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Summary:  Lestrade has been arrested and the evidence against him appears overwhelming.  Nobody likes a bent copper....

Rating: PG - mild language

Type: Gen

Word Count: 7500

This is part of a series of connected stories, the others are here.

Thanks again to [livejournal.com profile] elfbert  for general encouragement and long chats about all sorts of things.

==========================

He sat on the bench staring at his hands. He'd never been on this side of it before. And really had no idea why he was now.

He'd been checking the letterbox when the two plainclothes and the uniform had walked up to him. Older of the plainclothes had flashed a card - DCI Kent it had said - and confirmed his name. "You are Gregory Lestrade?" Which had seemed a bit odd, you'd expect him to use the rank.

"Yes?"

"Gregory Lestrade, I am Detective Chief Inspector Kent and I arrest you on suspicion of terrorist activity. You do not have to say anything, but it may harm your defence if you do not mention, when questioned, something which you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence."

He'd just *looked* at him. "You what? For what? It's not April Fool's you know!"

"You are under arrest, please come with me" he'd said and produced a set of cuffs.

The uniform had his hand on his baton, whatever this was could be cleared up later. "OK, no need for those" but they'd gone on anyway and he was in the car quick and neat.

He didn't bother asking any more questions, they'd no more answer him than he would in their place. Instead he racked his brains for what the hell was going on. If it wasn't a paperwork error the only possible answers had one or the other Holmes attached...

------------------

The point man for the close surveillance team had tagged it as an emergency as soon as he'd seen the way Lestrade was moving. He knew a cuffed man's walk when he saw it. The bare facts were on Mycroft Holmes's desk within four and a half minutes of Lestrade being hustled into the car, the location he'd been taken was there before the car's engine had stopped. The rest of the information as to what was going on and why took many agonising hours.

-------------------

The car had dropped him off at a building in Edgeware Road, one of the extensions the terrorist guys had taken over. Out and hustled into a custody suite.

"Look" he'd said as soon as the cuffs were off, "there's been a stuffup somewhere. Someone's mixed up the paperwork, I'm in the job." And he'd reached for his warrant card, hoping that this was a simple wrong name on paperwork.

But the uniform behind him had grabbed him and pushed him against the table. "We know who you are. We know what you are." in a voice cold as ice.

While he was processing that, they ran him through the drill. Empty pockets, remove belt, prints and swab and photos, no un-necessary words, but a lot of nasty looks, then it departed from script.

"Strip" they'd said, one of them holding a bundle of grey shapeless cloth.

Damn, taking his clothes? That meant a long stay.

"How long are you going to keep me? What the hell's going on?" he got no answer of course, but one of the bigger blokes began to move forward.

No point in getting his clothes ripped off him so he stripped - half expecting a cavity search - changed into the t-shirt and trackpants that fitted about as well as you would expect, and was taken to a cell.

Not quite standard issue. Camera, sleeping bench, toilet. Solid door, Judas hole currently closed. But no window. No sounds from outside that he could hear. Solitary cell then.

No watch, no way to know the time, so far so standard. Pressure. And to keep reminding the cop he wasn't a cop anymore.

Be hard to deal with someone who knows the system from the inside. Although.. these were the terrorist boys and they were different. Wider powers, less oversight, and - or so rumour had it - inclined to be cowboys. Could that be it? Some stupidity and he'd been caught in it? May or may not be good, as no one likes to be caught stuffing up.

It was the weekend, no one would be looking for him until Monday unless Sherlock got himself equally arrested. Which he hadn't done for some time...

That you know why you are being kept on ice in a soundproof cell doesn't make it any easier to bear. He was by nature a doer, he wanted to be up and moving, playing squash or football, cleaning the flat, fixing that wobbly chair, doing *something*. At least watching telly was something. That he knew they wanted him off balance and upset and bored wasn't helping the fact he was all of those things.

He decided to try breathing. He'd done a meditation course a while back as suggested by a bod he'd been sort-of involved with. The involvement hadn't lasted but the breathing techniques had helped occasionally when he'd been stressed out.

It took him a while to find the rhythm of it, but when they finally came to get him he was fairly calm. Didn't last long.

He was taken to an interview room, which had the two plainclothes who picked him up, and a pile of documents on the table.

"Interview started 16:30 DCI Kent DS Hislop"

Kent was the older one, the one who had done the actual arresting.

"What am I supposed to have done? What's this terrorism business? I'm a Serious Crimes copper, you must have got the wrong information from somewhere. "

"So, not going to make it easy then? We know what you have been doing."

"More than I do." he said, "I’ve got no idea what this is about."

"We know you have been meeting with known terrorist sympathisers, and taken money from them. Here's the proof."

He looked at the photos. "Never met them. Any of them. Except that one, met him over an investigation last month. But the rest I've never seen. I have no idea what you are on about. You've got the wrong man."

"Don't lie to us. We have photographs, we have marked notes and bank statements, we have witness statements. "

"I don't have a clue what you are on about. I haven't met these people, the only money I've taken comes in a Met pay packet."

They went around like that a couple of times, voices getting louder.

Hislop was in his face now. "We know what you are. What you did. You took money from them, it's all there. Bloody slime you are, they are cop killers. And you.. you got passed over and you sold out."

Lestrade was getting more and more angry. This was bullshit, all their so called evidence was bullshit and now this green young shit with fuck all time in the job was calling him slime?

"We know their plan. We know there are parts of the bomb ready to go. Make you feel big old man to kill coppers with a bomb?"

Lestrade grabbed Hislop's lapels and shoved his face right into the other man's "Listen you little prick, I dunno what the hell you are on about but you are so full of it your eyes are brown!"

