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fic: Any Just Cause

Title: Any Just Cause
Author: fengirl88
Fandom: BBC Sherlock
Pairing: John/Lestrade, Sherlock/John, Harry/Sarah
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: none
Wordcount: 1591
Disclaimer: These characters are not mine.
Summary: He wonders again what Harry Watson thought she was doing, asking John to be one of the official witnesses tomorrow when she gets married, civil-partnershipped, whatever you call it. To Sarah Sawyer.
A/N: This story is for impishtubist and was inspired by our conversation about Mary Renault's The Charioteer; it draws on some elements of that novel. It's not part of the Bad Language John/Lestrade series, but follows on from the events of Water.

Thanks to blooms84 and ginbitch for beta wisdom and encouragement, as always.

Any Just Cause

The call comes just as Lestrade's finally about to turn in for the night. If it weren't for caller display, he's not sure he'd recognize the voice as John's.

“How's it going?” Bloody stupid question, Lestrade, how do you think it's going?

“Oh, you know,” John says.

He does. Times like this, he's grateful to be an only child. He wonders again what the fuck Harry Watson thought she was doing, asking John to be one of the official witnesses tomorrow when she gets married, civil-partnershipped, whatever you call it. To Sarah Sawyer.

No, scrub that, it's obvious what Harry thinks she's doing. Rubbing John's nose in it. What's really baffling is why John said yes. Still thinks it's all his fault Harry and Sarah got together in the first place, but even that doesn't explain it. Man must be a masochist.

“Harry still sober then?” Lestrade asks tentatively.

There's a longish silence, say about five years, and then John says bleakly “I think so.”


“Sherlock behaving himself?” Lestrade says. Clutching at straws now. As if.

“He took off,” John says. “He and Harry had a row, and he said he didn't see what any of this had to do with him anyway. I don't know where he's gone.”

Lestrade briefly considers banging his head against the wall. Thinks how much more satisfying it would be to bang Sherlock's head against the wall. He counts to ten, swears a lot under his breath.

“D'you want me to come down there?”

“Would you?” John sounds so vulnerable that Lestrade can hardly bear it. Then he says, with an obvious effort, “No, don't, it's OK. I'll be fine. It'll be fine.”

“Don't talk bollocks,” Lestrade says. “I'll see you at the registry office.”

“Honestly,” John says, “it's OK.”

Going straight in at number 3 in Lestrade's Top Ten Unconvincing Lies We Have Known.

“Yeah, right,” Lestrade says. “What time's the kick-off?”

“11.30,” John says.

“OK,” Lestrade says. “Go to bed and try to get some sleep, for fuck's sake.”

John doesn't argue.

Lestrade hangs up. Wonders wearily what he's letting himself in for. Oh well. It'll all be over by teatime. The marriage, too, quite possibly, if Harry Watson's back on the bottle.


Between Sarah's painfully normal family and Harry's frankly peculiar friends, it's all a bit of a nightmare, as it goes. But it's worth it for the moment when he gets out of the car and sees the look on John's face, like a man finally sighting water in the desert.

“I didn't really think you'd come,” John says.

Sod that for a game of soldiers. “Right, what do you need me to do?” Lestrade says.

“Could you talk to Sarah's parents?” John asks, with a desperate glance in their direction. “I think her father may be about to explode.”

“Leave it to me,” Lestrade says, hoping he sounds more confident than he feels.

He has no fucking idea what he's supposed to talk to them about. But he introduces himself as a friend of the family, and sees the faint relaxation as Mr Sawyer catches sight of his wedding ring. Given what they're there for, you'd think Sarah's dad would be less easily reassured: it's not just straights who wear wedding rings these days.

Still, they talk about football, and Mr Sawyer starts to look happier while Mrs Sawyer starts to look vaguely bored. This is an improvement on looking like she's about to start screaming the place down, so Lestrade's not complaining. Meanwhile, Sarah's niece (eight years old and clearly something of a menace) is asking embarrassing questions at the top of her voice. Lestrade suspects the kid already knows the answers and is just winding her mother up – the poor woman's gone bright red. Probably not the moment to suggest buying the girl Who's In A Family or Jenny Lives With Eric and Martin.

Harry's mates are actually more trouble, Lestrade discovers at the reception. Because they obviously think he and John are an item, and assume he's just being coy or closeted when he says they're not. Which is an irony he could do without, thank you very much. Not for the first time, he wishes it was easier to explain whatever it is that's going on with John and Sherlock, but he's not sure anybody actually knows – including the two of them.

