Compromising Positions | Into the Black | Contact

Conversation in a Pub

Notes: Big thanks to emungere for the beta.

John’s just about done his pint when he hears a familiar voice.

“Fancy seeing you here,” DI Lestrade says as he sits on the stool next to him.

“Lestrade,” John says, nodding slightly.

“I’m off duty, call me Greg.”

“Greg, then,” John responds with a slight smile.

“What are you having? And I won’t hear no for an answer, a pint is the least I can do in return for the help you’ve been.”


“Good man,” Lestrade replies and calls in their order. He takes the pints from the barkeep and passes John his. They sit quietly enjoying their drinks and each other’s company for a few minutes before Lestrade breaks the silence.

“So, what brings you here?” he asks.

“Sarah gave me the boot,” John replies.

Lestrade looks contrite and says, “Sorry. She seemed like a nice girl.”

“She was. Hell, she was fantastic. I nearly got her killed on our first date and she still wanted to see me again,” John says with a tight laugh.

“Feel like talking about it?”

“Not particularly.” It doesn’t stop John from thinking about it though. He closes his eyes briefly and sighs, reliving the whole thing in Technicolor. It’s no less insane from memory.

“Fair enough. I can assume it’s got something to do with Sherlock?”

“You can. But it’s kind of your fault, too. Oh, hell, apparently, I am talking about it. Let’s grab that table over there if I’m going to do this. It’s not the sort of story you tell at the bar.”

They get up and move to the free table in the corner of the pub.

“I can’t believe I’m doing this,” John mutters. He can’t maintain eye contact, so he tells the story to his beer. “So, we’ve had this lovely date, right. We went out to dinner at Sarah’s favourite restaurant, no interruptions, and most importantly, no Sherlock. And then we had a nice romantic stroll back to her place. One thing led to another and then we’re in bed and it’s brilliant, just fantastic, and then Sherlock bloody Holmes barges in calling for me.”

John lowers his voice and does a half-decent impersonation of Sherlock: ‘John! Where are you? I’ve been texting you for the last hour and you haven’t…oh. Right, well, hurry up then and get on with it. Lestrade has a case for us.’

“And then the bastard stands in the doorway, waiting for me to finish, I assume. I yell at the idiot to go into the front room to wait for me and he actually goes without an argument and I make my apologies to Sarah and leave, because what the hell else could I have done? He would have waited out there all bloody night.”

John looks over and sees Lestrade biting his lip. “Oh, go on, you bastard, laugh. If it had happened to anyone else, I’d be laughing my arse off,” John replies. When Lestrade is done snickering, he continues. “So, I get out there, and he has the gall to ask me if he was ‘a bit not right,’ can you believe it? And when I told him he was being spectacularly not right? He actually apologized. He even sounded sincere.”

“You turned your phone off, didn’t you?” Lestrade asks.

“Yeah. And Sarah, too. Since Sherlock’s invited himself out on more than half of our dates, we both thought it was a good idea, if we wanted to remain uninterrupted,” John replies, laughing grimly at the irony.

“So, he couldn’t reach you and came over to find you?” Lestrade pauses in thought, and then continues. “You know he was worried, right? No matter how much of a prat he was about it, he couldn’t reach you and he went out to find you.”

John sighs and considers his propensity for being kidnapped by evil masterminds. “Yes, that’s why I didn’t kill him. Of course, he’d never say, would he? Instead he just grabs my arm and drags me out after those jewel thieves you arrested last week.” He pauses to drink some beer. “Anyway, I met up with Sarah a few hours ago and she called it off. Said she liked me well enough, but it was really difficult to date someone with so many conflicting priorities. And that’s that. She’s not wrong though, she did come last and she definitely deserves better.”

John finishes up his beer and notices that Lestrade is almost done with his. “Want another?”

“Sure,” Lestrade replies and John goes and gets them another round.

