Do you fancy doing something this Sunday? GL
Yes, what do you suggest? JW
Going somewhere we won’t see anyone we know. GL
Good plan. Any ideas? JW
Kew Gardens. Main gate. 11am GL
See you there. JW
As Lestrade got dressed on the Sunday morning he was amused at how much attention he was giving to what he was wearing. This was a few hours out with a mate, for goodness sake, a chance to get away from the everyday pressures and relax for a while. So why was he behaving as if this was a date? They’d been to the pub together a few times, both as part of a group and just the two of them following the closure of a case and they’d got on well together, but this was the first time they’d arranged to specifically go somewhere different. He hadn’t even been sure if John would like the idea, so he had been very pleased to receive his positive response.
Despite Lestrade’s best endeavours he still managed to arrive quarter of an hour early, having convinced himself that he’d just miss a tube, which would mean waiting for another, which would mean he was late. And he couldn’t be late. Not when he was just meeting a friend.
He debated how best to occupy himself for the next fifteen minutes without giving the impression of waiting when he spotted John Watson already at the gate. He went over to join him.
“I haven’t kept you waiting long, have I?” he asked.
“No, I’ve only just got here,” John replied, despite the fact that his hands were jammed firmly in his pockets in an obvious attempt to keep warm.
They stood in silence for a few minutes until John said, “Shall we go in, then?”
They set off down one of the paths heading into the gardens. John was talking quietly, so Lestrade found himself walking closer to him in order to hear what he was saying, so close that their arms were practically touching. They turned a corner and Lestrade stopped suddenly.
“Hello Sally,” he said, “I didn’t expect to see you here.”
“Hello Sir,” Donovan replied. “It was such a nice day I thought I’d go for a walk.”
They all looked up at the grey sky.
“Well, it was nice when I left home,” she added, rather unconvincingly, as she rammed her hands further into her pockets.
“Of course,” replied Lestrade. “Hope you enjoy your walk.”
He and John continued their stroll although Lestrade ensured that there was now a gap between the two of them. They had been discussing the results from the six nations rugby matches played the previous day and were now amicably arguing the relative merits of the French and English scrums. Slightly further along the path they encountered Mycroft Holmes, who appeared to be nonchalantly inspecting one of the trees. John and Lestrade exchanged glances; neither of them had ever seen Mycroft doing anything nonchalantly and even now he didn’t appear to be doing it very successfully.
“Hello, Mycroft,” said John. “I didn’t know you were interested in flora.”
“Good morning John, Inspector,” replied Mycroft. “I occasionally take the opportunity to go for a walk in pleasant surroundings on a clement day.”
“Of course,” agreed John doubtfully.
The two men carried on until they found a suitable bench where they sat down.
“Have I missed something?” asked Lestrade. “It’s a miserable grey day and yet two people who up till now I had assumed were sane have told us that it’s a lovely day for a walk.”
“Well, we’ve come for a walk too.”
“But that’s because we wanted to go somewhere where we wouldn’t meet anyone we knew.”
“Perhaps that’s the same for them.”
“Sally maybe. But Mycroft?”
Whilst they had been talking Lestrade had stretched his arm out along the back of the bench. Now he tentatively put a hand round John’s shoulder and was rewarded by John moving closer to him. He was debating about what to do next when round the corner appeared Sally and Mycroft. Ordinarily he would have shot across to the other end of the bench, leaving enough space for someone to sit down between them, but he was rendered immobile by the fact that Sally and Mycroft seemed to be holding hands.
Mycroft looked straight at them. “I see no reason why any of us should feel the need to mention this encounter, do you gentlemen?”
Mycroft’s expression reminded Lestrade of when he had been told off by his teacher for smoking behind the bike sheds. He and John muttered their agreement to the suggestion. And then once they thought Mycroft was out of earshot they started to giggle.
John’s phone pinged with an incoming text. He glanced at it and then passed it over to Lestrade to read.
I suggest you take a look at the croci. The display is very impressive. MH
They giggled again.
And do try to behave like adults. MH
Mycroft collected two glasses of very expensive wine (pre-ordered) from the bar at the start of the interval. He had been tempted to order champagne but felt that that might give the wrong impression at this stage in his relationship. He smiled as he passed one of the glasses to his companion. Taking Sally to the opera might have been a mistake, but he had chosen the production carefully. Carmen was not his favourite opera; for a start the lyrics were in French and his preference was for Italian, but as a starting point it was ideal. And Sally was clearly enjoying herself, discussing the plot and checking that she had understood everything that was happening.
