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It doesn't always get better (1/2)

BBC Sherlock

Rating 18 (explicit slash, homophobia, general unhappiness)

Spoilers: set pre-Series 1, no spoilers for Series 2

Originally written for a Sherlock rare-pair prompt for dysfunctional Dimmock/Lestrade.

Betaed by the lovely Shouldboverthis.


There were two rules Lestrade had stuck to over the years regarding sex: never sleep with colleagues and always remember to use a condom. And here he was about to break them both with Mark Dimmock. The stupid thing was, he didn't even really fancy the man.

***

He'd first met Dimmock at CID's policy forum for business risk management. Or possibly the business forum for policy risk management. It was something, anyhow, that involved brainstorming sessions. Though in Lestrade's case it was mainly thunderclouds in his mind as he wondered how he'd got sucked into attending this waste of time. Most of the other attendees were the usual mix of the old lags who were desperate to avoid any real work and the young, keen and ignorant who thought that their bright ideas might make some real difference.

DC Dimmock had recently been transferred over from Kent CID and was eager to pass on details of their strategic initiatives. Lestrade wondered again how he'd got to be so old. This kid looked like he still ought to be in primary school; he was even sticking his hand up with suggestions, for God's sake. Then Lestrade got distracted by the fallout from DC Climpson's comment about how the Met needed a strategy for dealing with zombie attacks – why was it always his team that came out with things like that? – and he forgot about DC Wet Behind The Ears for a bit.

Tea break time eventually came, and as Lestrade was hurrying back inside from a quick ciggie he saw three of the others looking at the session timetable in the foyer. And then one of them turned to the shorter man beside him and said: "For God's sake, can you shut up next session, Dimmock, I want to leave on time."

Lestrade rather agreed with the sentiment, but he didn't care for the tone of voice. He froze – they hadn't noticed him – and pulled out his phone, staring down at it while surreptitiously observing the three men. He didn't recognise the man who had spoken to Dimmock, but wasn't the other one DS Croyland? He hoped not.

"Don't you see," Dimmock said earnestly, "that this is our chance to influence the strategy?"

"The high-ups aren't going to listen to us," the man replied. "You're just wasting your time, you little creep."

"Bloody arselicker," the third man said, and God, it was Graham Croyland, as large and as nasty as life. One of the rotten apples still lurking in the uglier corners of CID. Maybe a chance to put a stop to that at last. Lestrade's fingers fumbled on his phone, switching the video on and then pointing it in the men's directions.

"Just because I'm going places, there's no need to be jealous," Dimmock said.

"Yeah, well we all know why you transferred to the Met, don't we?" Croyland said. "Got fed up licking arses in Kent, and thought you could find someone in London, didn't you? Someone who'd take you up the arse and get you promoted."

"Bloody poofs practically run the Yard now," the other man said. "No-one's prepared to stand up to them."

"I'm not gay," Dimmock said angrily.

"Don't need to be," said Croyland. "You're pretty enough they won't worry. Just the sort of fresh meat they like."

"I don't know what you're talking about," Dimmock said. He sounded not just angry, but worried now.

Lestrade walked forward. "No, but I do," he said, and held up his phone. "All recorded. So, DS Croyland, and – what's your name?"

"DC Yates," said the man, shifting uncomfortably. "Look, we were just having a laugh, that's all. Bit of a wind-up."

"Yeah, I can see how funny DC Dimmock found it," Lestrade said. Dimmock still had the tense look of a school kid whose lunch money was about to get stolen. Probably better to wait to talk to him till he'd calmed down a bit. "We should go back to the conference room for the next session, I guess. And maybe you two want to think a bit more about managing this risk."

***

As soon as the thing was over – thank God it had finished on time, partly because Dimmock hadn't said a bloody word – Lestrade caught Dimmock's eye and signalled to him to wait behind. The kid still looked pretty wound up about the whole thing, he thought, as he waited for the room to clear. Not surprising, really.

"Like I said, I've got them taped," Lestrade said, when they were alone. "So it's not just your word against theirs, or even mine against theirs. We've got solid evidence."

"I, I don't want to report this," Dimmock said hastily. "It was just locker room stuff. It didn't mean anything."

"It was bullying," Lestrade said. "Look, I know you think it'll just get ignored if you report it, but I promise you, it won't be. I know the people to talk to."

"I don't want it reported!" Dimmock said, running his fingers through his hair. "I'm not gay!"

"Didn't say you were," Lestrade said as calmly as he could. "Doesn't make any difference to the fact that it's anti-gay harassment. But Croyland can't easily wriggle out of it this time."

