Snippet from a West Wing/Sherlock crossover.
Josh Lyman and Greg Lestrade are old friends who, among other things, don’t really know how to handle press conferences.
This is basically all GB’s fault, and may only make sense to her. But what the heck.
Don’t commit suicide.
Greg Lestrade took off his reading glasses with more force than was strictly necessary and passed a hand across his face, his middle-of-the-night stubble rasping under his palm.
It hadn’t been the worst thing he’d ever said to the press—that particular quip had happened during a case a few years back, and was enough to send even Sherlock into uncharacteristic hysterics anytime someone brought it up—but it was far from wise. They were now going to be dealing with the fallout from that for days, on top of everything else.
He went to the break room for another cup of coffee, winced at the time when his eye caught the clock on the wall, and then settled back in his office for another round of paperwork, all the while turning over the case in his mind.
Three serial suicides. No relation to one another. No note.
Don’t commit suicide.
His mobile went off, and Lestrade started violently, nearly upsetting the contents of his cup. He set it aside and reached for his phone, muttering curses under his breath at whoever thought it wise to call him at eleven o’clock at night.
“Yes, this is Lestrade,” he answered briskly.
“Don’t commit suicide?” The voice on the other end sounded amused and far too alert for how late it was. “That’s the best you could come up with? I swear to God, Greg, I thought CJ was going to have an aneurysm when I told her. Whoever thought it was a good idea to let you loose in front of the press?”
A brisk wind whistled over the line, nearly carrying away Josh’s words. Lestrade imagined he was outside, hurrying to some Big Important Meeting or another. He was never still, that one, always on the go. Lestrade counted back the hours, and figured it was around dinnertime in the States. Well after normal working hours had ended for most people, but then, Josh’s job was about as far from usual as one could get.
“Joshua, I have five words for you,” Lestrade said, all tension gone the moment he recognized the voice. He leaned back in his chair and propped his feet on his desk, feeling the week’s first genuine smile touch his lips. “Secret plan to fight inflation.”
The sound of the stiff breeze over their connection stopped abruptly, and Lestrade pictured Josh coming to a stunned halt.
“How did you know about that?” he demanded. And then, “Oh, Sherlock. That dick.”
“It astounds him that I associate with people other than him and John, and he makes a point to investigate each and every one of ‘em. I think it near made his week when he found that video of your press conference. John even put it up on his blog a while back, did you see? Right next to the video of the cat falling off the shelf that he finds so amusing.” Lestrade picked up his cup of coffee and took a long, content swallow. “How’ve you been doing, kid? Still riding that post-election high?”
“You know it,” Josh said briskly, and Lestrade could hear his smile even across the ocean that separated them. “The President’s in China, the Vice President’s holding down the fort in D.C, we’re eight days into our First 100 Days, and we’re still riding on the highest approval rating any Democrat has seen since Bartlet’s first term. It’ll all get blown to hell in a week or two, of course, but it’s nice while it lasts. How’re you holding up? Your case made the papers in D.C.; serial suicides are strange even by our standards.”
“Great,” Lestrade muttered under his breath. “Just what we needed. The case has hit a total dead end, not that I’m about to tell the press that. I’ll probably have to take it to Sherlock before the week’s out. But God, I’ve never seen anything like this. It’s like someone’s forcing them to do it, but how do you force anyone to die by poison? They all took the pills themselves, Josh, all of them!”
“It’s getting to you, isn’t it?”
Josh’s voice was hushed, and infused with gentle understanding.
“Last one was a kid,” Lestrade admitted. “Seventeen years old. I had to interview his mum. Murder’s one thing, but how do you tell a woman that her child wanted to die?”
“Especially when you don’t believe it yourself,” Josh finished for him. “But you can’t give her what little comfort that might offer her, because you might be wrong. I know. I get it. And I’m sorry.”
“Not like you could do anything about it.” Lestrade sighed. The wind had died down over the line, indicating that Josh had found some shelter—probably had just entered a building. “Are you still working?”
“Yeah, but I took an hour off. Needed a walk and some food. You should join me.”
“I - wait, what?”
Lestrade caught a movement out of the corner of his eye, and his head snapped up. Through the glass walls of his office, he could see a figure striding towards him. The other man’s footfalls echoed through the otherwise-empty floor, and he flashed a smug smirk when he caught Lestrade’s eye.
“You should check your email more often.” Josh paused in the doorway to Lestrade’s office and pocketed his phone. Stunned, Lestrade set his own aside and rose. “Got a series of meetings with some of your government officials this week. Economics; dull as chalk. Dunno why they want a Harvard-educated lawyer along for the ride, but I go where the President tells me. You gonna stand there all night, or are we going to get some food? Passed a pub on my way, think you could use a drink.”
“Josh,” Lestrade said, dumbly. They hadn’t spoken on the phone in years—hell, they hadn’t even been in the same room since the murder case a decade ago that forced their paths to cross—but Christ, the man hadn’t changed. There were a few more lines around his eyes and bit more grey in his hair, but he still practically vibrated with pent-up energy.
“Yeah.” Josh grinned. “It’s good to see you, too, Greg.”
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