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fic: No Understanding

Title: No Understanding
Author: fengirl88
Fandom: BBC Sherlock
Pairing: Sherlock/John, John/Lestrade
Rating: R/NC-17
Warnings: none
Wordcount: 1438
Beta: blooms84 and thimpressionist
Disclaimer: These characters are not mine.
Summary: Waking and seeing Lestrade looking at him like that. Like a lover. The memory of it cuts through John, so sharp it takes his breath away.
A/N: Part of the Trouble With Harry series (following on from Water, Dust, Juice, Any Just Cause, Put Asunder and Good Friends). This one is for kalypso_v, who started the whole thing off by asking for Sarah/Harry with a side order of horrified!John. Fill for the square "Why?" on my love_bingo card

No Understanding

Ever since it happened, he hasn't known what to do. Such an unexpected thing, but he's kicking himself for not seeing it coming. He asks himself over and over again what on earth he'd thought he was doing, reaching out to Lestrade for help.

You weren't to know he felt like that about you.

Yeah, right. Go easy on yourself, Watson, why don't you?

He knew it was wrong, at some level, what he'd asked for. Even though Lestrade had offered to help. No good pretending John didn't know what he was doing, making that call to Lestrade in the first place. A shoulder to cry on; and the meaning of knowing it would be there.

Lestrade's shoulder... Lestrade's body, in bed, unexpectedly warm and solid and comforting. Being held and feeling safe, feeling – god help him – loved. And he needed to feel that, after the nightmare of Harry and Sarah's civil partnership. Watching the woman he'd tried to love tying herself in foolish hope to the sister he tries not to hate and can't ever break with completely.

What are you doing here, John Watson? What the ever-loving fuck do you think you're doing?

He should have told Harry to take a running jump. What was that expression Doc the Canadian used to come out with? - take a flying fuck at a rolling doughnut. Funny. And not.

Sherlock watches him, deducing; it can't be long before he knows, though Lestrade didn't leave a mark on John.

(You could still feel him inside you, though, couldn't you? That day and the next, the memory of it burned into you. The stretch and ache of it in your thigh muscles, your arse. Different from how it was, no, is, no, was, with Sherlock. Because whatever happens next with Sherlock will be different again, after that.)

Sherlock should have been there. Sherlock shouldn't have left him alone to face that.

He feels the rage rolling around inside him, sparking and crashing like a thundercloud. Something alive, uncontrollable. Was that part of it too? Sleeping with Lestrade because he was angry with Sherlock for leaving him. Using Lestrade to get back at Sherlock, oh god –

Doesn't even make sense. Not if you're sweating trying to hide it, after, worrying about what Sherlock will say and do when he finds out.

When, not if. Because even someone as emotionally clueless as Sherlock can hardly miss the signs. He's watched enough crap telly by now to know what guilty for cheating on you looks like. And, oh god, what Clara said about running into Lestrade at a crime scene, how the fuck are you going to cope with that?

How is Lestrade going to, if it comes to that?

He should call him. He can't call him. He wants to call him, knowing his reasons for that aren't what they should be.

He keeps thinking about King Lear, god knows why. Who knew A Level English stayed with you for life?

Oh, the difference of man and man!

Got a big laugh when they saw it at the theatre, that line – well, everyone knows it's funny. Cuckolding. Adultery. Cheating. Fucking hilarious unless you're the one caught up in it.

The difference of man and man: Sherlock's long nervous body, humming with tension, a wiry strength to him that you wouldn't expect from his pallor, the delicacy of his skin. And Lestrade: compact, a bit stocky even, soft around the middle, a vulnerability about that that makes John groan, remembering.

Wrapping his legs around Lestrade like a kid climbing a tree-trunk, joyous and free in that moment, clinging on tight, laughing and swearing and gasping as Lestrade thrust harder, deeper. Feeling the tightness of orgasm at the base of his spine, coming up from his balls, coming up from the soles of his feet, all the cells in his body shouting with it, a surge of energy so powerful it felt like the top of his head coming off.

Lestrade panting, apologetic (why?) and sheepish and adorable (don't think of him like that, you can't), kissing John quickly and roughly and saying Go to sleep now.

Falling into sleep as if he'd been sandbagged, and waking –

Waking and seeing Lestrade looking at him like that. Like a lover. The memory of it cuts through him, so sharp it takes his breath away. He doesn't know what showed in his own face in response, but it wasn't anything good. Seeing Lestrade's face change, a shuttered look, rebuffed and chilled. Lestrade telling him Get some rest, Watson, you look like shit. A bit of him knew that was Lestrade trying to pass it off lightly. Not asking. Not making demands. Still the insult stung, and John had snapped at him. He winces now, thinking of that.

Awkward mornings after: number 10 in an occasional series. He's wiped the other nine, but he can't get rid of this one. His body holds the memory of it, the cold feeling of shame filling him. Shame for what he'd done to Lestrade, to Sherlock.