"Please, sir," Dimmock said, and he sounded desperate now. "Don't report this."

"Oh, God, what have they said? Look, whatever is it, there's no reason to be scared."

"I'm not scared of them." Dimmock's chin came up. "But think how it'll look on my record if I do report this. Everyone will say there's no smoke without fire. They'll assume things about me."

The bloody thing was that he was right, Lestrade thought. It was going to stand out on his record, get the rumours flying.

"We can't do anything about scum like Croyland unless someone speaks out," he said. "Look, I can keep your name out of it, you can stay anonymous."

"Because there are just so many officers who have recently transferred in from Kent, aren't there?" Dimmock said miserably. "Pretty easy to work out who it was, don't you think?"

Lestrade nodded reluctantly. "If you change your mind, tell me," he said, "I'll keep the recording for a couple of months." Dimmock gave him a half-hearted smile and left. Sod it, he hoped the kid knew what he was doing. Wished there was someone around to keep an eye on him.

***

He soon forgot about Dimmock, though, because he had another hapless kid to sort out. Well, technically, Sherlock wasn't a kid any more than Dimmock was, but he acted about ten sometimes. A particularly disruptive ten-year-old, who alternated between solving impossible murders and behaving like someone with ADHD. Unfortunately, Lestrade didn't reckon it was Ritalin Sherlock was dosing himself with. If he wasn't going to burn himself out in a few months, if he was going to stay useful, he needed to be taken in hand.

It took Lestrade two years hinting and cajoling and then straightforward yelling to get Sherlock to clean his act up. Until Sherlock wasn't on anything stronger than nicotine (God knew that was an addiction that was particularly hard to break). Until he started to act, if not normally, at least less abnormally. And until Sherlock stopped looking like a coat rack and took to eating just enough that he looked skinny but healthy. Well, not so much healthy as absolutely sodding gorgeous. Lestrade had found the heroin chic look easy to resist. Now Sherlock was spending money on food and clothes rather than drugs, his arse was rapidly driving Lestrade insane.

He kept his trap shut, of course. Not because Sherlock might feel obliged to sleep with him as thanks for all his help over the years – Sherlock didn't do guilt, or even much in the way of gratitude – but because if Lestrade started paying attention to anyone, however discretely, he got snorts of derision from Sherlock. Sherlock didn't think much of gay sex.

To be fair, Sherlock didn't think much of straight sex, either. He seemed to regard everyone's sexual behaviour in much the same light as if they were amoebas splitting; an interesting phenomenon to observe, but not something you'd want to try yourself. He'd once told Lestrade he was asexual, though Lestrade bet that if Sherlock ever met any other asexual people, he'd be the first to tell them they were doing their asexuality wrong. Whatever the reasons, Lestrade kept his hands firmly off Sherlock. He was pretty sure that if anyone ever did prove Sherlock wrong about his tastes, it wasn't going to be him.

Still, he dragged Sherlock along to a few parties, just to see if now he was clean his libido might revive. He soon realised, however, how bad a move that was. No-one liked a man who could deduce your orientation, your BMI and your neuroses in under two minutes.  It was probably as well as he was asexual, Lestrade thought, it'd be tough if he actually wanted anyone to stay turned on for more than ten minutes in his presence.

***

He was particularly glad he didn't have Sherlock with him at the next party he went, because it was enough of a bloody disaster anyhow. Police Federation St. George's Day Pub Crawl – what the fuck had someone been on when thinking up that one? In practice, it meant far too many sweaty coppers wearing red and white facepaint  crowding into a string of bunting-adorned pubs with really crappy food. After Lestrade had finally fought his way through to the bar of the fourth pub and got a couple of pints, he'd turned and promptly bumped into someone, spilling the other man's drink.

"Sorry, mate," he said. "I can buy you another one." His victim was a small, young, brown-haired bloke who looked vaguely familiar. He also looked really uncomfortable, even allowing for the fact that he now had a beer-stained  shirt.

"No, no, it's fine," the other man said, edging away, as if he didn't want Lestrade anywhere near him. Still, there were more important things to worry about, Lestrade thought, as he concentrated extremely hard on getting the beers he was carrying safely to the corner table.

"Cheers, sir," said Donovan, his new DC. "Glad you didn't spill any of mine. But how come you're contagious as well as me?"

"What?" he said.

"That bloke you bumped into, he looked like he couldn't get away from you fast enough. I get that with people sometimes. They're afraid me being black is going to rub off on them, if I talk to them."

