Mycroft could count on one hand the times he found himself surprised at something Sherlock did. (Not counting the incident with the fire ants and the nanny because he was too young to know) Perhaps there were others who found Sherlock amazing, and were truly confounded by his rapid-fire deductions, but to Mycroft, it was all white noise, smoke, and mirrors.
Considering Sherlock’s ‘deductions’ tedious, and overwrought, Mycroft tended to ignore his brother’s chosen profession, unless he was forced to use him in some capacity.
However, nothing prepared him for the sight that greeted him at the top of the stairs at Baker Street.
“What do you want?” Sherlock asked, his disdain for Mycroft’s presence evident in his tone. “I’m busy.”
Mycroft frowned, and took another step into the room. “Ah…” He found his loss of a word that would adequately describe his feelings at seeing Inspector Detective Lestrade bound to a chair in naught but a vest and pants, and gagged with duct tape and a sock quite troubling. He cleared his throat. “Is this… what are you doing, Sherlock?”
“It’s an experiment,” Sherlock said offhandedly. He stepped over to Lestrade, and pressed a hand to his chest. “Heart rate even more rapid than it was ten minutes ago. You’re skewing my results, Mycroft!” Scribbling furiously in his notebook, he frowned. “This will never do. I’m going to need ice.” He flounced into the kitchen.
Mycroft stood frozen for a moment, unsure (and that was a first as well) what action he should take. Lestrade didn’t seem to be under duress, but knowing Sherlock (as only a brother could), the poor Detective Inspector could well be drugged. Or had finally succumbed to Stockholm Syndrome due to constant exposure to his captor, forced to go along with whatever form of torture Sherlock had planned for him.
“Mmrggph.” Lestrade struggled against the ropes binding his arms and wrists. “Mmrggph!”
Mycroft took another step closer to the chair, and looked at Lestrade with a deductive eye. Well, deductive in the sense that he was making sure all was well. Or he’d really taken leave of his senses and decided to openly ogle the object of some of his recent fantasies involving treacle and a blindfold. Lestrade didn’t really seem well… distressed. Agitated, yes, but there was no blood, no bruises, and his eyes were clear and he seemed lucid. “Are you… is this, ah… voluntary?”
Sherlock snorted from the kitchen. “Oh, Mycroft… you think I would kidnap and bind the Detective Inspector to a chair in my home for my own amusement?”
“Yes.” Mycroft turned and looked at his brother. “I fear that I am unsure as to your motives, and while I would not put such a thing past you, I am hopeful that this is something you both have mutually agreed upon. Where’s John?”
“Ha! The Oracle of Omniscience doesn’t know something?” Sherlock scoffs. “My year is decidedly better. For your information, brother, were I to take a dark turn, I wouldn’t waste my time torturing Lestrade. At best, he’d be naked in a basement somewhere, chained and forced to endure water torture.”
“Quiet, Lestrade. You know I’d never do such a thing.” Sherlock sighs. “John is being boring at the moment, so this is how I’ve decided to combat the tedium.”
Mycroft suppressed a shiver at the visual of a naked Lestrade, then chided himself for conjuring up such a tantalising image in front of the world’s second most observant man. “Lestrade volunteered for this?”
“Mmrggph,” Lestrade said through the gag.
“Oh, do be quiet, Lestrade. You’ve only got five more minutes, and then I’ll remove the gag.”
Mycroft shifted, and tried to look unaffected, but the Detective Inspector struggling against the ropes, and practically writhing in the chair – nearly naked – was a bit much for him to take. “He seems quite… distressed.”
“Mmrggph!” To Mycroft’s ears, that sounded like agreement.
“He’s not being harmed in any way.” Sherlock set an ice-filled towel on the table, and checked his notes. “On a recent case, he berated me for letting myself be tied to a chair by the murderer.”
Again, Mycroft found himself schooling his reaction. “One can see his point, most certainly. You seem to be none the worse for wear…” He would most assuredly have a talk with those assigned to advise him of any trouble that his brother got into, as he certainly had not been advised that he had been taken hostage.
“I made a slight miscalculation, but the case was solved without a hitch. Well, when I say hitch… Ah! I need a hammer… don’t’ touch him, Mycroft!” Sherlock whirled, and rushed from the room, dressing gown flapping like wings behind him.
“This is most distressing,” Mycroft said, more to himself than to Lestrade.
“Hmph.” Lestrade glared at Mycroft, and tilted his chin toward his right hand.
“I don’t want to… well, you can see I’m in somewhat of a predicament, Detective Inspector.” Mycroft set his umbrella aside, and came to stand directly in front of Lestrade. “While I can’t imagine that Sherlock would actually harm you, I am admittedly confounded as to why you would allow him to do such a thing. It’s not as if you aren’t aware that he can be somewhat of a… mad scientist, if you will, and to let him bind and gag you… well, it’s utter madness. Unless this is what the two of you get up to when John is away…?”