With that he flung his arms wide and stepped back from the startled man, before he hit the bastard.

Kent must have hit the panic button, next thing he knew he had been slammed face first into the door frame and was being cuffed behind with what the regs called "unnecessary force"

"That's enough!" said Kent who apparently had some shreds of self respect left. "Take him back to his cell."

"Yes... sir" said Hislop and Lestrade didn't like his tone. Neither did Kent but he did nothing about it.

Lestrade was right to dislike it. They took him back to the cell alright, and laid into him when he got there. Quick but effective, gut and kidneys and a final knee to the balls. As he howled and tried to breathe in their hold they dropped him to the ground and wrapped some cable ties around his ankles leaving him trussed and helpless on the floor.

He had no idea how long he lay there, his gut and back aching, his arms and legs stiffening in the restraints. He was cold, and he hurt and he had no idea what would happen next.

---------------------------------

Mycroft Holmes pondered the information he had so far. Which was very little. An arrest warrant for terrorist offences, obtained and served by a DCI very recently transferred to the anti-terrorist squad from Birmingham. So he wouldn't know who Lestrade was, as a longer serving Met man might,

The evidence as stated on the warrant was enough for an arrest, the report that led to it was more comprehensive and if the information had been correct then it would seem damning. That it was false went without saying as far as Mycroft was concerned but that had to be proven. And he had to get Lestrade out of there, if they thought he was this bent then he would not be having a pleasant time.

There was yet no evidence as to who had planted this or why. Well resourced, and with a desire to deal with Gregory Lestrade. Mycroft had his suspicions but needed more information.

First thing was to make sure the Inspector was alright.

He reached for the telephone.

----------------------------

Eventually the door opened, new faces, but not at all friendly.

They cut the ties, picked him up off the floor and dragged him to another interview room. More bullshit it looked like.

They sat him down and left. Hislop and Kent were already there, folders and photos as before. Round and round we go he thought. Not that he felt all that capable of thinking.

Then what looked like the answer walked in the door. Umbrella and all.

It was one possibility. A fairly vicious revenge combined with getting Gregory Lestrade out of the way forever. Didn't need him now John Watson had Sherlock under control. Funny, he'd thought they'd reached some sort of mutual respect, why all this now? Didn't make sense. He so wanted to wipe his face, rub his eyes, rub his confusion away.

He looked at Holmes, then away. Didn't want to see him, didn't want to be seen by him but no choice there. Prison clothes and bare feet and dirty face covered in snot and tears. Trussed up like a fucking turkey.

"I don't understand, it makes no sense, why?" he muttered, mostly to himself.

"What was that Inspector?" said Holmes.

"I don't understand. What are you doing here? It doesn't make sense. You doing this. You have a perfectly good resignation letter in your files. You didn't need to go through all this. Why would you?"

"Correct on both counts. Which is why I didn't. "

Lestrade blinked at that, struggling to get his head clear. But if it wasn't him....

Kent was looking a bit startled by the exchange, Of course, he had no reason to know there was history with Holmes... And tried to take back control.

"He is still insisting he's innocent, but as you know sir the evidence is very good".

Lestrade would have put his head in his hands if he could have.

"Christ" he said "if the frame is tight enough that *you've* bought it, then I'm dead meat."

Holmes didn't answer, just approached and brought his hand up to Lestrade's face. Lestrade couldn't suppress the flinch and some odd expression passed across Holmes's face for a moment. And was gone, back to Posh Bastard.

He touched a finger to Lestrade's jaw, turning him to the light. Judging by the ache the bruise was probably well coloured up by now. "What happened here?"

"He attacked Sergeant Hislop, and had to be taken down and restrained." That was Kent. True enough as far as it went.

"He said I was a slime who was planning to set off a bomb in the Yard to kill coppers. "

"Remove the restraints please".

Kent didn't like that, began to protest about danger and regulations, got a full on high wattage Posh Bastard So Senior You Would Get A Nosebleed At My Level look which shut him right up. Lestrade could sympathise.

Hislop did the honours, Lestrade staying very still until the things were off and Hislop well out of the way, then he stood up and stretched all over, wincing at the pain of stiff muscles and the bruises under his shirt. He shambled over to the table and poured himself some water, daring them to say anything about it. God it tasted good!

----------------------

Mycroft Holmes fretted at the time it took to get the Inspector out of wherever they had him. It did not show on his face of course.

When they finally took him to an interview room to see the arresting officers and their suspected bent cop with terrorist links he had no idea what he would find, and was certainly not ready for what he saw.

He took in Lestrade's condition with a glance. A bruise blossoming on his face, he'd been hit by something long and thin, a baton or possibly a door frame. Tear and mucus stains on one side of his face, faint dust marks on clothes and hair, he'd been lying on his side for some time while restrained. It was likely he had been beaten then left.

Again, nothing showed on his face. Even when Lestrade appeared to think he'd been responsible, an accusation that cut him so very deeply, he showed no sign. But when Lestrade flinched from his touch, he very nearly lost control.


----------------------------------

Holmes was watching him, just what the hell was the man playing at? If this wasn't his idea, why was he here? To help?

"What have they told you Inspector?"

"Not much. They say I'm associating with various known terrorists, that they've proof I've taken money from them, and that they know I'm involved with at least one plot to blow up the Yard during some conference or other. They showed me some pictures which have to be fake, and that's about it."

"Lay out the photographic evidence please DCI Kent. Thank you. Inspector, please sort through these into those you know are correct, those you know are forgeries, and those you are unsure about."

