Mycroft raised his eyebrow at Harry, who had seated himself at Mycroft’s desk and was flipping through a file with amused incomprehension.
“Chinese?” he guessed, and Mycroft took the file from him with an irritated glance. “What is it that you do, really?”
“As I said.” Mycroft keyed the code to the filing cabinet with the speed of practice, turned just enough to keep Harry from making yet another guess. “When you have the right to know, you won’t have to ask.”
“Secrets for the sake of it,” Harry declared, and Mycroft rolled his eyes at him. “Oh, come now. A short description of your position, please.”
“In my office, facing an interloper who is in my chair,” Mycroft said pointedly.
“Territorial today,” Harry observed, and stood up with a crisp efficiency that belied the teasing twist of his lips. “Usually you spend such days at your club.”
“I’ve a meeting,” Mycroft sighed, “and I’m not much looking forward to it. Happy?”
“Anything to do with Baskerville?” Harry asked innocently, and Mycroft wondered briefly how he had managed to surround himself with so very many irritating persons.
Harry stepped closer and began to fuss with Mycroft’s pocket square. “There’s been a bit of talk, I’m sure you know. Sherlock Holmes, consulting detective, and Mycroft Holmes, simply... a consultant. With enough clout to get his brother access to a top secret government research facility to, oh, see a man about a dog?”
“It will be justified soon enough,” Mycroft snapped, and then sighed again, stepping back. “I’m sorry, Harry. I’ve had a rather soul-destroying day, and now...”
“Working too hard again,” Harry said, shaking his head. He stepped close again and Mycroft closed his eyes, allowing him to rub gently over Mycroft’s temples. Harry didn’t really give a toss about what it was Mycroft did in his role of consultant; he was simply letting him know that it was being scrutinised yet again by persons with quick mouths and slow minds. “Go on. Tell me about your meeting.”
The sound of footsteps in the hall, loud and quick. Agitated. “You are about to see for yourself,” Mycroft murmured, and put a respectable distance between the two of them.
A moment later, there was a perfunctory knock at the door, and then Detective Inspector Lestrade stepped in before an invitation could even be issued. And he was Detective Inspector today, not Greg, dressed in suit and tie, eyes hard and expression cold.
“Mycroft,” he snapped in place of a greeting, and stared hard at Harry. “I didn’t realise you had rescheduled.”
“Not at all,” Mycroft said. “This is my friend and colleague--”
“Do you really think I care?” Lestrade snapped, barely containing his fury. “Unless he has anything to do with that murderous fucking facility of yours--”
“One scientist hardly makes for a murderous facility,” Harry said, and Mycroft took one selfish second to wish that he hadn’t been so blase about this particular round of gossip. He sat down, keeping his gaze trained on Lestrade.
“And how many others are working on their own little projects just for the bloody hell of it?” Lestrade demanded. He turned back to Mycroft, shaking a bit in anger. “And nice coverup, too, I have to say. Henry--”
“Henry has what he needs, and the facility is being investigated by our people--”
“-who let this happen in the first place!” Lestrade raked his hands through his hair, making it stand up wildly. “You didn’t even fucking warn me!”
“And how was I to know?” Mycroft asked calmly, steepling his fingers and leaning back a bit. Harry was fighting a grin now, looking up and down Lestrade’s form with an appreciative gaze.
“Don’t give me that bollocks,” Lestrade said. “You knew. You probably had it all solved in your head the moment you called me. Sherlock guessed as much.”
Harry coughed quietly, and Mycroft sent him a quelling glance. “I’m not, actually, omniscient--” he began, and Lestrade slammed his hands down on the desk.
“You knew!” he snarled, and damn Harry for making it impossible for Mycroft to even want to be professional about this. There was a tie that deserved removal, and Mycroft was itching to do the honors.
Harry spoke up in the silence. “You need to--”
“You need to fuck off!” Lestrade half-shouted, straightening up. He glared down at Mycroft. “And you--”
“Yes?” Mycroft said politely.
“Henry Knight deserves justice, not more games.” Lestrade calmed a bit, now that they were both watching him silently. “Your facility made possible the harassment and attempts on his sanity and his life. He deserves more than a ‘sorry’.”
