Lestrade strolled into the chic restaurant festooned with silver, white, and black balloons and streamers, and almost turned on his heel immediately to walk out. Bloody hell, he thought. They call this place ESP, do they? Fine Food and Wine for the Extra Sensitive Palate. More like the Expensive Small Portion bistro. He'd be eating Jerusalem artichoke puree and thimbles of watercress, tonight, wouldn't he? Damn. Why hadn't he cooked up one of those brilliant egg dishes he saw Nigella make on the telly last week and just stayed home?
And now he had been spotted by Dimmock and Anderson, so he would have to stay at least for a round of drinks and congratulations. Dimmock and his fiance had chosen New Year's sodding Eve for their engagement party and there was just no way to get out of this one. Lestrade smiled and nodded as his colleagues approached and smiled a little more broadly when Dimmock pointed him to the wine and trays of what looked like vaguely edible minuscule hors d'oeuvres.
After a lot of very small talk, mostly about the upcoming wedding and Caribbean honeymoon, Lestrade looked at his watch and told himself he would not be a total bastard if he left early--maybe at eleven, before all the midnight madness started. About ten-thirty, the D. I. was desperate to escape Anderson's wife trying to rub up against him while laughing at every word that came out of his mouth, so he walked out of the private back room and into the main restaurant--eyeing the bar for a vacant seat and planning to drown his sorrows in a pint and then sneak out of the side door. But as he put the glass to his lips and looked around the restaurant he saw someone at a corner table that he thought he recognized.
It was Sherlock's brother, Mycroft. Huh. That tosser. Lestrade didn't really know the man well, beyond the occasional phone call requesting (really, demanding) that Lestrade do something for Sherlock. They'd met a few times at the Yard when Mycroft had come to collect an injured or especially unruly Sherlock. Basically, this Mycroft bloke, who was some sort of mysterious government power player, seemed to want to keep an eye on Sherlock and anyone in his company and didn't mind using some intimidation to get what he wanted. And he was a Holmes, so that was a strike against him from the start.
Still, Lestrade was feeling more gregarious now that the wine and his pint were taking effect. He thought perhaps he would say hello, since the man was clearly sitting alone and looked both put out and out of place. Must be waiting for a date.
Lestrade had never had a proper conversation with Mycroft Holmes, so he wasn't quite sure how to start. Surprisingly easy, as it turned out, though.
"Are you waiting for someone?" Lestrade nodded at the empty chair.
"Oh, hello!" Mycroft's face brightened instantly. "Well, yes, in fact I am, but I've no idea when he might arrive. It's a difficult . . . Well, you don't want to hear about that. Please do sit down. Tell me what you're doing away from your desk for a change, Detective Inspector."
And with that the two men began an hour-long conversation that flew by in what seemed like five minutes. They spoke about everything except Sherlock, and each found it easy to make the other laugh. Lestrade discovered that Mycroft had a sharp, dark sense of humor that sliced up politicians and the occasional pop star, and they shared a secret love of telly cooking shows. Lestrade called them "food porn" and enjoyed making Mycroft blush by comparing camera shots of chefs fondling glistening chicken flesh and moaning over spoons of chocolate mousse with similar fondling and moaning in more traditional pornographic fare. Somehow they rounded a curve and began talking about a recent war photography exhibition that they had both attended. Mycroft knew one of the photographers, who had spent a year shooting in Afghanistan. Lestrade's ex-wife, a crime beat photographer at the Guardian, had brought Lestrade as her plus one to the opening, thinking he would like the heroism and drama of the battlefield shots.
"I have to admit though, those pictures of the ruins were fantastic. Really stayed with me more than the battle scenes," said Lestrade, leaning forward to speak a little more intimately over the growing din of the patrons in the restaurant. "The lighting of those crumbling buildings was just--I don't know--bloody fantastic--didn't you think?"
Mycroft stared at Lestrade for a moment and then nodded. "Simon would love to know someone appreciated that. I think those are the shots he is most proud of. I'll have to tell him." He waved for the waiter, and asked, "Should we get a bottle of champagne? Midnight is approaching . . ."
"Oh, fuck--look at the time. Um . . . sorry. I meant to be gone by eleven and here it's half past. No champagne for me--gives me headaches," said Lestrade. Mycroft's face noticeably fell in disappointment, so Lestrade added, "But maybe I'll have one more pint to ring in the year--you should order the champagne if you want it."
Mycroft beamed as he ordered both champagne and Lestrade's pint, but a moment later his eyes clouded and his lips turned down into something resembling a grimace when a posh older man with an immaculate pin-stripe suit, thinning hair, and sour expression stepped toward their table.