"This one I remember. Was that Maddox business. He was one of the people who had been there when Maddox met the girl. I remember him because there was something off about him... Not enough to follow up at the time, but there was something. These are definitely fakes because I know that face from the briefing we all got after that bomb scare ballsup at Peterborough and I know I've never met him. These I'm not sure about. I think this one might be real, there's something about the face but the angle makes it hard to tell and there's not enough information in the background to place it. These others I don't recall but I did a lot of legwork in the last two months. Mostly the Maddox business but some because we had a bout of 'flu go through the place and I was down two people."

Holmes took the two he'd classed as fakes and looked over them. "This one is a manipulation. You can see the artist missed a border here so there's a discontinuity where they didn't quite remove something. This one might be as well, there's something not quite right about the light levels." He flipped through the unknowns and selected one. "I think this is the donor, you can see the Inspector's image is very similar, with shadows drawn on here."

Lestrade looked over at Kent who was starting to look a bit green. As well he bloody might! "But who the hell would do it? This is a major hit against someone who is pretty small beer. The mob who took Maddox out? They'd just knife me or shoot me, why such an elaborate frame?"

"Why indeed Inspector. The question is what would have happened to you if I had not intervened?"

Holmes was looking at Kent as he said this, one eyebrow lifted and the horrible smile well in evidence. Kent squirmed, Lestrade hoped he'd never looked that rattled when confronted with Holmes on full song, but he probably had.

"He would be detained while we followed up anything he said. If we thought it might work we'd offer him a deal if he turned."

Lestrade considered that "That's no good to whoever it is, if I'm not in a conspiracy I can't betray it. But if someone said they'd fix the charges if I helped them... that could well work after 21 days cuffed in a cell and my career in ruins."

"Then it seems I interfered too early. Had I waited you would have been able to point out someone who had offered that." Holmes looked around the room, clearly wondering if it was worth throwing Lestrade back in the box to see who came calling. Wondering who would have to keep quiet and if they would.

Hislop. Kent, Lestrade himself. Kent felt clean, Hislop was a cowboy but that didn't mean he was bent. It might work. And it might be the only way to stop whoever it was trying again which would be good because there might not be a Holmes ex Machina next time. But to volunteer would take more courage than he possessed.

Then something struck him "But if they waited until I was ready to go rogue then I'd be useless to them. I wouldn't have a job, even if the charges were secret I'd have been missing for weeks."

"Indeed. So someone would have to have covered that. Which they have done, as I have discovered. You are apparently seconded to a task force in this very building. Your Superintendent has an email confirming it and asking him to see your DCI keeps it all quiet."

Lestrade looked down at his hands, noting the cuff marks absently. He didn't know what to say, what to do. Could he trust Holmes? Was there some twisted tale he didn't have a hope of unravelling that meant he was the patsy and if he went back into that cell he was never coming out? But then why bother? He had no doubt Holmes could have him there or somewhere similar any time he wanted. No, it only made sense if Holmes was being straightforward.

Could he stand it? Alone, bored, hurting, being accused of God knows what, hated by everyone he came in contact with?

"I don't know I'm a good enough actor. And are these two? Whoever it is has to believe I'll turn, which means they have to believe I'm being done over properly."

He couldn't believe he was saying it.

Hislop proved his cowboy status and his stupidity by saying "That won't be a problem." Kent didn't quite roll his eyes at that but it was a near thing.

Holmes turned the horrible little smile on Hislop. "I see Sergeant. I will keep that in mind. And you DCI Kent?"

Kent didn't know where to look, settled for somewhere over Holmes's shoulder. "If it helps us find the terrorist organisation we are sure is targeting the Yard then I will do what is necessary. It shouldn't be too hard to seem to put pressure on Inspector Lestrade if I involve people who don't know the true story." Hah. Inspector now is it. Well Kent knew what side of the bread his butter was on, that was for sure. And he appeared to have abandoned Hislop, did Hislop realise that?

Holmes touched Lestrade's arm gently and drew him to one side, as much out of earshot as possible in the small room, turning so their faces were hidden from the men at the table.

He looked down for a moment, then up and straight into Lestrade's eyes. "And you Inspector? Do you think you can do it? "

Lestrade looked down in his turn. Could he? There wasn't a lot of choice but could he pull it off?

"Inspector" said Holmes very softly "I will be watching over you. I will have a man here, if you need me you will be able to get word to me through him. Or through DCI Kent. I will not abandon you, or allow you to come to harm. And I will have you released if you say the word."

Lestrade looked at him, trying to read him. This was not the Posh Bastard talking now, this was the man he had shaken hands with, the man he'd worked with so easily over Maddox's murder.

"All right.I'll try. It's the only way I can be safe I think. We have to find them, and there's no other link. If they can do all you have said they have to be stopped."

Holmes nodded. And placed his hand on Lestrade's arm, firming his touch for a moment in some kind of... Reassurance? Benediction? Approval? Lestrade didn't know but it felt somehow right.

-----------------------

Mycroft Holmes left the room, his stomach in knots. He had known Lestrade was bright enough to see what the answer must be, and brave enough to do what was needed. "If I'm a target I'm a target! It's part of the job." he'd said and he'd meant it. But there was a world of difference between the open street and being held in a cell under strict secrecy at the mercy of anyone who cared to enter.

That he'd left Lestrade there ate at him, but it had to be done.

There had to be someone relatively senior in this anti-terrorist unit who was involved, that would need to be investigated. He had left Kent in no doubt as to whose orders he should be obeying but that stupid man Hislop was not to be trusted, he would have to be dealt with immediately.

Which made Mycroft Holmes feel somewhat better.

==================

He was back in the cell, unrestrained at least. To stretch out was a wonderful comfort, he wondered how long it would last. And how much sleep he would get. And what food if any.

