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.
I AM CONTINUING THIS FOR THE HELL OF IT. Until everyone 'ships it.
“Why don’t you tell me?” Mycroft asked, resting his hand on the small of Greg’s back, feeling the tension there.
“What?” Greg said immediately, defensively, and tried to put distance between them--something Mycroft stopped with a lean and a breath on Greg’s cheek, a gentle puff of air that had Greg turning almost instinctively for a kiss.
So Mycroft indulged him, a gentle, teasing press of lips as he wound his arms carefully around Greg’s waist, and asked, “Who is it Harry reminds you of.”
Greg’s eyes widened, then darted here and there; Mycroft could read his decision to dissemble and then his decision not to, and that little lick of his lips and sweet sweep of eyelashes was an attempt to distract him, but they both knew Mycroft was not distracted easily. He would allow a denial, to let Greg not answer, but by now Greg knew it was a question that wasn’t going away.
“An old boyfriend,” Mycroft murmured, and smiled at the quick snap-to of Greg’s attention. “Public school, while you were, oh, running about here and there, perhaps back when you had that bike...?”
“I never told you about the bike,” Greg protested, but the tension was easing now, or changing: his hips were canting forward to meet Mycroft’s and his hands were kneading at Mycroft’s arms, a pleasant indecision about moving up or down.
“You have neglected to tell me many things,” Mycroft said in a very serious tone as Greg made his decision, and put one hand to the back of Mycroft’s head to pull him into a kiss, and let the other fall to Mycroft’s hip. When the kiss ended, he added, “For example, that you have strongly positive sexual associations with Harry’s inflection and manner.”
“Mycroft!” Greg spluttered, and tried to back away--embarrassed, irritated, and Mycroft wasn’t about to let either stand. He nipped at Greg’s neck and up to his earlobe, tugging lightly.
“He fascinates you,” he purred into Greg’s ear, and smiled at the minute shudder those words produced.
“Yeah, but I have someone who fascinates me right here,” Greg said pointedly, and pushed up against Mycroft in a deliberately slow, graceful grind that made Mycroft’s breath catch--
Mycroft pushed him down onto the smaller sofa, one of two in his sitting room, and straddled him, holding his wrists against the sofa’s back. “Flattery will get you nowhere,” he warned, and pressed a few teasing kisses to Greg’s throat before snogging him properly.
“Oh, it’s--” Greg gasped and shifted, slow and searching, against him. “It’s got me this far--”
“Honesty will get you farther,” Mycroft said breathlessly, tugging Greg’s wrists farther up so that he could cross them over one another, and hold them with one hand. He worked on the buttons of Greg’s shirt with the other.
“How far?” Greg asked, and nipped at Mycroft’s chin.
“Mm, as far as you wish, and with as many partners as you wish,” Mycroft said, and noted the blush and definite stirring of interest on Greg’s part, as well as the return of his uneasy reservation. He kissed him gently, rubbing soothingly at his bared chest. “And whenever you wish, darling. It needn’t be now.”
But the seed had been planted.
“I don’t know why you’re pushing this,” Greg said, getting up and marching to the counter to pour out his coffee. “It’s not—it isn’t—”
“We’ve had fourteen hours together this week,” Mycroft said, not looking up from his tea. He was aware of Greg turning to stare at him, of the tension tightening Greg’s whole body, and allowed himself the briefest flash of self-pity, that he couldn’t refrain from addressing it. “That’s due to my schedule more than yours.”
“We have long hours,” Greg said, a bit unsteadily. He was leaning heavily back on the counter, staring at Mycroft’s hand, curled around the tea cup.
“Every relationship I’ve had, I’ve fit around my work,” Mycroft said carefully, flexing his fingers carefully, tapping the rim of the cup here and there; Greg’s gaze remained fixed on his hands, as he’d intended. “That was my priority. It still is, to an extent.”
“I would rather fit my work around you,” Mycroft continued evenly, and felt a little rush of adrenalin at the way Greg sucked in a breath and held it. “But there is only so much I can do—or, rather, so much that I can’t.” He smiled mirthlessly to himself, and softened it then with affection as he turned to Greg. “The last thing I want is for you to be lonely.”
Greg blinked twice, and then said, “I’m not.”