"Oh, Geoffrey, you made it. A mere three hours late. How gracious of you to show up." Mycroft's scowl and knitted brow--not to mention his sarcastic tone--expressed more than annoyance, thought Lestrade. Was this Mycroft's date? Clearly a useless idiot. What would a great guy like Mycroft see in him?
Just as Mycroft was making the introductions, Lestrade's mobile buzzed and he thanked the gods he had an excuse to exit before he had to try to make small talk with the posh prat.
"Good to see you again, Mycroft," said Lestrade as he opened his wallet to pay for his drinks. Instinctively, Mycroft put his hand on Lestrade's to stop him from paying. Lestrade could have sworn a small jolt of electric current raced through his fingers and up his arm. He looked at Mycroft and saw a flush of crimson across his pale face, saw him cast his eyes away to look at the glasses on the table instead of at Lestrade as he spoke. "No, no, Inspector. You were my guest. You must allow me to pay. I . . . I hope our paths cross in the new year." Mycroft's own hand was shaking slightly as he pulled it away to take a sip of water, glancing at his date, and then at Lestrade.
"Yeah. Me too," said Lestrade, trying in vain to make eye contact again. "Well, thanks for the drinks and . . . yeah . . . Happy New Year." Lestrade strode back towards the party to retrieve his coat and asked a couple of officers from the forensics team to say their goodnights and meet him at the murder scene within a half hour. The countdown and midnight cheering erupted just then, and Lestrade carefully navigated through the crowd to avoid sloppy kisses from strangers.
Heading into the street to look for a cab amidst the revelers, Lestrade almost crashed into Mycroft and the prat as they were about to get into Mycroft's elegant black car. Mycroft looked embarrassed.
Geoffrey rolled his eyes when he saw Lestrade and whispered something that made Mycroft's eyes flash with anger. He pushed Mr. Pinstripes into the waiting car. Lestrade grinned.
Possibly it was the alcohol still coursing through his bloodstream, but Lestrade was having a hard time resisting an urge. He placed his leather-gloved hand on Mycroft's expensive overcoat and pulled him away from the car, wrapping an arm around his waist possessively.
"I didn't have chance to do this earlier--for the new year, you know," said Lestrade in a voice a little deeper than usual. Careful to pause a moment, to brush his jaw against Mycroft's, teasing that he might be offering only a chaste peck of the sort that were now skimming across cheeks and lips all over the Greenwich time zone. Mycroft stiffened and inhaled sharply. Lestrade dragged his lips gently across Mycroft's, mixing their warm breath and seeing something--maybe longing or a spark of attraction, or possibly just the word yes in the man's clear blue eyes.
That was really all the encouragement he needed. Lestrade tugged Mycroft a fraction of an inch closer, now realizing that what had started as a bit of showing off to annoy the prat, was now something he really had to do. Had to kiss Mycroft now. A proper snog. And Sherlock's brother seemed to have the same urge.
Mycroft tilted his face so their lips linked perfectly and opened his mouth to slip his tongue over Lestrade's teeth and tickle the roof of the detective's mouth. Lestrade felt a rush of almost adolescent excitement, including an erection that occurred at adolescent speed. As Mycroft withdrew his tongue and sucked at Lestrade's lower lip, their teeth clicked together awkwardly and the two men giggled into each other's mouths, which was somehow also incredibly arousing. This giddy sensation was vaguely familiar to Lestrade, yet also felt brand new. It felt as if he were getting something right this time. He couldn't stifle a quiet moan as he tightened his arm around Mycroft's waist, moved it a little lower, and felt the heat and pressure of their kiss intensify.
This could detour very quickly, he thought, in any number of wicked directions if they weren't on a very public pavement with a few hundred people milling about.
Apparently Mycroft had the same thought, and pulled away with a sigh. Dark, mischievous eyes had replaced the placid blue. "Happy New Year to you, too, Gregory," he said.
"I've got a couple of decomposing bodies waiting, so . . . "
"Yes, of course. I understand. Please don't hesitate to call if I can assist you with Sherlock . . . or anything at all . . . "
Lestrade grinned and nodded, then pulled a card with his email and phone numbers on it from his jacket pocket and slipped it into Mycroft's hand, although he knew damn well the man had all those numbers at his fingertips already. "Same offer to you. The mobile's always on."
Lestrade's mobile rang ten minutes later with an offer of breakfast after his visit to the decomposing bodies was done.
Mycroft made a delicious egg dish he had seen Nigella make the week before. Breakfast in bed, thought Lestrade, is the perfect way to start the new year.