He'd once brought in a right prick of a man when he was in uniform, a bloke who had been building himself a little gang, lording it about and charging the small traders protection. He'd clearly had connections to other bigger gangs and his sergeant had said "We need to soften him up a bit before CID get to him, watch and learn."

He'd learned then all the ways you can make a prisoner's life hell within the letter of the law. The ways you can be sure they don't get any sleep. Feeding them cold inedible food and warm brackish water. Taking them for "interview" meaning cuffing them and leaving them that way in a room for a while, with palms out and cuffs too tight. Even making sure the plumbing doesn't work! "Easier in a remand prison, less oversight, but seeing as Brixton's full as a boot at the moment we do what we can here."

Lestrade hadn't felt right about it, even though the man was a complete waste of space. Brutalisation wasn't what he'd joined the Met for.

His sergeant knew that he realised later, but made him do it anyway.

To teach him the limits, and that he'd better have a damn good reason to go beyond them. And to know when someone else was doing it... He'd heard a few years later that someone in that very nick had been raked over by Internal Affairs for doing similar things to some protesters. Handed over by that same sergeant. Always had his own view of policing had Sergeant Hastings.

Knowing what is going on is supposed to help in dealing with it, but he wasn't finding it so. He saw Mycroft's man now and then, and DCI Kent sat in on a couple of the interview sessions (looking damned uncomfortable about it) but so far he'd managed to keep going and not call for help. Knowing he could did seem to make it a bit easier to keep going one more day.

They badgered him about terrorists and meetings and bank accounts and phones and SIM cards, and people he'd never heard of. He didn't have to fake his confusion or his anger. He hoped he was faking his despair, he didn't know anymore.

Then late one night (he thought it was night he hadn't seen the sky since he'd got here, the light was on but they did that a lot, part of the sleeplessness thing), the door opened. He thought it was for another interview session, but the man who came in was a new face and he shut the door after him after making a bit of a show of checking the corridor. He then reached into his coat and brought out a packet of sandwiches and a can of Coke, handing both to Lestrade. "The camera is out of action for a bit. So we can talk."

Lestrade took the food and tore into it. Yeah, could be strychnine, he didn't damn well care. "Talk about what?" he said around a mouthful of roast beef and mustard.

"About getting you out of here and shoving it to these bastards."

Lestrade chewed, waiting for more.

"Look it's obvious someone's done you over, right? And these pricks they don't care, you are just another tick on their performance charts. "Yes Minister look how many we've got, give us more money." If they can make you confess then they've got another one and trumpet it all over the papers. The Met's got no loyalty to you or they'd have been here sorting it out."

Lestrade swallowed and said "yeah well no one gives a shit I can tell that much"

"Want to get the bastards?"

Lestrade narrowed his eyes. Can't look too eager.

"How?"

"They reckon you were going to hit the Yard, so they did this to you. Well, maybe they deserve to be right eh?"

"What, you mean do what they say I was planning? Get a bomb in?"

"Exactly. It's not as if there's any point in being loyal to the bastards is there? What's the Met done for you? Left you to rot in here for the cowboys to pretend to be the CIA. Hell, they'd waterboard you if they were allowed to play with water without adult supervision."

Lestrade snorted. "Yeah, got that right. But how the hell can I blow up anywhere from in here? And even if they let me out tomorrow I wouldn't have a job to go back to."

"The job we can take care of. These guys pulled you in and did you over on a couple of dodgy photos and their own arrogance. Didn't check their facts and ran right over an innocent man. Once that's clear then they'll fall all over themselves to make it right. You'll get official communication that you will be on stress leave for a couple of weeks. Where you can work off the stress by learning how to blow the pricks up!"

Lestrade grinned at him. Yeah, perfect. Just what I want. You to take me to your leader... or at least to your organisation. "Yeah. that sounds good. I'd make the biggest fucking bomb you have ever seen. Because fuck the Met. Fuck 'em right over."

"Damn right! Fuck 'em. Want more of that beef?"

"shit yeah!"

Lestrade inhaled the second sandwich as fast as he'd done the first. He hadn't realised how much edible food mattered.

"So how's it going to work?"

"You hang in there. They are about to find out they've fucked up and you'll be out of here and home free. We'll contact you soon after."

Lestrade thought he'd have to be far more out of it than he was (or was supposed to be) not to wonder how the dodgy evidence had turned up in the first place, but if they weren't asking why he wasn't asking, he wasn't going to remind them.


"Contact me?"

"Yeah, you'll know it when you get it, don't worry. OK, time's up I've gotta get out of here before they notice the camera's dodgy. Hang in there, you'll get the bastards soon!"

And he was gone. Lestrade had only managed half the can before the man had left taking it with him, but that was more sugar and caffeine than he'd had in what felt like years. That and the buzz of finally getting somewhere had him practically bouncing off the walls. He'd best calm down or they'd notice something wrong, so he forced himself to lie on the bench and get his breathing under control.

==========================

He was given his clothes and possessions back, and spent a few moments in a room with some senior officers who either wouldn't look him in the eye or overdid the false bonhomie. Kent said in the fewest possible words that all charges had been dropped and he'd been granted two weeks stress leave.

No one mentioned compensation, they probably hoped he wouldn't think of it. Lestrade didn't bother to crow, he just wanted out. Out and away from these cowboys, these useless excuses for coppers.

Out he got, looking at the sky as though he'd never seen it before. He wasn't seeing it now, cloudy as usual, but still it wasn't the ceiling of the bloody nick and that was enough for him.

He briefly wondered if he'd see the car, but no of course not. They'd be watching him, if Holmes was going to debrief him it would have to be stealthier than that.