Mycroft spotted his younger brother standing inconspicuously in the shadows. Mycroft had known that someone was passing information to a foreign power for about a week. He had suspected that whoever was involved was using some of the capital’s major cultural events to disguise their suspicious activity. He had tried to persuade Sherlock to assist but his request had been refused. Clearly the puzzle as to how the details were passed on had been too great for Sherlock to resist.
However, this wasn’t his problem and when the bell rang he escorted Sally back to her seat. The orchestra started playing the music for the beginning of the second act, the curtain went up and they were both quickly engrossed in the action in mid-nineteenth century Seville.
During the interval Sherlock waited for his plan to come to fruition. It had been easy to solve the code that was being used and at that point he could have passed the information on. However he had decided that it would be more fun to send his own message using the code and thus trap the couriers himself. When he saw his quarry start to leave the building he quietly followed him and just as they reached the doorway he brushed past accepting the small packet from the other’s hand as he did so.
As he began to walk briskly away he heard a smothered exclamation. The intended recipient of the packet had just discovered that he had been outmanoeuvred. Sherlock increased his speed to ensure he was well away from the doorway when the outraged men emerged. The men ran into the open and began to look for the person who had tricked them. Sherlock turned round and nodded to them. With a snarl the taller of the two men took out a knife and started to come towards Sherlock. At that point two hefty special branch men intervened and after a brief struggle both men were taken into custody.
As Mycroft left the Colosseum he felt extremely happy. The opera had been of a very high standard, naturally, but what had really made his evening was his companion. On the few occasions in the past when he had invited a lady to go with him she had made suitable comments afterwards but he had always got the impression that she was merely saying what was expected. This time Sally had not only enjoyed the production, but, as befitted a detective sergeant, she had paid attention to the details so that they were able to discuss much more deeply both the story and the setting. And when Mycroft cautiously mentioned a play he had been considering seeing she had responded very positively.
- He winked at them and carried on, chuckling to himself at their startled expressions.
He was about to say something to Sally when she pressed a finger to her lips. She looked around her and then said to Mycroft, “They seem to have followed us in here. We don’t want them seeing us, so do what I do.” With that she leant forward and kissed Mycroft forcefully on the lips. Mycroft seemed initially surprised but then responded in kind.
Sally took a further glance. “They can still see us. Can you do something to distract them, sir?”
John could see Lestrade trying to spot the people Sally was referring to. There was very little space to do anything, but he was taken by surprise when Lestrade did the only thing possible and kissed him hard. However, he in his turn rapidly played his part in the distraction.
The middle-aged woman standing next to them muttered something about “old enough to know better” and “what was the world coming to?” but no-one else was taking any interest. At the next stop three Eastern Europeans forced their way off, one of them apparently indicating that the person they were after wasn’t present and they should try the next carriage.
Once they had gone, John looked a bit more critically at Mycroft. “Where’s your umbrella?”
“It’s acting as decoy and has taken the car by itself,” he replied and then added, “I think we should be safe now, Sally, but just in case shall we continue as we were?”
John thought Sally leaning into Mycroft was an excellent example and decided to follow suit and the four remained in that position until they reached the next stop, where Sally and Mycroft got off. John glanced at Lestrade and they followed, thinking it would be wise to ensure that the pair in front safely reached their destination.
Once at street level a large black car discretely drew up. Mycroft opened the door and tried to wave Sally in first, whilst Sally attempted to get Mycroft in and out of any danger. They compromised by both getting in together and then Sally slid across Mycroft’s lap into the middle.
Once he had shut the car door Mycroft leaned out of the window. “Well gentlemen, I am about to perform an experiment in the fashion of my younger brother. I am going to establish the similarities and differences between kissing in a tube train and kissing in the back seat of a car. You, too, may find a similar experiment beneficial.”
With that the car drove off, leaving both John and Lestrade lost for words. Simultaneously they decided that the experiment was one they ought to try for themselves, so moved together to compare and contrast kissing in a tube train with kissing on a street corner.