It wasn't only my fault, the voice in his head says. He hates himself for that pleading note: no mercy on that wounded self-excusing boy.

Take your punishment like a man, his dad would say. I'm sick of you blaming other people.

He'd joined the army to show his dad, make him proud. Look at me, love me, see me doing what you wanted. It never happened. Couldn't. Dad wasn't capable of that, any more than he and Mum were capable of accepting Harry and Clara, Harry and Sarah. Ella would probably say he'd been looking for that love ever since. Fucking therapists, always got an explanation for everything.

He braces himself for the punishment he knows can't be far off now, but he doesn't have the guts to own up to Sherlock, take what's coming to him.

Well, there's that, and then there's the rage, filling his throat till it feels so tight no words could get out.

His phone buzzes – a text from Clara: Have you talked to L yet?

No, he texts back. Haven't told S either.

There's a pause – he imagines her typing something about Sherlock and deleting it, or maybe she's just thinking what to say.

The text just says Call L.

I can't, he texts back.

There should be more, but there isn't, there aren't the words for this.

Put it right, she says. Do it. At least try.

He stares at the screen for a long time, not sure what to say.

OK, he types, and stares at the screen some more. Thinking about what two capital letters and the Send button commit you to, what this could open up.

He hits Send, exits from the text menu and scrolls through Contacts till he finds Lestrade's number.

(Do it, you coward. Do it now. Take the risk that he'll tell you to fuck off and die. Take the risk that he won't.)

He presses Call and hears the ringing tone, waits. Lestrade probably won't answer when he sees who's calling. It's been days, after all; if John was going to do this he should have done it before.

There's a click and some static on the line, not sure whose end.

“Greg?” he says. “It's me.”

“Yes, I know that, you prat.” A mixture of irony and strain. “What do you want?”

John has never felt more incapable of answering a question in his life. He swallows hard and tries to speak, but nothing comes out.

“Whatever it is, I promise you I've heard worse,” Lestrade says, not unkindly. “Come on, Watson, spit it out.”

He opens his mouth and astonishes himself: “I want to see you.”

Lestrade doesn't ask why, which is just as well. “OK,” he says. “When?”

“Now would be good,” John says. No idea he was going to say that either, till he did.

“Fine,” Lestrade says. “Meet you in the Volunteer, 15 minutes.”

“See you there,” John says, and hangs up. He stares at Harry's old phone as if it's just played a practical joke on him.

“I'm going out,” he calls to Sherlock. “Meeting Lestrade for a drink. Might be late back.”

Sherlock doesn't answer; busy with some experiment or other, probably.

John slams the door, turns his collar up against the rain – will it ever stop? – and runs from the house as if the Furies are snapping at his heels. He can't believe he's doing this, and he has no idea what's supposed to happen now. All he knows is that he feels alive again, for the first time in days.


Like "Any Just Cause" and "Put Asunder", this fic takes its title from the marriage service in the Book of Common Prayer. Thanks to blooms84 and thimpressionist for beta wisdom and encouragement.

Also posted at http://fengirl88.dreamwidth.org/77624.html with comment count unavailable comments.


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 16th, 2012 11:02 pm (UTC)
*deep sigh of contentment*

Lestrade is so decent. John's emotions are understandable. This is going to be good for both of them. <3

Thank you.
Apr. 16th, 2012 11:05 pm (UTC)
thank you very much - I'm so pleased you like this! it's not going to be an easy conversation, but it definitely needs to happen...
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 17th, 2012 08:41 am (UTC)
thank you very much!

*adds to string of Lestrade icons*

Apr. 17th, 2012 07:54 am (UTC)
Aargh, why do I always read these when I don't have time to comment properly. Because all I want to do at the moment is hug both John and Lestrade. I'll be back.
Apr. 17th, 2012 08:41 am (UTC)
thank you very much - I think they both need a hug!
Apr. 17th, 2012 09:13 pm (UTC)
This is lovely. Oh John, what have you got yourself into? But it's so sad, John reflecting on how he's been a failure in his parents' eyes and how when he needed Sherlock he wasn't there. Please don't let him hurt Lestrade in turn.
Apr. 17th, 2012 11:23 pm (UTC)
thank you again! I don't think John knows what he's got himself into, though I also don't think he would hurt Lestrade on purpose...

the bit about John's father here came as a surprise - one of those things you don't know until you find yourself writing it.
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 17th, 2012 06:33 pm (UTC)
thank you very much! yes, this is a tough one for both of them, and that's going to be a very awkward meeting in the pub...
Apr. 18th, 2012 01:28 am (UTC)
My heart hurts! Beautiful, beautiful fic!
Apr. 18th, 2012 09:10 am (UTC)
thank you very much! I'm very pleased you liked it.
Aug. 14th, 2012 07:09 pm (UTC)
Ooh love it, heartbreaking moment for Lestrade the morning after...like the King Lear ref too!
This is great
Aug. 15th, 2012 12:16 pm (UTC)
thank you very much! I am still trying to find a way out of this for them all...
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )


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