Lestrade rocked the chair so that it moved from side to side. “Mmph brgph mphfr!”
Mycroft tilted his head to the side, and looked more closely. “Ah… you’re itching. Sherlock… is scratching poor Lestrade’s hand allowed?”
“Would his captors be so kind?” Sherlock set the hammer on the table, and put a hand on a Lestrade’s chest again. “If you have a heart attack, Lestrade, you will destroy all our hard work today. Please calm yourself.”
“Not helpful in the least.” Sherlock took up the hammer, and smashed it into the ice. “I’m going to put this ice down the back of your vest, Lestrade. Try to be still…”
Lestrade’s reaction was immediate. He struggled against the ropes, and skidded his bare feet on the floor, trying to scoot the chair away from Sherlock. His eyes widened, and he shook his head.
Sherlock growled in frustration. “Well, can I at least rub the ice over your body to see how fast I can get your temperature to a dangerous level?”
“Sherlock.” Mycroft stepped between his brother and the chair, his eyes on Lestrade, as he panted roughly behind the gag…dear Christ, he thought, is there to be no end to this torture? He mentally shook himself, and focused on his mad brother. “Is this wise? He is an officer of the law, and would be missed should you decide not to ah, return him.”
“I’m not keeping him, Mycroft, so you can stop your smarmy insinuations. For your information, Lestrade insisted that in his misspent youth, he had a knack for being able to wriggle his way out of ropes. I challenged his claim, and as a result, he allowed me to test my theory. He’s been bound for less than an hour, and has had little success escaping. I even left a box cutter close by and went to my mind palace. Dull.”
“I’m certain that the poor Detective Inspector had no idea that you learned knot tying from sailors well-versed in the art of kidnapping.” Mycroft shook his head. “An unfair advantage.”
“Mmph?” Lestrade twisted against the ropes, and rocked the chair again. “Mmrgph.”
“He made a wager with me,” Sherlock said. “If he could escape, I had to be…. nice… to his team for a month. No digs at Sally, and I can’t call Anderson an idiot. If he doesn’t escape in an hour, I get access to three cases a month for the next six months.”
“Why have you taken his clothes, and why the ice?” Mycroft asked carefully, not sure if he wanted his brother to answer.
“It would be boring to just sit here and watch him squirm and test the ropes, when I know he won’t escape,” Sherlock whines. “I needed to create an atmosphere of fear and humiliation for my research.”
“I’m certain my visit has assisted with the humiliation portion of the test,” Mycroft sighed. “Shall we let him go now? It’s evident that he won’t escape.”
“Mmph,” Lestrade agreed.
“Fine.” Sherlock took up the box cutter and his clipboard. “A few questions, first.”
“Did you experience any sexual arousal at any point in the proceedings?”
Mycroft felt all the blood in his body rush toward his groin, and he took a deep breath to calm himself. “Sherlock…”
“There are those who find bondage arousing, as I’m sure you’ve learned from all your travels, Mycroft,” Sherlock said. “It is not an unreasonable question. Some men enjoy being bound. You only have to observe his rapid breathing, dilated pupils, and his hardened nipples to see that he li-”
“Yes, yes,” Mycroft interrupted. He took a deep breath to calm his fraying nerves, and to stem the tide of desire that surged through him at the thought that Lestrade would find such a thing arousing. “Just untie him.”
Lestrade glared at Sherlock. “Mrphgh.”
“Fine.” Sherlock ripped the duct tape away, and grimaced as Lestrade spit out the sock in his direction.
“You ruddy jackass!” Lestrade flexed his jaw and wiped the drool from his mouth and neck. “Undo my hands, and get me some water.”
“Allow me.” Mycroft hurried to the kitchen, and opened the cabinet in search of a glass. Beakers, but no glasses. He opened the smaller refrigerator near the sink and took a bottled water back to Lestrade. “Here you are.”
Lestrade rolled his eyes, and snatched the water with his now freed hand, gulping it down in a few swallows. “And you’re no help, trying to make conversation with a hostage instead of freeing me. You two are mad.”
Mycroft fought off a blush. “You did place yourself in his hands.”
“Should have known you’d take his side.” Lestrade set the bottle down on the table, and stood, shaking his legs to restore the circulation. “Where are my clothes?”
The blush Mycroft successfully hid moments ago came forward in full flush at the sight of Lestrade’s muscular thighs and (dear lord) plush arse encased in form fitting dark blue boxer briefs. Not to mention his rather fit arms, and the silky hair peeking from the top of his vest, that he was itching to run his fingers through. “I should go. I have a… things to do. Important things.” At this point, it didn’t matter if he had to run all the way to Downing Street, he had to get out post haste.
Sherlock narrowed his eyes. “What did you come for anyway?”