“He would have gotten more, had Dr. Franklin not tragically perished,” Mycroft said. Lestrade’s jaw tightened again and he added, “What is justice, Lestrade? The man who killed his father is dead. He understands what happened to him, and he can move on--”
“And, conveniently for you, so can the rest of us,” Lestrade broke in, hands tightening back into fists.
“Did you want a show trial?” Harry asked, polite and sweet. He started to walk around to the front of the desk with a slow, insouciant step. “Perhaps invite the public to Baskerville as we close it, and auction off its projects?”
Lestrade rounded on him furiously. “You--”
“What you want is impossible, and you know it,” Harry interrupted smoothly, stepping closer and looking down at Lestrade with a mild and superior expression. “You never thought to achieve such a ridiculous goal. You simply wanted to yell a bit.”
“Harry,” Mycroft said.
“Luckily,” Harry continued, ignoring Mycroft, “you take to the role beautifully.” He took Lestrade’s tie in hand, examining it with a small smile, sending one quick wink Mycroft’s way. “What did you really hope to gain from this meeting, Detective Inspector?”
Lestrade’s mouth was hanging open just a bit, and he blinked hard, twice, at Harry’s question. “What--what are you--”
“That is really a distracting habit,” Harry murmured. He spoke to Mycroft without turning his head, keeping his eyes locked on Lestrade’s. “Does he always do that?”
“What--” Lestrade said again, helplessly, an uneasy surprise and fascination revealed clearly in his expression. Mycroft shifted in his seat, watching with more than a little interest.
“Your mouth,” Harry said, his voice even softer. “Do you always just...” He trailed off, bringing his free hand up to cradle Lestrade’s jaw. He pressed his thumb to Lestrade’s lower lip.
“Fairly often,” Mycroft offered, and watched with some amusement as Harry leaned in, sliding his lips over Lestrade’s in a gentle but intimate kiss. Lestrade looked shell-shocked, but one hand had come up to grasp at Harry’s lapel, and the other was hooked into Harry’s jacket pocket. Mycroft wondered, looking at those deep, wide eyes, just whose touch Lestrade was remembering, that held him spellbound in a stranger’s grasp.
Another kiss, and Lestrade’s eyelids even slid shut this time, his mouth opening just a bit wider. Harry deepened the kiss accordingly, then stepped back with a reluctant sigh.
“I’m afraid you’re not the only one with a meeting today,” he said with rueful amusement, looking over at Mycroft. “Good afternoon.” He straightened Lestrade’s suit jacket, then petted Lestrade’s parted lips with the tips of his fingers. Then he smiled at him and walked out of the room, closing the door again behind him with a gentle click.
Mycroft stood carefully and went ‘round to the small drinks cupboard. “Please excuse him,” he said over his shoulder, and poured a small glass of brandy. He turned and met Lestrade’s stunned gaze with a polite smile. “He’s like that quite often, I’m afraid.”
“What--” Lestrade blinked again and swallowed hard, staring down at the drink Mycroft put into his hand. “What is this?” His voice was low and raspy.
“Brandy, for the shock,” Mycroft said.
Lestrade managed a halfway decent glare. “I’m not in shock.”
“No?” Mycroft asked, and moved a bit closer. Lestrade’s breathing quickened, and he closed his mouth into a firm line--but he opened it quickly enough when Mycroft leaned in to kiss him, sliding his hand up into Mycroft’s hair as well. It seemed third time was the charm, as Lestrade pressed himself as close to Mycroft as he could manage without spilling the brandy, making a soft, desperate noise deep in his throat.
They parted with a reluctant gradualness, though Mycroft’s arms remained around Lestrade and Lestrade’s free hand, the one not clutching to the brandy like a lifeline, was now resting over Mycroft’s chest. Lestrade’s mouth still hung open and he licked his lips, staring up at Mycroft blankly.
“I don’t understand what just happened,” he said.
Mycroft pulled him even closer, relishing the warmth of their embrace even as Lestrade’s face went very red. “I could explain it to you over dinner,” he offered.