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Title: Four chemicals Lestrade was glad Sherlock quit, two he tolerated, and one he decided he rather liked
Creator: [personal profile] lady_ganesh
Universe: Sherlock BBC
Type of work: Fiction
Contains: Some drug and alcohol use
Summary and/or notes: Thanks to [personal profile] tiggymalvern and [personal profile] lindentreeisle for betaing. Minor spoilers for the first episode of Sherlock. Chemical formulas are at the end if context doesn't do it. Crossposted at my journal.



C2H6O

The thing Sergeant Lestrade hated most, in the early days, was breaking up parties; now that he was in charge of the men, not much had changed. Drunks were tiresome and could be violent, and Lestrade hated the noise and chaos. He’d joined the force to solve crimes, not play babysitter to a bunch of alcoholic prats who couldn’t even keep their lawbreaking to themselves.

This crowd hadn’t been too bad, mostly clever types who drank to pass the time rather than searching for rowdy oblivion. Still, Lestrade would be glad when it was over.

He was checking for stragglers when he caught the last one; a lanky teenager who looked too young to be an honours student, sitting on the floor with his knees tucked up by his chin. He was holding something in his hand and muttering.

“Hey, lad,” Lestrade said, as gently as he could manage. “You need to be moving on.”

“It’s terrible,” the young man muttered. “I’m so bloody...slow.” Lestrade realized he was holding a coin, and passing it back and forth between his fingers like a conjurer. (Well, a rather poor conjurer, but still.) “Why does anyone drink this? It’s like trying to think through stew.”

“Yes, well, you won’t be doing this again for a while, then, will you?” Lestrade offered a hand.

The young man got up carefully, ignoring Lestrade’s offer of help. “Never,” he said, with the thick solemnity only a drunk young man could channel. “It’s bloody poison.”

Later, when Lestrade started dividing his life in the force to The Time Before Sherlock Holmes and The Time After Sherlock Holmes, he’d put this file this memory in the ‘before’ pile. If Sherlock Holmes had been sober enough to remember that night, he would have been offended.

C11H15NO2

“They told me,” Sherlock said, dreamily inspecting his hand, “that this would increase my perception. That isn’t the case at all. It merely alters perceptions. I’m a bit concerned it’s actually making my perceptions less accurate. Let’s see...Lestrade, you were pulled out of a dinner at The Hawley Arms with a gentleman, a bit older, certainly taller...I believe he’s in securities, yes? Stepping out of your usual pattern?”

“I’m not answering that,” Lestrade growled. And he certainly wasn’t going to be bringing Holmes to his crime scene, either. This whole evening was a bloody waste.

“It’s a pity how unwilling people are to contribute to scientific advancement,” Sherlock muttered, taking one of Lestrade’s lapels in his hand and examining it with something more than the usual detached curiosity. “You do favor the silk blends, don’t you, Inspector Lestrade?”

Lestrade shrugged him off. “Holmes, if you promise never to do...whatever it is you did, I’ll take you to a lovely crime scene tomorrow, all right?”

“Why not tonight?” It wasn’t quite a whine, but the tone was awfully close. “I’m perfectly capable. You would’ve answered the question if I’d been wrong.”

“Because tomorrow you won’t ask it,” Lestrade huffed, and turned around.

Sherlock almost followed, but to Lestrade’s immense relief, the man’s mobile rang. “What?” Sherlock said, his voice rich with irritation. “I already gave you the answer, you don’t -- no, I will not be there on Tuesday, even to--”

Lestrade decided to take advantage of the moment.

Still, distracted as he was, Sherlock called out “Do give my regards to Niral for me, won’t you?”

Lestrade quelled the urge to strangle the man (and how had he hit on the right name?) and fled.

C18H21NO4

Mrs. Hudson answered the door. “Oh,” she said, smoothing her dress down out of nervous habit. “Thank heavens you’ve come.”

“Is he that bored?” It had been a month and a half since the last case; certainly an unusual span of time, but hardly enough to inspire her apparent level of worry.

She sighed. “I”m afraid--I haven’t been able to rouse him, and--”

Lestrade took a better look at her (Sherlock wasn’t the only person who traded in observation, after all.) This was more than the usual worry; significantly more. She looked like she hadn’t slept properly in days. “What’s been going on, Mrs. Hudson?”

She wouldn’t look at him. She did unlock the door for him, which was probably illegal, but only God knew what Sherlock would do if they’d left him alone and deprived him of a crime scene.