When he got home he was surprised to see the place was sparkling clean (later he found they'd even washed the curtains) and there was fresh fruit in a bowl on the table. Next to two insulated containers.

He wasn't surprised to see a note. Which said "I have taken the liberty of providing dinner. Tomorrow morning at 10 please go to the Tescos on the Kilburn High Street where Davies will meet you. MH"

The insulated boxes proved to contain a bowl of excellent lamb curry and a couple of bottles of Young's Bitter to go with it. He would have spent longer under the shower but he was starving.

After dinner eaten in decadent sloth on the couch watching Die Hard because it made him feel good, he dressed in clean comfortable pyjamas, climbed into a clean comfortable, wonderfully familiar bed and slept in the welcoming dark. If he had any dreams he didn't remember them.

(And if he wished for (while nearly asleep) someone to have greeted him and hugged him and looked after him while he dealt with the memory of horror, well it was no more than he had wished for a thousand times before. And he was by no means the only one with a stressful job and difficult hours who wished for that.)

=====================

"Ah Inspector" said Holmes, getting to his feet and extending his hand. "I am glad to see you safe and sound. They took longer than I expected to contact you."

"Longer than I liked too... I still don't get it though. Why me? Must be heaps of coppers they could have picked."

"I am certain it is to do with the people Maddox was investigating. To use you means you get punished for annoying them, and I have no doubt you are meant to end up dead but recognisable in the explosion."

"They said they'd contact me soon after I got out. The bods who signed me out said I had a couple of weeks leave. Guess that gives me time to look more human before I go back to work."

He'd seen himself in the mirror last night before his shower. He'd lost weight and not in a good way, had bags under his bloodshot eyes, lifeless straggly hair in need of a cut and a few bruises from an episode in the showers which looked accidental and definitely wasn't.

He looked a little better in the morning, but only a little.

"We were able to track the man who contacted you, he's another lead to them, but we don't want to pull that thread too soon."

Anthea appeared with coffee and pastries, eyes raking over him as she set them down. Some sort of wordless communication between her and Holmes and she left.

It seemed he was still food focused. The coffee and pastries sent him into sensual bliss. He tried to eat them slowly and enjoy it, but it was hard.

He looked up to see Holmes watching him, an unreadable expression on his face. Holmes reached out to the hand not occupied with coffee and pushed back the sleeve. There were no cuff bruises there now, just faint lines on the skin. "You were moving... stiffly when you walked in Inspector, and you are sitting slightly askew in the chair. Were you..ah.. manhandled after we talked? I received no reports of any such thing."

"They didn't repeat the thumping, just did the sorts of things you can do within the letter of the law which are bad enough. There was a bit of a shove in the showers, having a go at me for being rogue I think, rather than anything official."

"No names? Ah, I suppose not. Never mind, it will keep. You may be pleased to know that Sergeant Hislop has been posted to the burglary squad in Tower Hamlets. Your old friend Superintendent Darton may have been told he needs a bit of knocking into shape."

Lestrade grinned. Tommy was known for disliking young squirts who hadn't done enough time in uniform and he was willing to bet Hislop had only done the minimum. He'd get some old fashioned policing under Tommy that's for sure.

"Of course if you think he isn't suitable for the police I can arrange for him to be fired. And to have trouble getting another job."

Lestrade blinked at that. While it was tempting, it was also a little close to home. "That won't be necessary. If he can't handle what Tommy throws at him, he'll quit soon enough."

He ate most of the pastries, only wincing once when he moved quickly to catch a piece that flaked off. Holmes had that odd expression on his face again.

They didn't speak much, not having much to talk about, and anyway Lestrade was eating. When he'd finished Holmes delicately asked if he had enough money to tide him over. "Are my accounts frozen?" he asked, it not having occurred to him.

"I believe so, I don't want to reverse it myself as I suspect the people we are after may get wind of that. They were able to produce evidence of payments after all."

Lestrade was rather uncomfortably reminded of someone else who had walked all over his finances, and he suspected Holmes was remembering that too... but still there was the question of cash. He checked his wallet. "I have 30 quid. The haircut will leave me a bit short."

Holmes went over to his desk, opened a drawer and pulled out a wad of cash. Ten 20 pound notes were placed neatly in front of Lestrade. "Government money Inspector, take it with a clear conscience."

"One last thing Inspector. Please go and visit Sherlock today."

"Sherlock? Why? I'm on leave, I can't help him with anything."

Holmes touched a couple of buttons on his phone and showed the screen to Lestrade.

"You have Lestrade - SH" it said.

"He initiated contact, a thing he almost never does. He usually waits for me to contact him, for him to not only contact me but demand conversation is highly unusual."

Lestrade couldn't see that as demanding conversation, but between Holmeses it was no doubt the equivalent of a four page letter.

"I was obliged to explain the circumstances and the difficulties, and only persuaded him to refrain from breaking in and rescuing you by promising him regular updates and that you would see him as soon as you were released."

Lestrade just stared at him. "You are joking! Sherlock? The most self-centred git on Earth?"

"While I am inclined to agree with you about that Inspector, in this case you do him an injustice. He has always been... different when it comes to you. Ending his drug habit for example. Or in the case where you were injured, he expressed his concern by making sure the case was properly finished."

"I thought that was you, pressuring him to help."

"I am afraid I don't have that sort of influence over him. No, helping to finalise that despite DI Halford's manifest inadequacies was entirely his own idea."

Lestrade shook his head. Just when he thought he understood Holmeses...

"I'll drop by on my way home and reassure him I'm in one piece and it wasn't your fault." he said.

======================================

He got his hair cut after leaving Holmes, preferring to be reasonably presentable when dealing with Sherlock.