Sally Donovan was feeling very happy. She and Mycroft were spending the weekend in a cottage in a Cotswold village. Not only was the cottage very pretty, but it was fitted out luxuriously. There were two bedrooms, and Mycroft, ever the gentleman, had offered to sleep in the second, but Sally had insisted that there was no need. As it was it turned out that they didn’t get as much sleep as they had expected, but neither of them was complaining at the way they had spent the night.
They were now driving back to the cottage having spent the day touring round a number of picturesque villages and having a gourmet lunch in a five star restaurant. The sky was getting steadily darker as they headed back.
“It looks like we’re in for some heavy rain,” observed Mycroft. “I had been thinking of suggesting we take a walk this evening, but I don’t think that would be a good idea.”
Sally moved closer to Mycroft. “I don’t mind. I shall be quite happy just sitting in the cottage with you.”
At that moment the skies opened and the driver slowed down, so that he could see the road ahead. Suddenly he swore and braked hard. “What the hell?”
“Was that necessary?” Mycroft asked, sounding rather shaken.
“Sorry, sir. There are two idiots trying to thumb a lift, I nearly didn’t see them in this rain.”
Mycroft and Sally peered out of the window at the two men who had approached the car, clearly hoping for a lift.
It was Mycroft’s turn to swear. He opened his window slightly. “I assume, gentlemen, that you had an accident in your vehicle and had decided to find somewhere with sufficient signal for you to use your mobile phones to summon assistance. Unfortunately you failed to allow for the weather turning inclement, which is why you both resemble drowned rats.”
DI Lestrade nodded sadly. “Yeah, swerved to avoid an idiot in a 4x4 coming the other way, hit a patch of mud and ended up in a ditch.”
Sally looked out. “Are you okay?”
“Yes, a few bumps and bruises but nothing major.”
“Apart from the dented pride,” added John Watson.
Lestrade grunted ruefully.
“I suppose we had better give you a lift,” said Mycroft. “I really don’t want my little brother complaining to Mummy that I wasn’t kind to his friends.”
The driver had got out of the car and found some plastic sheeting which he placed on one half of the back seat. Mycroft looked disdainfully at the two dripping men and was clearly trying to decide whether to remain in the back or to lower himself by joining the driver in the front. Sally solved the problem by hopping out and taking the front seat.
When they reached the cottage Mycroft had a word with the driver. Turning to John and Lestrade he said, “I’ve arranged to have your vehicle towed out of the ditch and taken to a garage for repair. Your luggage will be brought here. Since I don’t believe you have booked a hotel room in advance and I do not believe that you would find it easy to find one in your current state of dress I would suggest you stay here for the night. My driver will take you to a railway station tomorrow morning. We do not return until the afternoon, so this will not be an inconvenience to us.”
Sally could almost feel herself pouting; she had been looking forward to having Mycroft to herself for the rest of the weekend.
Mycroft continued, “Now gentlemen, if you would go round to the back of the cottage and remove most of your sodden clothing, please.”
He unlocked the front door and followed Sally inside. “I’m sorry my dear. I realise this is not quite what we had in mind. However, once we have eaten I would suggest that we have an early night. The cottage walls are quite thick and I do not think we should have any cause for concern.”
At this Sally’s expression brightened considerably. She headed off into the kitchen to put the kettle on, having no wish to see her boss walking through the cottage in nothing but his wet underwear.
Once she knew they were upstairs she came out again to hear Mycroft saying “Right gentlemen, I shall leave you to it. The bathroom is here and this will be your bedroom. It has a king-size bed, which I am sure should be big enough for the two of you.”
There was a stunned silence and then Mycroft added, “Good heavens. If you are not already sharing a bed, I think it is high time that you did so.”
I need you at NSY NOW GL
Just you. NOT Sherlock GL
Are you okay? JW
I’m fine. It’s Sally GL
John jammed his phone in his pocket, grabbed his coat and shouted to Sherlock as he dashed out of the flat, “Going out. Back later.”
“Obvious. And inevitable.”
- John entered to find Sally sitting at the desk in floods of tears, whilst Lestrade seemed to be alternating between looking at her with total confusion and staring out of the window apparently in search of inspiration.
“Look Sally, if you’re not well you can go home. I know we’re stretched at the moment but we can manage. Anderson said you were sick yesterday morning as well.”
Further tears, but nothing more was forthcoming.
“You would be better off at home, if you’re feeling ill,” John added helpfully.
“I’m not ill; I’m pregnant.” Sally buried her head in her arms.
The two men looked at each other, both hoping the other would know what to say.