Nobody believes you when you say it, because it's what people always say. Like that Flanders and Swann song from when he was a kid: “Who's Abelard? says Heloise / 'E's not my fellow, 'e's / A friend/ Just a friend!” He hadn't understood what it was about at the time, but he knows now it was something to do with the Profumo scandal: sex, lies and dodgy politicians. And that model, whatsername, Mandy Rice-Davies. The one who said about some bloke who denied he'd had an affair with her, “Well he would, wouldn't he?”

It's more or less over by dinner-time, if not by teatime. Thank god Harry and Sarah didn't decide to have a disco after the reception.

John's speech is a miracle of English reserve, though Lestrade can't be the only one to see an imaginary bubble of swearwords floating over his head. Harry and Sarah both make speeches: Harry manages to deliver hers without excessive gloating (gets points for that, Lestrade thinks grudgingly), and Sarah stumbles over hers, which isn't surprising. Lestrade winces, looking at John's set expression as he watches his ex-girlfriend and his sister kiss for the wedding video.

At last the newly marrieds hurl their matching bouquets over their shoulders and bugger off to wherever it is they're going for their honeymoon. The only thing that could actually have made the last half hour worse would have been Molly Hooper being there to catch one and Sherlock being there to make some crass remark about it.

“Thank fuck for that,” John says, stuffing discarded paper-chains into the last of the black plastic binbags.

“Who do we give the keys to?” Lestrade asks.

“They said just to lock up and put the keys through the letterbox,” John says, suiting the action to the word.

It's a fine evening, and just a short walk from the village hall to the semi-detached mock-Tudor house where John and Harry grew up.

“Your parents away for long?” Lestrade asks.

“A fortnight,” John says. “Just to make sure.”

“But they were there for the first one? I mean, for Harry and Clara?”

“Yeah,” John says. “Well, they liked Clara, even though they'd have preferred her to be a bloke. But I think it wore them out, you know? They're not much good at dealing with that sort of thing.”

How are they coping with you, then? Lestrade thinks, but he doesn't say it. Maybe the Watsons would never have been any good at being the parents of a gay son, even if they hadn't been through all that with Harry and Clara. No point being angry at them, though the waste is enough to make you weep. Might as well have dinner and forget about it all, if they can.


Dinner is leftovers, with rather a lot of booze to wash it down. After which one thing leads to another, and Lestrade and John end up in bed together, as anyone with half a brain might have known they would. It's not bad, considering they're both a bit sloshed. Shouldn't have happened, though; it's bound to cause trouble sooner or later.

Sooner, as it turns out; the look on John's face first thing in the morning is enough to tell Lestrade that.

“It's OK,” Lestrade says, though it really isn't. He doesn't say I know it's Sherlock you want; doesn't need to.

John doesn't say anything. He looks – cornered, like he thinks this is all his fault and there's nothing he can do about it. Lestrade feels slightly sick, seeing that.

“I'd better get going,” he says. “Can't leave Dimmock in charge for too long, there'll be a riot.”

He heaves himself out of bed, trying not to groan as his aching muscles protest.

“You can't go without breakfast,” John says quickly, but he's too late; Lestrade's already seen the flash of relief in his eyes.

“I'll get something on the road,” Lestrade says. “Go back to sleep, you look like shit.”

“Thanks a bunch,” John snaps.

“Yeah, well,” Lestrade says awkwardly. “See you back in town.”

John's expression softens, and he puts his hand on Lestrade's arm. “Thanks,” he says again.

“Don't mention it,” Lestrade says.

He puts his hand over John's for a moment, then pulls away and picks up his scattered clothes. He can feel John watching him from the bed, but he doesn't turn round.

Walked into that one, didn't you? he thinks as he heads for the shower.

Five years, no, six, of knowing Sherlock, and he still has no more sense than to get mixed up in something like this.

He turns the water up as hot as he can stand it and closes his eyes. Wonders where the fuck Sherlock has got to this time, and what if anything John's going to tell him.

Not your problem, Lestrade.

One of these days he really is going to do something about his overdeveloped sense of responsibility. Send his shining armour for scrap metal and put his sodding white charger out to grass.

Yeah, right. As a gambling acquaintance of his used to say: the difference between us and the dumb animals is that they learn from experience.


Flanders and Swann's song, Friendly Duet, which Lestrade is thinking about at the reception, is here.

Also posted at http://fengirl88.dreamwidth.org/66499.html with comment count unavailable comments.


( 22 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 13th, 2012 01:19 am (UTC)
thank you very much - I'm pleased you liked it.

and somebody should definitely hold Lestrade!
Jan. 13th, 2012 02:50 am (UTC)
Maybe this Lestrade can run into Maurice on a fur rug. ;)

Feels good to have more of you on any topic. Thank you!
Jan. 13th, 2012 10:21 am (UTC)
now there's a scenario I hadn't thought of! *grins*

thank you very much - glad you enjoyed it. I must get back to Maurice and Lestrade, but my muse is determined to produce angst at the moment, which is not the right state of mind to write penguin suit+opera romance...
Jan. 13th, 2012 08:47 am (UTC)
Your Lestrade is so caring, very much the knight in shining armour, responding just to the tone of John's voice.

