There was an awkward pause.
Greg was leaning over the railing, looking across the Thames at the dome of St Paul’s. The night was still warm enough that he didn’t feel the need to move closer to the outside heaters, but chill enough that there weren’t too many others within earshot of him and Mycroft Holmes.
Mycroft had his back against the railing next to Greg, slouching a bit to rest his elbows on it, his eyes forever scanning the rest of the pub’s customers, the whiskey tumbler in his right hand still holding enough liquid to colour the bottom of the glass. Greg had the impression that he wasn’t nursing the drink so much as clinging to it, unwilling to finish it and commit to another round, unwilling to give it up as an excuse to leave at any moment.
Greg’s own drink was in a similar state. He let the pint glass dangle from his fingers, rolled it between his palms, considered upending it into the Thames, maybe taking a sip to kill time, maybe gulping it and bolting. He kept promising himself that if the silence strung out for another three seconds, he would do it. And this time he would. It had been long enough. Three one-thousand, two one-thousand, one one-thousand... Right, that was it. Three seconds plus, now. Really, he should.
...Should do what?
Mycroft cleared his throat. “You’re completely right, of course.”
Greg started, turning to look up at him. “I am?”
“Oh good.” What had he said last? Had he really had this much to drink? When had two pints become too much? “What am I right about this time?”
Mycroft glanced at him, then turned, rolling the whiskey glass between his palms. Greg looked down at the movement, then turned away quickly. Mycroft continued to slouch against the rail. “This is ridiculous,” Mycroft said quietly, almost to himself.
“What is?” Greg didn’t look over, even when he felt Mycroft look up at him. He kept his gaze on the dome of the cathedral.
“Us. The way we’re behaving.”
“I’m not behaving anything, mate. There’s a pub, there’s drinks. There’s people. And possibly a body...” He frowned at the shape in the water. Mycroft’s head snapped around, and Greg straightened. “Nah, it’s a duck.”
Mycroft turned his attention back to Greg, very deliberately.
“What?” Greg asked.
“As I was saying.”
“Yeah, what were you saying?”
Mycroft sighed, glancing over at the lights, scanning the buildings, the skyline. “Which do you prefer? Gregory? Greg? Lestrade?”
“I dunno. Depends on the situation. Does everyone call you Mycroft?”
A brief smile. “Yes. Generally. The ones who’ve got past calling me ‘sir,’ at any rate.”
“Well I’m not calling you ‘sir.’ I’ve met your brother. Doesn’t just take the shine off - the tarnish may have eaten some holes in you.”
“That’s one metaphor that won’t get up and crawl away.”
Greg glared at him. “Can you just spit it out? Whatever it is, it’s going to get easier if you just get the damned words out. Aren’t you supposed to be the diplomatic one?”
His eyes on the glass in his hands still, Mycroft sighed, an angry, impatient sound; Greg didn’t think it was directed at him. “Inspector, I think... Greg.” He stopped again, turned away, clenching his jaw, then turned his gaze back to his glass, and finally, finally looked up at Greg’s face. He paused, a little sadness in his eyes, caught a breath, and said, “I think I would very much like to kiss you.”
Greg blinked. “Oh. Oh, well.” He looked down at his glass, and shuffled a bit, turning toward the taller man. “Um. Yeah, that’d be all right.”
Mycroft’s chin moved slightly toward him, but his eyes were still uncertain. His lips parted, as if he was going to say something more, but then he stopped himself, tipped his head to the side and ducked down, his lips landing on Greg’s.
Greg swayed back a little in surprise, his arms spreading slightly to catch his balance. He’d barely had a chance to reach up to the soft wool of Mycroft’s coat before the other man pulled back, his gaze lowered, his lips rolled between his teeth.
Mycroft had a feeling he had just ruined everything with his clumsiness. Greg’s body language had been all wrong, his lips pursed and tight, and when he’d felt Greg’s touch on the front of his arms, he knew it had gone too far wrong to salvage. If Greg had reached for the back of his arms, or his shoulders, there might have been a hope that he meant to pull him closer. But on the front of his arms? No, all he could do then is push away. He felt the slight pull of the moisture on their lips as they separated, desperately trying to think of a way to soften the regret, catching just a glimpse of Greg’s wide, brown eyes staring at him. “That was -” he began.
Greg’s hand reached up to the back of his neck, startling Mycroft into silence, although his lips were still parted as Greg’s touched them, and his involuntary gasp seemed to suck Greg’s tongue into his mouth. Greg’s eyes slid closed, and he pulled Mycroft’s head a little lower, spreading his fingers into the short hair at the back of Mycroft’s neck. With a bit of effort, Mycroft managed to keep his own eyes open this time, watching Greg lose himself in the action of tongue against teeth and lips reaching wider. He hadn’t thought the man could be just as beautiful with those large, chocolate eyes closed, but the dark lashes against his cheeks made Mycroft’s fingers tighten, one hand still holding his glass, the other clenched on the collar of Greg’s coat.
When Greg finally pulled back and his eyes opened, Mycroft’s vocal cords slammed shut as he tried to catch his breath. Greg smiled at the small noise even as Mycroft felt the blood tingling in his cheeks. Greg told him, “You have no excuse for being such an idiot.”