Summary: Written for capt_spork's prompt of "sometimes a kiss is just a kiss".
Detective Inspector Lestrade looked up at his sergeant's expression of disgust and followed the line of her gaze across the crime scene. A few metres distant was the unmistakeable figure of Sherlock, deep in conversation with the distressed next of kin.
In that now familiar but no less unsettling way of his, he'd become intensely sympathetic and tactile, with his arm draped around the elderly woman. As Lestrade watched he even leaned down to kiss her reassuringly on the cheek.
Apparently having gained the information he required, Sherlock spun abruptly on his heel and marched towards them, leaving a rather awkward looking Dr Watson in charge of her.
Donovan curled her lip. "I thought you weren’t allowed to torture suspects these days?"
Sherlock ignored her and addressed himself directly to Lestrade.
"She didn’t do it, but she knows who did. Don’t let her leave, and don’t let her use a phone,"
Lestrade cut his eyes to Donovan and she sighed. "I suppose he deducted all that from her blue rinse and you're just going to take his word for it?"
They both glared at her and she held up her hands. "I'm going. I'm going. Although she's probably too traumatised to speak after being molested by the Freak here."
She slouched over to relieve John of his charge, and Lestrade eyed Sherlock, uncomfortably aware of the professional risk he was taking by trusting Sherlock's word without question
"You know I'm right," Sherlock averred, aware of Lestrade's thoughts.
He shook his head, obstinately. "No. I don't know you're right. I believe you're right. There's a difference."
Sherlock shrugged dismissively. "Result's the same."
"I hope so."
Sherlock smiled, and Lestrade wasn’t sure if his expression was mocking or commiserating. "Trust me, Inspector. Ah, John, ready?"
As the two of them walked off, Lestrade watched them go, frowning. Despite his words, he wasn’t especially worried Sherlock might be wrong about the case. What did nag at him, watching the ease with which the man assumed a completely different persona to get what he wanted out of people, was whether the face he showed him was genuine.
The thought that Sherlock might be playing him along with everyone else hurt him in ways he found mildly unaccountable.
Lestrade found himself watching Sherlock more closely than before. Was oddly comforted by the frequency of their arguments, the fact that Sherlock continued to choose to convince rather than manipulate him.
Standing in Baker Street one day and witnessing a conversation that started with Mrs Hudson putting her foot down and somehow ended with her hurrying off wreathed in smiles to fetch Sherlock tea and (for reasons he wasn’t entirely clear on) a funnel. As he watched Sherlock deliver a genuine looking peck on the cheek, he wondered again.
There was no denying the man had charm when he needed to. There was also no question he used it unequivocally as a weapon.
He’d drawn John in by tantalising him, Lestrade mused, by dangling a carrot of excitement and danger. Personally, he’d seen the aftermath of too much crime to be similarly dazzled, he thought sourly, before realising with a shock that it was perhaps the promise of getting at the truth that induced him to do exactly as Sherlock wanted.
Sherlock looked up, surprised. They'd been standing out of the wind, nursing thin coffee in thin cardboard, waiting for an informant to turn up. Lestrade's denouncement had come out of the blue, too randomly for even Sherlock to follow his train of thought.
"On the contrary, my parents were entirely properly wedded, I assure you," he murmured, more for something to say while he waited for Lestrade to elaborate on whatever was bothering him. He didn’t look especially angry, more mildly disgusted, therefore Sherlock had no particular concerns that this was serious.
Lestrade stared gloomily into his coffee. "Is there anyone you don’t manoeuvre around like a chess piece?"
Sherlock appeared to consider the question at face value. "Mycroft, perhaps. But only because he tends to be irritatingly impervious. Why?"
Lestrade gaped at him incredulously and Sherlock sighed. "Everyone does it. I just happen to be better at it than most."
"You - are - "
"I should have said invaluable."
Lestrade crumpled his empty cup in disgust.
He never was sure how they'd ended up in a relationship of sorts. It certainly wasn’t one either felt the need to divulge to anyone else, and indeed they could go for weeks without seeing each other at all.
But now and then would find them - usually in Lestrade's flat, occasionally a hotel, never at Baker Street - stripped naked and wanting, fucking each other with a shameless intensity. There was a strange honesty to it, the fulfilment of a mutual need that didn’t require discussion. While there may have been desperate, open mouthed kisses in the heat of the moment, outside the bedroom there was no romance, certainly nothing that could be misconstrued as dating. It suited them very well.
Which was why after a particularly vehement argument concerning a case, when Sherlock leaned over and kissed him briefly on the mouth, Lestrade stared at him in dumbfounded surprise.
"What was that?" he managed eventually, thankful that they were alone because he wasn’t entirely confident Sherlock wouldn't have done it regardless of an audience.
Lestrade looked even more confused. "But you were right," he grudgingly admitted.
"Which annoys you. Hence, the apology," Sherlock said, looking as if he felt this was incredibly generous of him.
"An apology. Right." Lestrade smirked. "Here's hoping you don't suddenly feel the urge to apologise to Sally."
Sherlock looked alarmed. "Never going to happen."
It had been a hard few days. Sleepless nights poring over case files, frantic dashes through the city, Lestrade almost getting fired for insubordination, and both of them nearly getting shot.
The release of tension was draining, and Sherlock was sprawled on Lestrade's sofa, apparently fast asleep. Setting a couple of drinks of the table with a tired grunt, Lestrade pushed Sherlock's legs off so he could sit down.
Sherlock cracked open an eye. "You could have been killed today," he said, neutrally.
Lestrade yawned. "Next time, I'm letting you go in first."
"An unarmed civilian?" Sherlock objected, smiling.
"Unarmed bloody inspector if it comes to that."
For a while they drank in silence, knees occasionally brushing, not on purpose, but neither moving away from the touch.
As the sky gradually darkened outside, Sherlock leaned over and pressed a soft but deliberate kiss to Lestrade's mouth.
Lestrade looked sideways at him. "Apology? Bribe?" he guessed.
Sherlock shook his head. "That's the trouble with the police. Always so cynical."
"That's because we know everyone's got an ulterior motive."
"Always?" Sherlock looked amused.
"Always," Lestrade said firmly.
"Sometimes a kiss is just a kiss," Sherlock pointed out, kissing him again for good measure, as he technically hadn’t objected, and it was rather pleasant.
Lestrade yielded willingly, faintly hopeful of where this might end up. But when they came up for air, he couldn't resist another dig.
"Have you ever done anything without a minimum of two ulterior motives?"
Sherlock's hand moved up his thigh, suddenly firm with intent.
"Are you complaining?"
Lestrade found that he really wasn't.