would you want a portrait like that?”
It's all very well for Sherlock. He looks much the same as when Lestrade first met him. Less mad, obviously, because of not being off his face on drugs any more, and a bit less skinny, for the same reason. But still, if anyone's got a portrait in the attic, it's probably him.
Whereas Lestrade knows he looks his bloody age. The last five years of it in particular.
“Proud of your handiwork, are you?” he says. “Most of this”– he gestures at his grey hair – “is your fault, you know.”
Sherlock smirks and says “That's idle speculation and profoundly unscientific.”
“Oh yeah?” Lestrade says. “Well I know who I'm blaming for it – oh for crying out loud, Sherlock, do you have to look so bloody smug?”
Sherlock's look changes from smug to puzzled; then to sceptical. “You don't really mean you'd rather look like that?” He waves a hand languidly at the photograph.
Lestrade looks at the photograph and then at Sherlock again.
“Of course I'd rather look like that, you pillock,” he says.
Lestrade stares at him. “Why?”
“Yes, that's what I said, are you going deaf now as well as stupid?”
“Fuck off, Sherlock. If I want a conversation consisting entirely of insults I can ring Dimmock.”
“You exaggerate,” Sherlock complains.
“And you are being stupid if you think you looked better like that,” he adds.
Lestrade can't quite get his head round this. Sounds as if Sherlock is saying something nice, though in a characteristically rude Sherlockish way. Obviously this can't really be happening.
“Sherlock, I know what I look like now.”
And he does, despite his best attempts to dodge the mirror in the mornings. Grey hair that once was dark; lines around the eyes and the mouth; heavier in the face and thicker around the waist. Bit of a paunch if he doesn't watch what he eats and drinks. Going a bit soft round the edges, all told.
It's on the tip of his tongue to say something sarcastic like Didn't know you had a fetish for wrinkles. But the look on Sherlock's face stops him in his tracks.
It's – well, soft is the word that comes to mind.
If there's one thing he knows about Sherlock, it's that he doesn't do soft.
One thing he thought he knew about Sherlock.
“Oh well,” he says. “No accounting for tastes. D'you want to go to bed?”
Sherlock nods. He looks – shy, almost. Tentative and a bit vulnerable.
Just when you think nothing he does could surprise you any more –
“Come on, then,” Lestrade says gruffly, pulling him up off the sofa. “Last one to get undressed has to sleep in the wet patch.”
Which is nonsense: they both know who'll be sleeping in the wet patch and it won't be Sherlock. It never is.
Sherlock can be loud in bed. To put it mildly. (“Christ, Sherlock, are you going for the Guinness Book of Records or something?” Lestrade had asked after one particularly memorable session. “Because I don't think they have a category for that.”)
But this is one of the other times, where there's no sound from Sherlock but his ragged breathing and a soft surprised “Oh!” as he comes.
Afterwards, they lie there, Sherlock's dark curls tickling Lestrade's chin as he strokes Sherlock's back. Sherlock mutters something against his chest that Lestrade doesn't quite catch.
“Mm?” Lestrade says drowsily.
“I said, I like you like this,” Sherlock says.
Lestrade thinks about saying Yes, I'd worked that out, you prat, but it seems a bit ungrateful. He decides it's probably best to say nothing.
Moments like this with Sherlock don't come often, and when they do...
He feels like he's watching some strange animal step into a clearing in the forest (been watching too much David Attenborough again, his mind jeers). It's not Sherlock, though god knows there are times Lestrade thinks he's barely human. More, it's the sense of the moment itself as some sort of shy wild creature. So he lies quiet and still for as long as he can, not wanting to make any sudden moves or sounds to frighten this untamed thing away.
Donne's poem, "The Autumnal", from which the prompt and the fic title are both taken, is here.
additional inspiration was provided by julie_izumi's icon of Rupert Graves as Scudder.
Also posted at http://fengirl88.dreamwidth.org/55923.html with comments.