Mycroft met Sherlock’s inquisitive gaze head on, staunchly refusing to flinch or give away any sign that he was affected by Lestrade’s near naked presence. “Nothing of great urgency. Merely a brief stop by to make sure all is well in Baker Street.”
“Next time, just call,” Sherlock dismissed. “Save yourself the legwork.”
“Don’t be mean to your brother,” Lestrade said, pulling on his trousers. “At this rate, he’ll be all you have. You’ve already run John off to his current girlfriend’s flat. And I’m not coming back round unless I’m armed and have another person with me. Best keep your brother close – can’t do everything with that skull.”
Sherlock rolled his eyes, and flopped onto the sofa dramatically. “This was your idea, Lestrade. You said ‘I can escape any knot you care to use’. I didn’t force you.”
“No, you didn’t.” Lestrade tugged on his shirt, and left it hanging open, which until now, Mycroft had no idea he found so alluring .“But you didn’t mention stripping off my clothes, a gag, or that I’d have to taste my own sock for an hour. Or that you learned knot-tying from sailors. You’re a cheater, and a wanker.”
“Oh, you’re just upset that my brother saw you like that.” Sherlock turned and buried his face in the back of the sofa. “Feel free to see yourselves out.”
“Well.” Mycroft shook his head, and gathered his umbrella. “That would appear to be that.” He looked at Lestrade. “I did not see your car, Detective Inspector. Would you… is there somewhere I can drop you?”
“Considering the circumstances,” Lestrade said, doing up his buttons, “you should probably call me Greg. Or Lestrade. Whatever.”
Mycroft tore his eyes away from Lestrade’s hands – hands that were busy shoving his shirt into his trousers, and buckling his belt. Mycroft covered his groan of desire by clearing his throat. “Well, yes… Greg… Lestrade. No… Gregory, right?”
“My mum calls me Gregory when she’s cross with me,” Lestrade said, laughing. “But it sounds better when you say it all posh like.”
Sherlock groaned. “Get out.”
“Now he’s being all stroppy because he’s got no one to play with.” Lestrade slipped on his shoes, and stuffed the sock in his pocket. “You can drop me at my local. I think a need a drink.”
“My pleasure,” Mycroft said. “As a matter of fact, (and he applauded himself on the fact that he was able to sound nonchalant) why don’t you allow me to provide your drinks. To make up for any… damage my brother may have caused, of course,” he hastened to add.
“That would be great,” Lestrade answered enthusiastically. “I’m sure your bar is better stocked than the Fit and Fiddle.”
“I’m certain.” Mycroft gestured to the stairs. “Shall we, then? Sherlock… do try to keep out of trouble until the good doctor returns tomorrow.”
“Just go,” Sherlock growled.
“You’re welcome,” Lestrade said pointedly. At Sherlock’s silence, he shrugged. “Rude git.” He took his coat, and followed Mycroft down the stairs.
After a few minutes, Sherlock smiled at the sound of footsteps on the stairs. He rolled over, and looked at Lestrade as he bounded back into the room.
“Forgot my keys…” Lestrade ducked his head, and smiled. “Thanks, mate. That was brilliant.” He chucked a memory stick on the table. “Your reward.”
“Good for you that my brother was distracted by the sight of you in your pants. “It wouldn’t have been so easy to fool him had all the blood not rushed below his considerable waistline.” Sherlock said with a grimace of distaste. “While you’re far too hairy for my tastes, one can see the appeal. Enjoy your euphemistic drinks, and please refrain from giving John the sordid details of what I’m certain will be a night of debauchery. I don’t want to think of you and my brother in such a fashion.”
“No promises,” Lestrade replied with a smug grin. “I know you like to call him fat, but he’s got those long, long legs, and silky hair, and hey… he seems to like to see me naked and tied up.” Lestrade grabbed a piece of the rope, and stuck it in his pocket. “Might need that later,” he smirked.
“Love you too, Sherlock.” Lestrade practically skipped from the room in glee.
Sherlock groaned. Of course he’d deduced Lestrade’s feelings for Mycroft, but he was unaware that his brother might feel the same. But seeing that tiny hitch in his brother’s breathing when he first saw Lestrade tied to the chair was confirmation enough. And for the price of a few cases, he’d facilitated… love, or at least lust. A job well done, if he must say so himself.
Perhaps he could use such tactics on John…
Three hours later, John came banging into the sitting room, looking around wildly. “Sherlock!”
Sherlock rolled over, bleary-eyed from sleeping. “John? What is it?”
“I got a text from your brother saying you’d been tied up and needed my help.” John looked around at the rope, duct tape, and chair. “I see you were able to get free. Are you all right?” He stepped closer, concern written all over his face. He put a hand on Sherlock’s chin and tilted his face up to the light. “You’re not hurt, are you?”
Sherlock forced himself not to smile or lean too heavily against John’s cool hand on his face. “I’m fine, John. Let me tell you what happened…”