Chapter 3 Plans
Lestrade absently fingered the tarnished crucifix. His grandmother had always worn it on a long gold chain. One of his earliest memories was of climbing on her lap and twisting the necklace in his chubby fist. Sometimes he wondered if the little man on the cross was sad. The thought had made him sad, but his grandmother told him Jesus loved everyone, and that had cheered him up.
When Sherlock was in the hospital suffering the aftereffects of hypothermia, a broken leg, and pneumonia, Lestrade had gone looking for it and found it in a box of bits and bobs shoved in the back of his bedroom closet. He recalled how, as a boy, he had thought his grandmother's neck was too frail to support such a heavy object. The truth was, the crucifix was small and light.
Funny how time can change your perspective. Lestrade tossed the crucifix in his top desk drawer among the paperclips. The way the world was and with crime on the rise, he decided to keep it close at hand.
"Greg? Got a minute?" DI Lisa Adams rapped sharply on his open door.
"Sure thing, have a seat." With a boyish smile, Lestrade gestured to the chair across from him. "What's up?"
He and Adams had risen in the ranks together. She was a go-getter who had neatly achieved a balance between being a bull-nosed cop and someone who could negotiate bureau politics, something he hadn't always been successful at. Over the years they occasionally met up to compare notes on the Met, talk about their superiors, and review cases. There may have been some harmless flirting involved, more on his side than hers, but nothing ever came of it. Still, he could appreciate how her dark pencil skirt and Wedgewood blue blouse highlighted all of her curves.
"Sherlock Holmes has worked with you on a few cases, right?" It was apparent she was all business today, so he responded in kind.
"Then you should know I arrested him for murder last night."
"Murder?" Lestrade felt the air leave his lungs as if he had gotten punched in the breadbasket. "What the bloody hell do you mean Sherlock is under arrest for murder?"
The attractive redhead sent a file folder scooting across the desk with a swoosh. ""I know you still like to look at cases on paper."
Snatching his reading glasses from his shirt pocket, Lestrade quickly scanned the notes. "Give me the lowdown."
"Pretty open-and-shut. He was seen over the body holding a knife. The victim's blood was on his hands and shirt. CID retrieved some fibers from under the vic's fingernails and odds are they are from Holmes' coat. He doesn't deny there will be physical evidence." She frowned. "In fact, he pointed it all out to us."
"And what does he say happened? I'm assuming he didn't confess."
"He heard a scuffle in the alley next to the flophouse he was crashing in and discovered the victim. Says he saw two people fleeing the scene and that he got blood on himself handling the victim."
Lestrade sighed in relief. "So the evidence is circumstantial and supports what he says happened. There's more than a reasonable doubt."
"I know he's a . . . friend." Adams threw him a sympathetic glance. "But Holmes was as high as a kite when I questioned him, so his memory is suspect at best. And he had a motive."
That wasn't what Lestrade had expected to hear. "A motive?"
"At first it looked like a drug deal gone bad or that Holmes had robbed the man for drug money"—she held up her hand to stop her friend's pending interruption—"but we've identified the vic as Evan Kincaid, director of the Jilbert Foundation. Holmes had a run in with him at a party earlier and punched the guy flat on his ass."
"Apparently Kincaid was pawing Holmes' girlfriend. I talked to one of the waiters who worked the party this morning."
Lestrade quickly calculated that the party in question had to be the reception for Molly that John had mentioned to him a week ago. He would get all the details from the doctor later. Right now he had to focus on the facts.
"All right, I know why Sherlock was in that part of town. Do you know why Kincaid was there?"
Adams smirked. "I'm leaving that bit of detective work up to you. I can tell you there weren't any recent texts or calls on Kincaid's mobile arranging a meeting. Holmes claims he had been in the flophouse next to the alley, which at this point I can't prove or disprove. It would take CID about a year to go through the filth in that place." She chuckled. "I thought about putting Anderson on it."
"Remind me not to cross you." In spite of the seriousness of the situation, Lestrade cracked a smile.
"I've made all the arrangements. The case is yours." Adams stood and walked to the door. "Actually, I think I'm dodging a bullet. Seems like a can of worms to me with his family connections and all, but you can buy me a pint sometime. See you later, Greg."
He sat silently for several minutes after she had left. Sherlock Holmes had come into his life an addict, but Lestrade had recognized the younger man's amazing ability to observe and deduce. He offered Sherlock a deal: If he cleaned up his act, Lestrade would feed him interesting cases to solve. Other cops at the Met had questioned his decision; several spoke derisively of the consulting detective, but Lestrade knew jealousy when he heard it. He, on the other hand, didn't resent Sherlock. No, he was proud of him. Lestrade had once told his wife he didn't want to become like that Salieri, that "idiot composer who was threatened by Mozart in that movie," but she wasn't listening.
Lestrade's shoulders slumped at the memory. The rescuer. That's what his now-ex wife called him.
"You always need to rush out and save someone," she had bitterly said as she packed her suitcase to leave him. "Except you don't see the one person standing in front of you."
Perhaps she was right. When he was old and daft, he could talk to a psychiatrist about it, but for now, Lestrade formulated a few plans.
Jesus loves everyone. Even Sherlock Holmes.
He grabbed his mobile and tapped his foot impatiently waiting for the person on the other end to pick up. "I need to speak with Mycroft Holmes."
"Thank God you're here," Sherlock snapped. "Get me out of here."
Filled with sadness and anger, Lestrade took in Sherlock's rough state. Compared to the dapper man he had known only months earlier, it was a night and day difference. Rail thin, Sherlock's dirty white shirt ballooned away from him. But it wasn't just his appearance that disappointed Lestrade. The renowned consulting detective—"the foremost champion of law," as John Watson once called him—sat handcuffed across the table from him in the interview room like the ordinary junkie he was.