Mycroft waited patiently, tapping his fingers in a quiet, careful rhythm on the cup. Greg’s eyes were drawn that way again as he swallowed thickly.
“I’m not willing to give this up,” Greg said finally.
“Good. I’m not willing to let you,” Mycroft said, and flashed one of his scarier smiles at Greg’s raised eyebrow.
Amusement relaxed him abruptly. Greg sauntered to the table and smiled down at Mycroft, an affectionate smirk. “So you’re trying to arrange a play date for me, to keep me from getting any ideas about escape?”
“I think it’s a better option than handcuffs,” Mycroft said innocently, and resolutely did not laugh at Greg’s blush.
They weren’t there yet, he knew, tipping his head back for a kiss, but they were getting there.
“Excuse me, Inspector?”
Greg turned to face a pretty middle-aged woman, with soft golden-brown waves of hair and bright blue eyes. It was only from the fine lines around her eyes and mouth that he knew her age; that, and the outfit that passed for casual among a certain age and set. She was at once entirely out of place in the tiny coffee shop and entirely comfortable in it.
“Detective Inspector Lestrade, am I correct?” she said, and held out her hand. “I’m Rebecca Morgan, Harry’s wife.”
Greg felt his face freeze.
“Oh no, don’t do that,” she said, taking his arm in a confident manner. “Really, how indiscreet do you think my husband is? You know his position, don’t you? If I weren’t meant to know, then I wouldn’t. And I’m not about to drag you into a screaming fight, especially as I hear you’re playing hard to get.”
“Excuse me?” Greg said, shock making his voice entirely too loud, even for a crowded cafe.
Rebecca sighed at him, but it was an oddly fond sound. “Shall we sit?”
“Here?” He’d rather not have to find a new shop.
She rolled her eyes, but it was with the same little, indulgent smile. “Come along, then. We’ll take a walk.” Greg would really rather not, but what was he going to do?
They walked down the street a ways, until they reached a small green space; it took maybe two minutes, and Rebecca’s easy chatter about the weather kept it from being entirely tortuous. Greg couldn’t find a trace of malice in her tone, and relaxed as much as he was able.
“Now,” she said, pulling him to a bench, “let’s sit and show the world a handsome couple, shall we?” She winked at him and Greg felt a bit of blush heat his cheeks.
“Harry and I have been married for thirty-two years now,” she said as Greg settled uneasily on the bench. “We have two boys, Edward and Arthur, and two dogs, Gerald and Aberforth.”
“Aberforth,” Greg repeated.
Rebecca shrugged. “It seemed a good idea at the time.”
“I’m sorry, I don’t know what’s happening or why,” Greg burst out, turning to look her in the eye. “I’m happily in a relationship myself--”
“With Mycroft, yes, I know,” she interrupted easily, twinkling at him. “Isn’t he lovely? A bit scary, but perfectly lovely.”
“You--” Greg’s mouth hung open as he searched for something to say, but she interrupted easily and brightly.
“I’m currently seeing a young man called Darren, which isn’t the nicest of names in my opinion, but what can we do?” Rebecca squeezed his arm. “We can’t all be Gregorys. Which is a lovely name, by the by.”
“It’s called an open marriage nowadays, I hear,” Rebecca said, with another disarming smile. “We just call it our arrangement. Oh, don’t look like that; of course I heard about what happened with your wife, and I’m terribly sorry, and I wanted to reassure you that this is nothing at all of that sort before, well, before you thought it was.” She gave a short sigh and smiled even more brightly. “We’re best friends, Harry and I, and we take a deep interest in each other’s interests.”
“I’m your husband’s interest?” Greg managed, head still whirling.
“If you weren’t his, you’d be mine,” she said, and fluttered her eyelashes.
“Rebecca, please,” she said, and laughed. “Oh, don’t tell me you don’t have a string of people sighing after you, Inspector, because I won’t believe it. I can’t believe it.”
Greg bit the inside of his cheek, trying not to grin. “Well, you ought to.”
“Perfect nonsense,” she said easily, and settled more comfortably against him.
Mycroft paused with the tea cup inches from his lips. “You set Rebecca on him?”
“She set herself, rather,” Harry said, and smiled. “She does take an interest.”