He had not expected a tearful reunion, and didn't get one. He stuck his head around the door of Sherlock's flat to see no sign of the Doctor and Sherlock hunched over his laptop banging away at the keys and muttering to himself.

He hadn’t got two steps in when Sherlock said, without looking up, "Mycroft said you were coming over. And that you were perfectly fine. Are you?"

"Pretty much." he said.

"Good. Are there any cases for me?"

"I'm on leave until the 10th, so no idea."

That got him a snort of annoyance, and a demand for tea. Which he managed to make, blessing the Doctor for bringing some kind of order to the kitchen.

Sherlock looked him over as he returned with tea, demanded to see the bruises he'd deduced were there, and wanted a thorough description of how and when they'd been inflicted and what he'd done to doctor them. It wasn't the first time Lestrade had been an entry in Sherlock's mental catalogue of the effects of violence, maybe it *was* as close as the man could get to expressing concern.

===================

Lestrade spent the rest of the weekend out and about, having had far too much time indoors in the last three weeks. He kicked a ball about in the local park, had a couple of games of squash, and did a lot of walking.

He received a short letter on Monday confirming his stress leave, so now he just had to wait for someone to collect him for his bomb making course.

Which happened on the Tuesday, they were not wasting time.

Just before he'd left Holmes he'd been handed a new phone. "This has a GPS tracker Inspector so we know where you are at all times. And this device is an audio transmitter that will stream to our server, the battery is good for more than 6 hours, so turn it on when you are contacted."

It made sense, and he did feel a lot better with the tracker on him, although he did wonder what Holmes's people had made of his trip on the tourist sightseeing bus. Travelling around London with a bunch of happy strangers was a good antidote to prison he found.

He did fleetingly wonder when he'd decided having Holmes know where he was was a *good* thing, but only fleetingly. It is amazing how a spell in a soundproof cell realising no one knows where you are changes your perspective.

So when he was contacted by the same man who had visited him in the cell he went willingly. And wired.

They headed off to an industrial area vaguely near the river, into a ratty brick building with no visible names or numbers on it.

Inside the building were two men and a bunch of electricals and chemicals. They gave him names that were probably lies, and began the lesson in assembling the thing in front of them. He actively participated while pretending to be a bit thick trying for talk and description to give the listeners something to chew on.

About halfway through Lestrade realised two things. One, he didn't know when Holmes was planning to raid the place, and two, one of the men was looking at a laptop and frowning, looking at him, and frowning. Which was Not Good.

"Something up mate?" he asked, hoping the listeners were indeed listening.

"There's something sending data in here" said the bloke with the laptop.

Lestrade leant against the table trying like hell to look innocent and vaguely interested and not like he was scanning for weapons and exits. Chunk of waterpipe was the closest weapon, the one exit was a bit far away and there were two bodies between him and it. Toilet over the other end so that excuse no good.

"The bastard's wired!" said the man with the laptop, which gingered the other two right up. Lestrade lunged for the bit of piping but one of the men realised what he was doing and went for it too.

They wrestled for it for a second then Lestrade dropped the bit he was holding and grabbed his opponent's head, smashing his own into it in a neatly executed Glasgow Kiss. That made him drop the piping alright but the others were on him now.

He lashed out with fists and feet yelling "Fuck Fuck Fuck" because yelling "they are attacking me" would take too much breath. He had no idea if Holmes's men were nearby or listening in horror across town, he was just trying for the exit.

He got clear and ran, hoping no one had a gun or a knife, because "clear" meant a step or so in front of pursuit. Something hit him in the side, knocking him off his feet, he rolled and tried to get back up.

They were on him though, he kicked sideways at a knee and connected, spinning the attacker around but not dropping him. He used the motion to try and flip backwards but he was no gymnast and while he escaped one grab, he didn't escape the next. A boot in the back had him seeing stars but he managed to get his head out of the way of the next strike.

Suddenly yells and whistles and that stopped the thugs for a moment, long enough for him to scramble to his feet and stagger out of reach, long enough to straighten up and grab a chair as a weapon. He yelled "In here!" at the top of his lungs, the thugs turned to leg it. But one of them detoured in the direction of the bomb, that was not on!

Lestrade heaved the chair at him, then followed up as fast as he could, crashing into the man with no real plan but "stop him!". They rolled on the floor with limbs smashing into table legs and heads hitting the floor, grabbing and gouging and no science to it at all.

Then a forest of feet, and hands grabbing them. It took a moment for him to realise the cavalry had arrived, when he did he stopped fighting them and went limp with relief.

Whoever had hold of him assisted him to his feet and patted him down. He looked around, all three thugs in custody and two men looking over the bomb parts with what appeared to be more than idle curiosity so presumably they were safe with it.

He shrugged the hands off, and made inventory. All body parts present, correct and working. His back hurt from the kick but no real damage, his ribs hurt but not enough to be broken, he'd got out of it well enough.

And there was Holmes, striding through the mess a look of distaste for such surroundings on his face. Which changed to something approaching relief when he caught sight of Lestrade.

"It is a pity they found the transmitter Inspector but we now have a lot more to go on. The equipment in the bomb, the three men, the paperwork for this building, the car, some computers... Now are you hurt?"

"A few bruises is all Mr Holmes, nothing a good lunch won't fix."

"Well then Inspector, let us go and find some lunch."

It is a measure of how far they'd come that lunch with Mycroft Holmes seemed like a very good idea indeed.


Part Nine: Resolution   

=============================

Author’s Note: I have played very fast and loose with the UK’s laws on the rights of terrorist suspects, including how long they can be held, and their access to lawyers. I also apologise to the Metropolitan Police for my intimation they’d behave in this unprofessional manner. Although every force has its share of wankers.