Kath Climpson reached for her pint and smiled. "Has the guv'nor not told you? He's gay. That's why some of the others don't want anything to do with him."

"I don't need to tell anyone about my personal life," Lestrade said with resignation. "DC Climpson feels the need to broadcast details of everyone's secrets when she's under the influence." Climpson wasn't a bad sort otherwise, though, and his own rule was that things said in the pub couldn't be used as evidence. And at least his sexuality didn't seem to bother Sally Donovan. He already had the impression that not a lot did.

"So who was that bloke?" Donovan asked. "The young one you bumped into. Is he a copper as well? I think I've seen him round the Yard."

Lestrade's brain had finally managed to pull out the right memory. "His name's Dimmock and he's a DC. I think he's in Serious and Organised Crime Command."

"He got made a sergeant last year," Kath said, "and he's angling for a transfer to Homicide now. Little pillock."

"What have you got against him?" Lestrade asked.

"He was going out with Grace Anoya from Records for a bit, but he lost interest just when she'd finally made up her mind to sleep with him. Bloody men. No offence, sir."

"None taken," Lestrade said, automatically. God, he didn't like to think how he was going to manage a team with Climpson and Donovan. Still, if he could cope with Sherlock, anyone else seemed straightforward. But probably best to try and ensure he didn't get Dimmock assigned to him, if he did get offered a place on one of the murder investigation teams.

***

Dimmock moved across to Homicide Command in the autumn, to work on DCI Tennison's team. Lestrade just smiled when they were formally introduced and acted as if he didn't remember him, and Dimmock visibly relaxed a bit, and chatted to him politely for a few minutes. Not that they had much to do with each other, even after that, but at least Dimmock was looking happier. Got into the swing of things, making his mark, apparently. Though Lestrade was glad he didn't have him as his protégé, because there was a fine line between a sergeant who was helpful and enthusiastic and one who was secretly measuring up your office for their own.

***

At least Sherlock didn't have any designs on his job, Lestrade thought, because if he really wanted something, nothing in his path could stop him. What Sherlock wanted that morning, however, was far more basic. He wanted to make Lestrade's life hell. Sherlock was just about to start haranguing him– Lestrade could tell that – for not calling in him soon enough, or too soon, or when there was an R in the month or some other unreasonable reason, when DC Climpson knocked on his office door.

"Come in," he yelled, knowing he was just postponing the inevitable, but still wanting to.  

"Sorry to interrupt, sir," Kath announced, "But they've just released the results of the inspectors' OSPRE exams." Trust her to be the one to want to break the news, Lestrade thought.

"And?" he asked. Murders were one thing, but the fallout when people missed out on promotion opportunities was far more horrendous.

"Three fails."

"Frost and Alleyn, obviously," Lestrade said. He wondered sometimes why they bothered applying. "Who else?"

"Dimmock."

"That's a surprise," Lestrade said.

"Overconfidence, obviously," Sherlock announced. "DS Dimmock has an extremely good memory, but he's cocky as well. Probably didn't think he needed to revise and then got caught out on a few too many crucial distinctions between believing and suspecting an offence had been committed. They reckoned the test paper was harder this year, though I couldn't see it myself."

Lestrade sighed. Pointless to enquire why or how Sherlock knew the complete details of a confidential police exam. He signalled to Climpson to go.

"Didn't know you'd met Dimmock," he said, once she was out of earshot.

"I haven't. But I saw him at the quiz night you dragged me along to last December. He got the question about the noble gases almost, but not quite right because he wouldn't listen to a team-mate."

He'd dragged Sherlock along to the quiz, hadn't he? That was one bit Lestrade was now trying to delete from his memories. The whole stage at which he'd thought that socializing with Sherlock might make him more sociable. That there was a normal human being in Sherlock, if Lestrade could just find the key.

"Right," said Lestrade. "That must have been in one of the rounds before we got disqualified for you lip-reading."

"I don't remember sporting trivia, but our opponents could, why not take advantage of that?" Sherlock replied, and the quirk of his mouth was a thing of beauty. "You, Dimmock, the whole lot of you, clutter your minds up and then you can't see the blindingly obvious. For example, in this case, why have you not asked about the dog?"

"What dog?" Lestrade said, and as Sherlock rolled his eyes, he knew it was going to be a bad evening.

Part 2


Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
emmyangua
Feb. 4th, 2012 04:23 pm (UTC)
"He'd once told Lestrade he was asexual, though Lestrade bet that if Sherlock ever met any other asexual people, he'd be the first to tell them they were doing their asexuality wrong."

Best. Line. EVER.
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