"I don't know what you're talking about, mate." Lestrade folded his arms across his chest. "I was just assigned this murder."
Sherlock guffawed. "You can't possibly think I did it. Even you can't be so stupid—"
Leaning forward dangerously, Lestrade didn't miss a beat. "Tread very lightly here, Sherlock. You don't have many friends right now. Or should I say, any friends right now. You look like hell, by the way."
Scowling, Sherlock stared deliberately at the opposite wall. "I'm sure I do, so if you'll release me I'll be on my way."
"That's not going to happen. I've reviewed the evidence against you. It may be circumstantial, but it makes the case against you. I can't pretend it doesn't."
"Fine. I will call Aaron Selmy of the firm Edwards, Johnson, and Selmy. He has served my family for years. I will be out within the day." Sherlock jutted out his chin.
"Yeah, about that." Lestrade scratched his scruffy five o'clock shadow. "Mycroft may have washed his hands of you, but he still cares in his own way. He said to tell you that the family wouldn't be paying any of your legal fees."
"What?" The consulting detective sputtered. "Fine. At my initial hearing, I'll request legal aid. And after I get bail—"
"Your brother has a lot of power, did you know that?" Lestrade interrupted, eyeing Sherlock carefully. He was displaying all the signs that he needed another fix. "When you do have your hearing, you won't get bail. Mycroft has seen to that already. And while you're the queen's guest, you will go through a medically supervised detox."
For the first time Sherlock looked apprehensive. "You can't do that."
"Illegal?" Lestrade raised his eyebrows. "I have known Mycroft to do one or two illegal things for you in the past."
"This is preposterous!" Sherlock's panic was rising. "You can't do this to me."
"Wait a minute! The case against you wasn't something we created. So while we have this chance, we're going to do whatever it takes to save your life," Lestrade thundered.
"You think it is saving my life to throw me in prison?" Sherlock countered, his eyes shifting side to side.
Lestrade remained calm. "While you are getting clean and hopefully regaining your sanity, I am going to throw everything I have at this investigation. If what you say is true, I will find the proof to bear that out. In the meantime, I have to ask you: Did you kill Kincaid?"
He braced for Sherlock's vitriol, but none came. Instead the genius sleuth lowered his chin to his chest. Whether it was the result of coming off the high, the drop in his adrenaline, or sheer exhaustion, Sherlock's bravado had disappeared.
"No, I didn't." His voice was barely audible. "I may deserve to have lost everyone's good opinion, but I am not so far gone that I've become a murderer."
Swallowing hard didn't make the lump in his throat go away. Lestrade pushed his chair back.
"It may seem like I'm throwing you in prison, but I'm not heartless, yeah? I have a plan." He walked to the door. "I knew he wouldn't answer if he saw your number pop up, so I called him."
Lestrade stepped aside to let John Watson enter the room.
Lestrade's hasty message had sent John sprinting out the door. Sherlock, arrested for murder? The thought left him sick to his stomach. He would love to think there was no way that was possible, but he couldn't lie to himself like that. As much as he hated to admit it, John didn't know this Sherlock.
His heart racing, he had thought long and hard about what he would say to his best friend—can I call him my best friend still?—on the cab ride over to the Met. He didn't know which Sherlock would be in the interrogation room—the stoned addict who had caused a scene at his wedding? The arrogant, frustrating man he had met so many years earlier? The belligerent idiot who had been so cruel to Molly at the intervention? A wellspring of conflicting emotions, John tried to keep his face stoic when he brushed by Greg and entered the room.
"Let me be clear, Sherlock: I'm not here for you."
"Then why are you here?" Sherlock asked tonelessly.
"For myself. I want to know that I've done everything I can to save you. Do you understand?" When he didn't get an answer, he repeated, "Do you understand, Sherlock?"
Unable to meet his eyes, Sherlock nodded. "I do."
"I'm also here only because Greg assures me you'll detox in jail whether you like it or not. My hope is you'll take this time to choose to be sober. Do you understand?"
"Good." John took a deep breath and nodded to himself. Slowly he walked to the table and sat down. "Murder? Really, Sherlock?"
The detective looked into the doctor's eyes. "I didn't do it."
Unable to discern whether he was lying or not, John said, "Tell me what happened."
"After I . . . encountered you last, I texted my dealer and he met me near that flophouse—"
"I remember the one."
"—and I got high. I don't know how much time passed, but I heard fighting in the alleyway below. I heard a man scream. I saw two people running away. I couldn't tell if they were men or women. The victim was dying. He said, 'Beast.' I picked up the knife. And then I was discovered." Sherlock shrugged. "That's it. That's the whole story."
"What did he mean by 'beast'?" John asked.
"I don't know."
"What else did you observe?"
Looking embarrassed, Sherlock gave his head a little shake.
John pressed on. "Did you know it was Evan Kincaid?"
"He looked familiar, but I didn't know it was the same man from Molly's . . ." His voice trailed off. "I haven't tried to call her, you know? I've stayed away. I only have observed her from a distance."
"Until the party," John reminded him.
"This all comes down to Kincaid—why was he there? Who wanted him dead?" Sherlock looked desperate. "John, you have to be my eyes and ears. You know my methods. Investigate this crime."
John blinked a few times. "I've already talked to Greg, who has spoken to Mycroft and to Anderson. We have a plan and we all will do everything we can to clear you."
Relieved, Sherlock slumped back in his chair. "I promise this time I will—"
"No. Don't do that. No promises," John ordered sternly. "I won't believe them anyway." Then, softer, "Get clean, Sherlock. Come back to us. We miss you. I miss you."
Sherlock's eyes burned. "I'll try."