Date: 2010-12-09 11:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] stellary.livejournal.com
I winced and gasped and laughed (or tried desperately to rein the uncontrollable urge to do so) and exclaimed silently "noooooo"s and "awwwww"s.

Even when Lestrade appeared to think he'd been responsible, an accusation that cut him so very deeply, he showed no sign. But when Lestrade flinched from his touch, he very nearly lost control.

Oh Mycroft.......! This bit had my heart skip several beats! WHEN WILL THEY REALIZE THERE IS SOMETHING BETWEEN THEM THESE TWO BEAUTIFULLY INFURIATING MEN?

I cheered at Sherlock's appearance and his oblique way of caring. And the reference to John was happy-making as well.

Every chapter is such a wonderful journey with these two incredible individuals that I want this to never end.

Date: 2010-12-10 03:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bugeyedmonster.livejournal.com
I saw you updated this and I went "Yeah!" before I had even clicked on the link.

Date: 2010-12-10 06:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bugeyedmonster.livejournal.com
Loved this recent chapter. Looking forward to more.

And I vote for this being a prelude to Mycroft/Lestrade. I think Mycroft needs someone 'reliable' and openly honest like Lestrade. After all that politicking double dealing someone like Lestrade would probably be refreshing to come home to.

(Sherlock-muse is going grammer Nazi over my ending a sentence with a proposition. And yes, Sherlock I know I misspelled grammar and I don't care either.)

Eagerly anticipating the next installment.

Date: 2010-12-10 08:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] randomly-rusted.livejournal.com
Oh I think Mycroft.knows what he wants. He has since the events of Power Corrupts. But it does take two to tango.

Date: 2010-12-11 02:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bugeyedmonster.livejournal.com
I think Lestrade would have a little ways to go in order to trust Mycroft so closely. But he could get there.

And your darned two to tango comment gave me an odd dream. Lestrade and Mycroft in shirt sleeves, ties removed (and Mycroft had removed his shoes.) Mycroft was teaching Lestrade some slow dance moves. Argh. You haz contaminated my brains...

Date: 2010-12-10 11:47 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I've been following this series since I stumbled across it a few weeks ago. I love your spare but quirky writing style and your internal voices. I really enjoyed this installment -- it nearly made me late for work, because who can delay this kind of gratification?

undun

Date: 2010-12-10 04:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rusty-armour.livejournal.com
I squealed in delight as soon as I discovered that a new installment had been posted! :-) I was able to read a lot of this story with breakfast as I've taken the day off. In fact, I decided it was time I had breakfast, so that I would have an excuse to read this. *g*

While I usually have a hard time reading anything set in prisons, I was okay with this fic because I knew Mycroft would show up to save Lestrade. Then, even when Lestrade decided to stay in order to ensnare the real terrorists, I had the comfort of knowing that Mycroft was carefully monitoring the situation. I thought that scene where Mycroft comes to visit the interview room was handled extremely well. I can understand how Lestrade might think the other shoe had dropped and assume that Mycroft was behind everything. I love the way Mycroft was able to remain expressionless when Lestrade made that accusation but had to touch his face in order to examine the bruising. I also think it's great that we get Mycroft's POV on the situation and know how much the accusation and Lestrade's flinch hurt him.

Okay, I'll try to wrap this up before it turns into an essay. I guess the one thing that struck me about this story is how much it revealed about the characters. We really get an excellent measure of Lestrade and his virtues. Although the thought of being imprisoned is horrifying, he has the strength and courage to see it through because it's the one way he can catch the terrorists and because he knows it's right. In the case of Sherlock, we learn that he cares a lot more about Lestrade than Lestrade realized, which is one of the things I found most touching about this fic. My heart melted a little when Mycroft showed Lestrade that text message and told him that Sherlock had insisted on receiving frequent updates on the situation. Better still, Sherlock wanted to see Lestrade as soon as he was released, as if he required physical proof of Lestrade's well-being. Even when Sherlock seems indifferent during Lestrade's visit, he still carefully catalogues the visible signs of Lestrade's suffering and insists on details about the bruises, which I don't think was completely out of academic interest. Lastly, there's the wonderful Mycroft, who keeps a calm head despite everything that's happened to the man he cares about. Although a lot of the seemingly cool detachment is part of his character, I think he may have kept some distance for Lestrade's sake, as Lestrade obviously still has some trust issues. All the same, it was interesting that Lestrade had been hoping for more than a hot meal when he finally got home and didn't seem to have any problem suggesting that Mycroft take him out for lunch. *g*

Date: 2010-12-11 01:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] stellary.livejournal.com
Oh yes, the Mycroft POV bits were really fantastic! I forgot to mention that in my comment.

Date: 2010-12-11 02:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rusty-armour.livejournal.com
Well, I really like what you said in your comment, [livejournal.com profile] stellacy. I find myself wishing that I'd written this because I agree with it entirely:

Every chapter is such a wonderful journey with these two incredible individuals that I want this to never end.

Date: 2010-12-11 06:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] randomly-rusted.livejournal.com
Thank you both for the kind words.

I have been enjoying exploring the relationship.

I now have to work out what happens next. Or rather i think I know what happens, but not how it does...