When he returns, he says, “So, what about you? How’d you end up with your very own pain-in-the-arse consulting detective? Me, I needed a flat-mate, and am apparently barking mad, since I haven’t packed it in. What’s your story?”

“What do you think? He turned up at a crime scene,” comes Lestrade’s reply. “It was about five years ago, my first big case as DI. A series of brutal rapes and murders. We were nine victims in as many weeks and had nothing. Absolutely nothing. It was like a ghost was committing the crimes. And he came barging into my office, coked off his head, skinnier than he is now, if you can believe that, dark circles under his eyes, ranting about how stupid we all were and how he’d been trying to reach me for weeks, and providing me with all these details about the victims and crime scenes that we hadn’t released to the press.”

“What did you do?” John asks.

“What do you think?” Lestrade replies. “I arrested him on suspicion. And while he was in the clink, and we were trying to pin the whole mess on him, we got our tenth victim. I let him out and he solved the fucking case in a day.” Lestrade shakes his head and takes a long gulp of beer. John knows he’s thinking about that tenth victim, the one they could have saved if he’d only listened to Sherlock.

“Cocaine, huh?” John says and eyes Lestrade astutely. “How long did it take you to get him off it?”

“Not as long as you might think,” Lestrade replies. “I told him I wouldn’t work with a junkie and he stopped using, more or less. There were a few really awful weeks when he was going through withdrawal, and he’s relapsed a couple of times, but I’m pretty sure he’s not lying when he says he’s clean. There’s likely to be something stashed in the flat, though. Do me a favour, if you find it, flush it and don’t tell me, yeah?”

John nods and resolves to turn their flat and Mrs. Hudson’s upside down the next time he gets a chance.

“As long as we’re sharing, what’s up with him and Donovan? I know she thinks he’s unstable, but there’s got to be more to it than that. If I didn’t know better, I’d say she was acting like a woman scorned,” John inquires.

The sharp laugh that bursts out of Lestrade startles John. “You are closer than you think, but I really shouldn’t say.”

John cocks his head and gives Lestrade a piercing look. “He interrupted me while I was having sex, Greg. C’mon, give me something.”

“All right, all right, but you did not hear this from me,” Lestrade says and leans in. “It happened during one of his relapses. I booted him off a case and he was desperate to get some information we had. Sally had just made Sergeant and was still pretty green. And let’s face it, Sherlock can be charming when he wants to be. I don’t have the details and I don’t want them, but from what I know, he wooed her a bit, turned her head all around and stole the keys to the evidence lock up right out from under her nose and was a right prick about it afterwards. You know how he is. I should have busted her back down to Constable, but instead, decided that her punishment for being naïve was to have to keep working with him. It toughened her up pretty damn fast, maybe a little too fast, but she’s the best Sergeant I’ve ever had, so I count it as a win.”

Just then, John’s phone goes off. He pulls it out and glances at it.

Where are you? – SH

Sighing, John texts back:

at the pub

He gets an immediate reply:

I’m bored. Come home – SH

when i’m done my pint

“That him?” Lestrade asks.

“Of course. He wants me home and I told him he could wait until I was done.”

Lestrade’s phone buzzes. He slips it out and shows it to John.

Tell John to come home – SH

“How the hell does he know these things?” Lestrade asks.

“Beats the hell out of me,” John replies. “Tell him to sod off. I’m finishing my damn pint.”

Lestrade texts back. They sit in companionable silence for a few moments before John chugs back the last half of his pint. Lestrade raises an eyebrow and smirks at him. “In a hurry?”

“Do you want a bored Sherlock Holmes walking into a pub?” John asks as he stands and shrugs into his coat.

“Christ, no,” Lestrade answers, shuddering. “It’ll end up in a pub brawl and I’m way too old for that shite.”

“You and me both,” John replies. “See you around, Greg.”

“Night, John.”

As John walks home from the pub he texts:

on my way, do we need milk?