Even in a venue as crowded as the New York Aquarium Mycroft Holmes stood out like a sore thumb. The streams of tourists and mothers herding sticky fingered children instinctively parted around him, a tall thin island at rest on a furled umbrella, before continuing on their way.
With a slight inclination of his head Mycroft indicated the sea otter exhibit with its closed for repairs signs and then led the way, unlocking the temporary door blocking the entrance and then relocking it after them. Two chairs had been placed in front of the otter tank. Both men took a seat.
“It’s good to see you, Mycroft.”
Finch was surprised to realize that he meant it but then it was relaxing to be in the company of someone who already knew everything about him. It was a pity Mr. Reese didn’t feel the same way.
“While I am always delighted to see you, Harold, did you have to choose Coney Island?”
Yes, he did. Ruffling Mycroft’s feathers had always been somewhat of a hobby, one he’d shared with Sherlock although Sherlock had always been better at it. "You said you wanted somewhere out of the way to meet and who in their right mind would look for 'a minor British government official' here?”
Mycroft’s snort conveyed that he knew all too well the real reason for their current location. “I was passing through New York—”
“You have decided which way the UN vote will go, hopefully in Leculo’s favor?”
Finch watched the otters frolicking in their tank, thinking about how some people were doomed to only watch life from the sidelines no matter how powerful they might be.
“And you thought, while you were here, you would stick your nose in to my affairs?”
“The file we have on your man—”
“Reese, gives us cause for concern. If you only knew the depths he is capable of sinking to when—”
“I know everything there is to know about Mr. Reese including many things that aren’t in any file, Mycroft.”
“I beg your pardon, Harold. One gets so used to speaking to inferior minds.” Mycroft shifted in his seat to look directly at him. “It is just that mother worries about you.”
“Please tell Aunt Violet there’s no need to be concerned. I trust Mr. Reese, with everything.”
A slight quirk of Mycroft’s eyebrow revealed the last piece of the puzzle had just slid in to place. “What is it about these ex-military types?” he murmured.
“Dr. Watson is good for Sherlock, Mycroft, and I, for one, find his blog very entertaining.”
“So you are the reason why I could not shut it down?”
Finch just smirked, rising slowly to his feet. “It’s been a pleasure, Mycroft, but I really must be going.”
Mycroft stood up too, placing a hand on Finch’s shoulder. “You do know your man is following you, spying on you?”
He wondered when Mycroft had last touched another human being beyond an unavoidable formal handshake. “I believe Mr. Reese is currently lurking in the shrubberies near the sea lion tank and I hate to keep him waiting.”
Mycroft’s hand dropped and they started walking slowly back towards the entrance to the exhibit.
“Why the farce then?”
“He’s not quite ready yet, he’s only just learning to trust again, but when the time is right I’ll tell him everything.” He could hear the catch in his own voice. “I no longer have a choice.”
“I’m sorry, Harold, emotions always make things so messy.” Mycroft’s moue of distaste was palpable.
“That they do, Mycroft, that they do.” They’d reached the door. “Would you mind if we left the exhibit together? I think you’ll pique his interest.”
“And you want him to follow me for a while so you can get on about your business. I am happy to oblige. I have some errands to run for mother and I am sure your Mr. Reese will enjoy the Garment District.”
“He’ll probably end up thinking you’re my tailor.”
“I will be happy to ‘stitch him up’ for you, as Lestrade would say.”
“Give my best to Aunt Violet and please ask her to stop interfering with the presidential primaries. I know everyone needs a hobby but it’s getting a little ridiculous.”