“Um, does the, er, father, know?” Lestrade couldn’t bring himself to mention Mycroft by name.
“No, I haven’t told him yet. I don’t know what to say. It wasn’t meant to happen.” Sally had mostly stopped crying and was just sniffing slightly.
They were saved from having to say anything else by another knock on the door. John opened it and had a large bouquet of flowers pushed into his arms.
“They’re for Sgt Donovan,” a voice from the other side of the flowers muttered. This was followed by the sound of rapidly retreating footsteps.
John carefully placed the flowers in the middle of the desk. Sally removed the card, opened the envelope and read it. She burst into tears again and then leapt up and hugged first Lestrade and then John.
Lestrade picked up the card. “Congratulations, my dearest. M”
Sally turned to her boss with a big smile on her face. “Actually, sir, would you mind if I went home?”
Lestrade glanced out of the window. “No, that will be fine. And I think you will find that there’s a car waiting to take you there.”
Once Sally had left, John turned to Lestrade. “You realise that this will make Sherlock an uncle, don’t you?”
“I wonder how he’ll take that?”
“Who will take what?” a familiar voice asked. Neither had noticed the door being opened and both jumped guiltily, although for once they hadn’t been doing anything they would have preferred Sherlock not to witness.
“Sgt Donovan gone home already?”
“Yes. Oh, and Sherlock, we have some news for you.”
“Boring. Who do you think alerted Mycroft?”
“How could you have known?”
“I can always tell when you’ve had a text from Lestrade. You give a quirky little smile, which you think I don’t notice.”
John felt himself starting to blush. “Go on.”
“You looked up at me, about to tell me we had to go out. The second text clearly worried you, but the reply you received told me that it wasn’t Lestrade who was in trouble but someone else. As far as I am aware the only other person here you would have any concern for would be Sgt Donovan. I recalled that she seemed a little pre-occupied over the last few days; she missed at least two opportunities to call me Freak. And you yourself had told me that they were, in the common parlance, sleeping together. So I came to the logical conclusion that she was pregnant and sent my brother a text to inform him. I must admit I was slightly surprised at his response, I would have expected something rather more restrained from him.”
“Oh yes. What was it?”
* I *
Sherlock looked critically at both John and Lestrade and straightened their ties. “I insist that my nephew’s godfathers both look their best for this important ceremony. And do try not to give the impression that neither of you has never worn a smart suit before.”
“Are you sure you don’t mind not being a godfather?” John asked for the fourth time (sixth according to Sherlock).
“Mycroft is quite correct in wanting his son’s godparents to be respectable members of the community, who will set him a good example as he grows up. I, on the other hand, will revel in my role as eccentric uncle.”
Lestrade chuckled. “I’m not entirely convinced about the respectable. The vicar didn’t seem too happy that we were holding hands.”
“And in addition he has chosen two men who he knows would protect his child with their lives should the need ever arise. I am more likely to take him somewhere and go rushing off without him.”
John and Lestrade exchanged looks; whilst there was some truth in what Sherlock said, the eccentric uncle seemed to be taking very seriously his part within the new family.
Mycroft cast a critical eye over the small village church. Everything was prepared for the christening: the flowers looked beautiful; the orders of service were in the pews. He sighed with pleasure. It was to be a small family affair and everything was organised. He would prefer the service to go without emotion, but Mrs Donovan had already told him she was sure to cry. No doubt Mummy too would shed a discrete tear or two.
Their wedding had been an extremely modest affair. One of the perks of his job had meant he had phoned up in the morning and the ceremony had been held that afternoon. He had sent Sherlock a text at midday saying simply “Getting married at two. Bring second witness. M” and had been only marginally surprised that Sherlock had brought Mrs Hudson with him. He’d then left his younger brother with the task of notifying friends and relations of the event, knowing that Sherlock would have to deal with all the disappointment and disapproval from those who hadn’t been invited. He had felt rather satisfied that for once it was his brother who was making the apologies.
Now, as the first members of the congregation started to gather in the church, Mycroft slipped out through the vestry door. He walked down the side path and met his wife pushing their baby son in the pram. They walked round to the front of the church and Mycroft bent down and picked up the baby. Together they entered the church and Mycroft felt his heart swell as he looked from his wife to his son, and on to the close friends and family who were gathered there. With a broad smile he went to join the vicar and godparents as they gathered around the font.