Gregory Lestrade approached the corner of Baker Street with a slight hesitation. He wasn’t too keen on the great Sherlock Holmes ever since he had become one of the many victims at the catastrophe of a Christmas party the month previous. Everyone had burned with embarrassment as Sherlock tore them all apart in turn. Greg was, of course, furious about the airing of his personal life in front of colleagues and friends, but he was even more upset at the fact that he knew every word to come from the detective's mouth was true. And Sherlock knew that as well. Mostly, he felt sorry for poor Molly. Her feelings for Sherlock were the worst kept secret in the department and she was often the butt of jokes, but she did nothing to deserve the truly abrasive treatment from her crush. She deserved better. Greg’s thoughts melted away as he turned the corner and steeled himself for the possibility of even more abuse from the consulting detective.
A few steps from the front door, Greg looked up from his feet and snapped out of his musings upon hearing the heavy black door click shut. Mycroft Holmes was standing on the front step, umbrella in hand.
“Ah, Detective Inspector,” the posh man said in greeting.
“Mr. Holmes,” he answered back with a nod.
“Mycroft, please. Here to see my distressing little brother?” Greg was sure that Mycroft already knew that answer. He read the paper, after all, and probably many secure briefings detailing this particularly distressing case. Greg still wasn’t exactly sure which sector of the government the elder Holmes worked in, but from all the hints Sherlock dropped, he was sure he didn’t really want to know.
“Unfortunately, yes. And yourself? Just in for a family visit?” Greg questioned lightly knowing that this Holmes was not especially good at sharing personal details, much like his sibling.
He seemed to smile. It was a close copy of a natural smile, yet it did not quite reach his eyes.
“Mm, no, in fact. I was here to see Mrs. Hudson. I felt that I owed her an apology.”
Greg watched Mycroft as he looked down Baker Street and then rotated the handle of his umbrella in his palm. He wasn’t sure why Mycroft would need to apologize to Mrs. Hudson. He always seemed to be the perfect gentleman to her.
“Ahh. Yes. Well, that was nice of you. At least one of you got some manners from the gene pool,” Greg assured him with a smile.
Mycroft looked up from his umbrella. This time a genuine smile graced his sharp features.
They looked at one another in silence for another moment until Mycroft moved towards a sleek black sedan that had quietly rolled up the street behind Greg. The Detective Inspector turned as Mycroft opened the door.
“It was good seeing you again so soon in this, as of yet, unspoiled New Year, Detective Inspector,” he held out his hand.
“You know you can call me Greg, right? I think I’ve earned it. I work with your brother on a regular basis, after all,” he supplied as he shook Mycroft’s strong hand.
“As you wish, Gregory,” he replied letting go with a flourish as he quickly slipped into the car.
Greg couldn’t help but make a face. His given name had been used exclusively by his parents when he was in trouble for as long as he could remember. He still got calls from his mum admonishing him, ‘Gregory!’, for poor sleeping and eating habits and the state of his ruined marriage. The look didn’t slip past Mycroft’s watchful gaze. He rolled down the window and stretched out his hand, this time holding a business card. Greg took it, a question on his lips, but before he could say a word, Mycroft bid him a good day and the car pulled away from the kerb. The window rolled up as the sedan slipped around the corner.
Greg looked down and saw three business cards stacked together in his hand instead of the one he had been expecting. The first was for a marriage counselor. The second, a divorce lawyer. The third read M. Holmes with a mobile number neatly etched underneath the fancy script.
Greg smiled to himself as he shuffled through the three cards. The Holmes brothers were more alike than they would ever admit. He puffed out a breath and dug into his coat pocket for his phone. He punched in the number and typed:
Thanks for the cards, but I won’t be needing the counselor. Didn’t Sherlock tell you too? That’s all done with.
He sent the message before he could think twice about the decision to consciously flirt with a Holmes. He put the phone back in his pocket and walked into 221 Baker Street, making his way to the upstairs flat. He was stopped on the fourth stair to B when his phone vibrated a response. He reached into his jacket again, flipped open the screen and read:
You are welcome, Gregory. How unfortunate for you, though. Maybe you would like to talk about it over dinner. MH.
He quickly typed back:
Sounds like a date. Friday around 7?
He waited on the step for the reply. He felt giddy as his heart raced. He hadn’t set up a date with anyone in nearly a decade. The mobile buzzed in response even more quickly than before.
Perfect. I look forward to it. MH.
Greg smiled as he closed his phone and bounded up the steps. The door to 221b was already cracked open. He knocked out of politeness and walked into the smokey flat.
“Did you just set up a date with my revolting brother?” Greg heard from the kitchen as John looked up from the morning paper in his armchair. Greg could only sigh in disbelief.
“Don’t let him fool you. He was watching from the window the whole time you were out there,” John mock whispered.
A cigar came flying from the kitchen and knocked John squarely in the temple.
“John! Do NOT reveal my observational secrets to members of the Yard without my permission, especially if they are informants for Mycroft!”
Greg fell into the other armchair. The new year was less than three weeks old, but he had a feeling it would be one to remember. He was sure one, or both, of the Holmes brothers would make that a reality.