Greg had planned to be mature about this. He’d asked Mycroft to invite Harry to dinner, and he’d planned to turn him down. Them down. He and Mycroft, and their ridiculous plan for the three of them to—to what? To have an open relationship? He couldn’t even think about it without feeling absolutely ridiculous, like he was playing at being twenty again. The embarrassment very nearly cancelled out the heat entirely.
And it wasn’t worth it; Greg was more than happy with Mycroft. He’d slept alone for years, at his desk or in the spare room, to avoid waking his wife when he got home late. He didn’t mind sleeping alone some nights because he knew that, when Mycroft was around, they would be sleeping together, and there would be no time when heading to the sofa or a spare room would be acceptable.
No. Adding someone else into the mix would only complicate things, and Mycroft was complicated enough (in some very good ways and in some very scary ways). So what if Greg was attracted to Harry? Attraction didn’t have to be acted on. They were all adults here.
He’d known the moment Harry walked into his flat, sharing a sly smile with Mycroft, that his plan was out the window.
No one else got to him like this. Mycroft watched Greg try to control his response; he moved slowly, with caution, but also with a fluid grace that lent an extra sensuality to each gesture. He couldn’t quite keep himself from away from Harry, and Harry gave him no reason to try, watching him with a steady, appreciative gaze.
“A drink before we go?” Mycroft asked innocently as Greg tried to get them moving for the door. He knew, Mycroft saw plainly, that there’d been no chance they would leave. Possibly he’d even figured out there was no reservation. Certainly they could all sense the prevailing appetite in the room wasn’t for food.
“That would be lovely,” Harry said, even as Greg shot Mycroft a glare. Then Harry stepped closer to Greg, touching his palm to the small of Greg’s back politely enough, but the veneer of civility was shattered at the way Greg sucked in a breath, his eyelashes fluttering in a helpless reaction.
“Or perhaps,” Harry murmured, turning to Greg. Greg swallowed hard and stared up at him, chin lifted defiantly and lips parted in thoughtless invitation. It was an invitation Harry took, sliding his free hand over Greg’s jaw as he pulled him into a slow kiss.
Mycroft smiled at the way Greg resisted completely giving himself up to it, and moved in close press his body up to Greg’s back, to reassure him of both his presence and appreciation for the situation. As he slid his arms around Greg’s waist, Greg moaned, low and deep, and went almost boneless between them, surrendering completely.
Harry was already rucking up Greg’s jumper; Mycroft went to work on Greg’s belt, murmuring soft reassurances and brushing the lightest, tickling kisses along Greg’s jaw and up the delicate curve of his ear. Then Greg’s hand was clutching at his hair desperately, pulling him into a searing kiss as Harry said, “Sofa, perhaps?”
He took Greg’s hands, untangling the one from Mycroft’s hair with a smirk that made the gentle heat in Mycroft’s belly burn brighter. Harry stepped back, leading Greg forward, and Mycroft followed, until they were standing in front of the sofa, Harry’s back to it, and Greg gasped, “Wait, I—I don’t—”
“Hush,” Mycroft whispered, and together he and Harry pulled his jumper off, Mycroft completing the act as Harry ran his hands up over the buttoned shirt that was the last barrier to bare skin. Greg’s belt was hanging open and Mycroft bit at his earlobe, provoking a deep, lovely cry as he snaked it loose and dropped it to the floor.
“Don’t,” Greg said again, and Harry paused in the act of unbuttoning his shirt.
“No?” he asked politely, and held very still.
“Are you sure?” Mycroft asked, his hands frozen on Greg’s hips.
“Not—not yet,” Greg said, flushing bright red. “Just. Not this time.”
Mycroft smiled as Harry ducked his head in an acquiescent bow. “Understood,” Harry said, and moved his hands to Greg’s waist, meeting Mycroft’s eyes with one quick glance. Then Harry sank back onto the sofa, and he and Mycroft together pushed Greg into straddling him, which made him blush again but caused no complaint.
And Greg knelt over Harry, kissing him hard, one hand cupping his jaw and the other reaching back blindly for Mycroft. Mycroft took it and laced his fingers with Greg’s, his other hand carding through Greg’s hair—and tugging ever-so-lightly, a bit more lightly than Greg preferred, but he knew that Greg didn’t want to lose himself completely. Not yet, he’d said.