It won't surprise you that I think John should come to his senses and get over Sherlock, who failed to provide any support.
Jan. 13th, 2012 10:25 am (UTC)
thank you very much - yes, Sherlock doesn't come out of this at all well. the character in The Charioteer who impishtubist and I were discussing also has that quality of caring and taking responsibility, and there is a happy ending of sorts for him, so I think it's quite possible to imagine one for Lestrade here too.
Jan. 13th, 2012 06:17 pm (UTC)
Have just ordered a copy of The Charioteer as I thought it was time I read it.
Jan. 13th, 2012 08:26 pm (UTC)
hurrah! there needs to be more Charioteer love as well as more Lestrade love in the world...

Jan. 13th, 2012 09:19 am (UTC)
Oh, poor Lestrade! I want him to be with John! He's earned it. Sherlock doesn't deserve John! Help him!
Jan. 13th, 2012 10:30 am (UTC)
thank you very much - as I said to thesmallhobbit, there is a happy ending for the parallel character in The Charioteer, so it is possible to imagine one for Lestrade out of this as well. but my muse seems to be channelling angrybeige's Sherlock saying ONLY ANGST at the moment, so I don't think I can write it, at any rate not just now.
Jan. 13th, 2012 10:39 am (UTC)
Oh, Lestrade. I feel for you in this.

And this line - As a gambling acquaintance of his used to say: the difference between us and the dumb animals is that they learn from experience. - made me go ouch. Very true.
Jan. 13th, 2012 08:25 pm (UTC)
thank you very much - poor Lestrade indeed! and his gambling acquaintance was spot on, in my view...
Jan. 13th, 2012 09:31 pm (UTC)
Poor Lestrade and poor John! I just want to give them both a hug!

This is a beautifully written piece of angst. I love it.
Jan. 13th, 2012 10:01 pm (UTC)
thank you so much - I'm very glad you liked it! I seem to be in angst mode at the moment...

and yes, Lestrade and John could both do with a hug!
Jan. 14th, 2012 05:05 pm (UTC)
Terribly sad, but very good, even for those of us who can't pick up the Charioteer references. The messiness of families and emotions and wanting someone who doesn't want you is very well-conveyed. I particularly liked the imaginary bubble of swearwords and Lestrade's realisation that if you had Molly Hooper and Sherlock there it would be even worse. (He's right on that, of course).

But is there any possibility of some happier fics with no 1 and 2 in Lestrade's list of unconvincing lies? I can't help feeling: "No, I don't fancy you" has to be somewhere up near the top when RG is around.
Jan. 14th, 2012 05:50 pm (UTC)
thank you very much - I'm glad you thought this worked, and that those things came across well.

I hope there will be happier fics at some point and that's certainly a good idea for one - thank you!
Jan. 14th, 2012 10:43 pm (UTC)
As sco1of said, this is a fucked up situation that was written wonderfully! It seems ironically cruel that Harry Watson would end up marrying her brother's ex-girlfriend. It's sweet that John can't help turning to Lestrade for moral support, but then tries to be brave and pretend that he'll be okay on his own. Of course, it's pretty obvious that the Harry/Sarah relationship is likely doomed to fail. In fact, I like the way that no one seems to be with the right person in this story. While Lestrade would be great for John, John is hung up on Sherlock, who probably isn't interested in a sexual relationship at all.
Jan. 14th, 2012 11:16 pm (UTC)
thank you very much - I'm glad you thought so! yes, the situation is pretty fucked up all round (some of that is there in The Charioteer as well, though it gets a particular slant with these characters).

*admires your new icon, boggling*
Jan. 15th, 2012 12:15 am (UTC)
I'll have to read The Charioteer some time as I keep hearing great things about it. :-)

You're the first person to comment on my icon, so thank you very much! :-) The idea popped into my head while watching Open Fire, which is where the image is from.
Jan. 15th, 2012 04:07 am (UTC)
Oh, John and Lestrade - how they break my heart.
Jan. 15th, 2012 01:03 pm (UTC)
thank you - I think I will have to write them some more happy times to make up for this one!
Feb. 25th, 2012 10:34 am (UTC)
I've just found this series of fics and I just wanted to say how marvellous they are and how pleased I was to see John and Lestrade do the inevitable. It's the succession of small inevitabilities that makes it so compelling, to my mind.
Feb. 25th, 2012 01:36 pm (UTC)
thank you very much - I'm really glad you like the series, and particularly pleased with what you say about the succession of small inevitabilities.
( 22 comments — Leave a comment )


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