For half a second, when the door opened to reveal Sherlock draped on the sofa, pale and hollow-looking, Lestrade was afraid it was a crime scene. But Sherlock was breathing, shallowly at best, but breathing still. “How long has he--”

“I don’t know,” Mrs. Hudson said, too sharply, too quickly. “I’ve tried not to let him alone, but you know how he is,and he gets so bored when there’s nothing to poke at--”

That Lestrade knew well enough, and he didn’t have to live anywhere near the prat. He kneeled down and checked Holmes’ eyes; the pupils were tiny. “Call an ambulance.”

“Yes, of course,” Mrs. Hudson said, his words finally pulling her from shock into action.

Lestrade noted the tiny bottle of pills on the side table as he did his best to convince Holmes to keep breathing.

C17H21NO4

They wouldn’t let him into the emergency department, even with his police ID. They assured him that they wouldn’t let Sherlock go anywhere for at least a day, and Lestrade had to be satisfied with that. So he sat in the waiting area, rifling through newspapers. He knew he’d hit bottom when he found himself reading the Daily Mail.

That moment of self-awareness also brought the man watching him to Lestrade’s attention. He was handsome enough; the round friendliness of his face belied his sharp, perceptive eyes. “Lestrade,” the man said.

“I am,” he answered. There was something about the man that made him nervous, like when Sherlock was eyeing him and determining what he’d eaten for breakfast that morning.

“You know, he tried cocaine in university. I came to visit him and he’d cleaned out his entire room with a toothbrush. He said he wanted to make sure the area was perfectly sterile for his experiments. I believe he’d been up for three days straight, though I had difficulty confirming that.”

Lestrade pondered that for a moment, and was suddenly irrationally grateful he’d happened upon Sherlock’s opiates phase, rather than anything significantly earlier.

“You saved his life,” the man said.

Lestrade shrugged. “It’s my job.”

“Still,” the man said. “It’s appreciated.”

“Mr. Holmes?” a nurse asked, and the man shifted his attention.

“Yes?”

“Your brother’s awake,” the woman said. “Would you like to speak with him?”

The man sighed. “Not really, but I suppose I should.” His eyes darted back to Lestrade. “I suppose I’ll be seeing you,” he said.

Christ, I hope not, Lestrade thought.

C8H10N4O

“It’s a cold case, officially,” Lestrade said, wheeling in the documents. “But O’Brien said there might be a connection, and O’Brien was the best. And you might see something in the photographs the original detectives missed.”

“Almost certainly.” Sherlock rubbed his hands together and cracked the top box open. “It smells like mould. You’ve been keeping these documents in an area almost guaranteed to ensure deterioration of the evidence.”

”I’ve had better things to do than monitor our storage system.”

“Well,” Sherlock said, hesitating before sorting through the documents, “someone should. What about Donovan?”

“Donovan has more important things to do,” Lestrade said. They had hated one another on sight; Sherlock too desperate to prove himself valuable, Donovan too new to the force to cultivate the protective cynicism that allowed seasoned coppers to accept his total lack of empathy. He’d still asked Donovan to come along; it would be good for her career. She’d made an excuse. He couldn’t really blame her.

Sherlock had obtained a pair of powder-free latex gloves from a desk drawer and was poring through the documents with delicate enthusiasm. “There’s tea,” he said offhandedly.

Lestrade realized this was what passed for hospitality in Sherlock’s mind. “Thank you,” he said, and rummaged into the cupboard until he found a cup that seemed reasonably clean. He cleared a stack of books off one of the chairs and got to work.

C10H14N2

“You’ve quit smoking,” Sherlock observed.

“Yes.”

Sherlock wrinkled his nose. “The patch?”

Lestrade nodded. It’d been almost a week now, and he found himself only mildly tempted to hit Sherlock in the face, which wasn’t much more than the emotions any reasonable man would feel under normal circumstances. Lestrade chose to count this as a victory.

“I suppose you can take it into a crime scene,” Sherlock said thoughtfully, “and never worry about contaminating the evidence.”

That had been one of the benefits so far, yes. “Did you ever smoke?”

“I’ve been thinking of taking it up.”

“Of course,” Lestrade said.

He wasn’t really surprised to see a box of patches in Sherlock’s flat the next time he swung by with a case.

C43H66N12O12S2

Lestrade watched Sherlock walk away. He’d clearly been close to something, and then pushed it away--

Oh.

Look, I’m in shock, I have a blanket. The bastard.

And there he was, walking fast to keep up with Sherlock’s long legs. Dr. John Watson, ex-military, whose records seemed to indicate he’d been an excellent soldier. Perhaps an excellent shot.

Loyalty. He’d never quite expected that from Sherlock Holmes.

Lestrade smiled to himself. This was promising.


(Chemicals are, in order: alcohol, ecstacy, oxycodone, cocaine, caffeine, nicotine, and oxytocin.)
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