Date: 2010-12-10 04:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] blooms84.livejournal.com
just finished reading for the second time (so I could enjoy the gorgeous dialogue again) and still have the same rush of adrenaline as the first time. loved the interactions of all the characters this time--as I always love the L and M interactions--but you have some nicely drawn extras--bloody Hislop!--here and the plot moves along at a great clip. I so admire your use of language and knowledge of the system. But most of all, I have to admit (sorry, am a disgusting romantic when it comes to Mystrade) I love the way the two men keep inching closer, but are still unsure of each other--still not quite trusting. The use of hunger and food references scattered throughout again is great, and Lestrade wishing someone were welcoming him home (sigh), the physical toll that the time in the cell takes on L is really well described, Die Hard reference--always a treat--and the really perfectly played vision of Sherlock and his concern. Okay, must steel myself to wait for the next installment. Hope you enjoy wriiting these as much as your fans enjoy reading them.

Date: 2010-12-15 09:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] randomly-rusted.livejournal.com
I'm enjoying writing them, just wish they were easier to write!

Framed just spilled onto the page, Damned If You Do took weeks to even start to come together, and I think Part 9 is going to be the same.

Date: 2010-12-10 07:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] outofmymind.livejournal.com
Just wanted to say how thrilled I am that you've continued this series; there can never be enough fic focused on Mycroft and Lestrade. Loved this installment and I can't wait to see where you're headed with it.

Date: 2010-12-13 01:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] seren-ccd.livejournal.com
I just inhaled this series this morning and it is fantastic. Your handle on Lestrade is simply masterful. Mycroft is a wonderful set of contradictions. Their relationship is intense and you've drawn me in completely.

Date: 2010-12-15 09:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] randomly-rusted.livejournal.com
I had some idea where it was going when I started but it went in directions I wasn't expecting.

I'm learning more about both men as I write, the problem is working out how they get where they are going.

I certainly am finding Mycroft a far more complex man than Lestrade, and a far more complex man than I thought he was when I started.

Lestrade is still my favourite but Mycroft is growing on me.

I had no idea what this was going to turn into when I wrote Part One!

Date: 2010-12-16 07:47 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
This serious is brilliant. You have developed two solid and real characters and the way you are slowly building the trust between them is ideal. Can't wait for the next installment. Will have to read the serious again while I wait. I love this pairing and you can't find enough well written Mystrade out there.

Date: 2010-12-17 01:10 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] randomly-rusted.livejournal.com
Thank you! There are a few Mystrade people, but I think I'm the only one doing a series about them.

Date: 2010-12-19 01:13 pm (UTC)
ender24: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ender24
been rereading this chapter like nearly every night since you posted.
mere words are not good enough, to describe how much i like your mycroft and lestrade voices, and the confusion and pain they are both in here!
plus added sherlock is great!
concerned sherlock for lestrade is brilliant!

Date: 2011-01-02 01:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] randomly-rusted.livejournal.com
Glad you liked Sherlock. Thought I had to have him notice something was going on!

Date: 2010-12-30 09:37 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I love this series. There is just not enough very well written Mystrade out there. You have developed the characters wonderfully. They are so in character and believable. I love both your character voices, but I have a soft spot for Mycroft and so I especially love how you are developing him, he is still the "British Government" all seeing and powerfull, but Lestrade is teaching him to be a little more not (in personal situations), but still be himself.

I just cannot wait for the next installment. No pressure.

Date: 2011-01-02 01:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] randomly-rusted.livejournal.com
Happy you like it! I'm getting more into Mycroft as time goes on.

Reliable9 is still being planned, as no approach I've tried so far has worked. It will happen, but no idea when....

Date: 2011-01-11 02:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] alai5.livejournal.com
I really like it! this is the best fiction i read in ages and hope you continue.
I added you and i hope you don't mind.

Date: 2011-01-11 03:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] randomly-rusted.livejournal.com
I'm very happy you liked it! Friending me is fine, it's a fic journal so the best way to see stuff.

Date: 2011-02-01 08:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] red-chapel.livejournal.com
I just discovered this series -- loved it all and have to know: Is there more?

Date: 2011-02-01 09:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] randomly-rusted.livejournal.com
part 9 is on the go but is proving difficult. It is going to be a while longer yet but it is coming.

Yay for action!

Date: 2011-02-05 07:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] weefreethings.livejournal.com
For 7500 words, this was a remarkably quick read! Great mix of drama and action, especially the scene where Lestrade has to fight off the thugs and keep them off the bomb at the end. You've done a great job showing that, although he's no James Bond, he's well-trained, healthy, and most of all, determined. And best of all, Mycroft got to see some of it. Mycroft's growing affection for Lestrade is all the more tragic for being so understated. How much of Lestrade's decision to remain in prison, disgraced and at the mercy of the “cowboys” is based on trust in Mycroft and how much is just plain duty? Poor Mycroft, this must be driving him nuts! :( I suppose it serves him right, but still...

The part where Mycroft watches Lestrade eating the pastries is kind of funny. Perhaps the path to Lestrade's heart is through his stomach! If so, will Mycroft manage to behave himself through lunch? What would Miles Vorkosigan do in this situation? Something that we would all regret, I am sure.

I like the sinister unnamed underground conspiracy which you so carefully do not name or characterize (S.P.E.C.T.R.E., Fulcrum, Cobra?). I'm convinced that spiffy evil super-spy organizations are just the thing for Mycroft-centered fic. They will keep him livelier than his 18th century counterpart (who still had the other players of the Great Game to contend with) and that's much safer than diet pills for keeping his weight down.

Good luck with the writing! Don't get discouraged!

Re: Yay for action!

Date: 2011-02-05 07:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] randomly-rusted.livejournal.com
Mycroft knows what he wants, he just has (for once) no idea how to get it. He is thinking hard about it though...

At that particular moment Lestrade would have been anyone's for a really good meal but he's not always quite so easily managed!

Date: 2011-02-11 11:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nathcoelho.livejournal.com

I lost cont how many times i said: Poor Lestrade
but well
poor him!
Glad that he got out of that in one piece!
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