Catching a Break
Greg dropped his head into his hands. Criminals were so inconsiderate. For his birthday, Mycroft had gifted him with a two-week holiday on his island – yes, his fucking island – off the coast of Scotland. He smiled at the memory; Mycroft had claimed it as one of his smaller gifts. Subconsciously, he touched the keys in his pocket. That had been his favourite of all the excessively lavish gifts; a removals van and keys to Mycroft’s flat. That being said, he’d really enjoyed that thing Mycroft had done with his mouth…
However, he hadn’t yet been able to capitalise on that promise. He’s had four multiple-homicides in the space of seven weeks, various one-off killings and a serial killer. Sherlock had been driving him mental as well. Ever since he’d answered the door to Mycroft’s flat, Sherlock had been a little off with him. He supposed it had been a shock to the man’s system, not having deduced that particular nugget of information. Yet that didn’t give him any reason to make his life a living nightmare. In this past day alone, Sherlock had gone on a thieving spree and had taken anything from anyone’s pockets that wasn’t held down. Change, keys, phones, wallets, ID badges, passports, handcuffs, case information, evidence and – absurdly – a condom had been left in Sherlock’s ‘junk’ box. That had been John’s idea: anything stolen would be returned there… eventually.
Greg groaned and snatched a bottle of water from the desk. He spent a minute just staring at it, his mind throbbing, before grabbing the paracetamol too. He took two in an attempt to prevent the headache he could feel forming behind his eyes, and then downed the rest of the bottle. All the excitement of those cases had left little time for paperwork. He was now faced with four separate stacks of paper, each around a foot high, and it was a daunting sight. All he wanted was to get out of this bloody office and into his boyfriend’s (Greg still felt a little thrill at using the term) arms. Outside, the weather was doing its damnedest to highlight the fact that he was stuck inside. Quite typically, the sun beamed through the window and glinted off the irritating papers. He could hear the general chatter of the office outside, but his own was silent. At least it was Friday, and he wasn’t on call this weekend. Sighing, he pulled out his phone.
You wouldn’t happen to know somewhere that I could do official paperwork outside, would you? Greg x
The reply was almost instantaneous.
My car’s waiting for you outside, Gregory. My x
With a sigh of relief Greg hastily stuffed the huge amount of paper into a duffel, along with the rest of the stationary he’d need. Deciding to forgo a jacket he slipped on his shades, exited and locked his office.
“Donovan?!” The Sergeant had been standing by Dimmock’s desk with Anderson. She wandered over, and raised an eyebrow. “I’m leaving early for the weekend. I’ve got my phone, but only for emergencies.” He paused for a moment. “Sherlock turning up doesn’t classify as an emergency.” With that, he strolled out of Scotland Yard and into the waiting car. Mycroft was seated inside. You could tell how hot it was by the way he was dressed. He was in waistcoat and shirt, no jacket, no tie, and his sleeves were rolled back. As he sat down Greg openly admired the sight.
“Enjoying the view, Gregory?” The smile on Mycroft’s face could be heard in his voice. Greg made a noise of assent.
“How did you know I’d be wanting to work outside?” He raised an eyebrow.
“You’ve had seven weeks of non-stop cases. Therefore you’ve a large amount of paperwork. It’s sunny, and you’ve not stopped thinking about our holiday. Of course you were going to want to get out.” Mycroft leant across and kissed Greg soundly. Greg snuggled into his touch, grateful for the comfort of Mycroft’s presence.
“I wish I could just say I’m taking two weeks off and leave.” Mycroft nuzzled Greg’s neck.
“London would collapse.” Greg chuckled.
“Donovan maybe. She’d have to deal with Sherlock.” Mycroft laughed – a proper laugh that reached his eyes – at that one. It was blissfully cool inside the car and it allowed them to cuddle up in the secluded compartment. What they actually did was act like loved-up teenagers, making out and unable to keep their hands off each other. Greg was quite literally in Mycroft’s lap when the car stopped. They had been driving for around five hours, and Greg had a hard time tracking where they were. He was fairly certain they were deep in the Yorkshire Dales, but then again they could be in Cornwall for all he knew. Having taken a minute to compose themselves, Mycroft opened the door for Greg. The sight before him took his breath away.
They had pulled up in front of a beautiful manor. Originally made out of sandstone it had weathered and darkened with age, but it was far from grubby. Ivy climbed in tasteful grace up around the door, and around the windows; he top stems were barely brushing the sills of the uppermost ones, three stories up. As the sun began to set behind it, the entire building seemed to glow. The driver appeared with Greg’s bag and two suitcases, then pulled away.
“Where are we?” Mycroft took Greg’s hand and began leading him around the house.
“This is where I grew up. Cadby Manor. I thought we could stay for the weekend, I know Mummy was complaining to Sherlock that she hadn’t met you when he came here last. She’ll be on the patio.” Greg stopped dead.
“My!” he hiss softly. “There should’ve been a little notice before you introduce me to your mother! I’d have…” he gesticulated wildly, trying to convey his agitation, “dressed up or something! Christ, what if she doesn’t like me?! What if she thinks I’m not good enough?!” He paused for a second in his tirade. “Does she even know you’re gay?” Mycroft threw his head back and laughed. Greg’s fears took flight as he watched him revel in his mirth. He wasn’t as striking as his brother, but he was still all flat planes (Greg was going to deck Sherlock next he called his brother fat) and beautifully sharp lines.
“My darling brother outed me at Christmas the penultimate year I was at Uni. One of the better years, that. I brought my first partner home the following year.” A vaguely haunted look crossed Mycroft’s face. Greg wasn’t privy to what had happened that last Christmas – he didn’t think John was either – but he knew it had been pivotal in the brothers’ relationship. The chasm had only just begun to reconcile. Despite that, Greg grinned.
“How did that particular conversation go?” Mycroft took Greg’s hand and once more began leading them through the grounds.
“We’d just pulled the crackers. If I remember correctly he sat back, steepled his fingers and asked: ‘So, Mycroft. Is it you or your boyfriend that takes it up the arse?’ Mummy choked on a roast potato, and I snorted my whiskey.” Greg was chuckling now, but as they rounded the corner of the house his apprehension returned full force. They stood on the edge of meticulously landscaped gardens. Where the manicured lawns met the house a patio spread out. From there, radial in their construction, slate-chip paths wound their way to other areas; a band-stand, a copse of trees, benches, flower beds, fountains, and a building that Greg was fairly certain was a stable block.
On the patio a woman was sat. She had situated herself in the edge of the shadow, just where the umbra began to fade. She held a book in one hand; it wasn’t in English, Greg could see that as they drew closer. He didn’t think they’d been making much noise, but she had obviously noted their approach. With grace that defied her age and explained where her sons had gotten it, Mrs Holmes stood from her chair.
She didn’t look her age. At the least she would be in her early sixties, but she still had a full head of thick brown hair. It fell in a gentle wave to her shoulders, and when she moved and it caught the light it flashed a burnt red. There were lines around the corners of her eyes, like she laughed and smiled a lot. There were also lines between her brows, deeper ones, which suggested she frown a lot more. She was dressed smartly in a long, pale blue summer dress. It made her look taller, slimmer, and brought out her eyes; there was no question that she was the mother of the two Holmes’.
“Mycroft.” Her smile reached her eyes as she extended her arms towards her son and pulled him in for a hug. “Sherlock visited last week, and now you. How lucky I am. He said you had reconciled your differences, so I presume you’ll be home for more than a day this Christmas.” Mycroft kissed his mother gently on the cheek.
“Mummy. I hope to attend for a few days, but it really depends on Gregory.” With that, he stepped back and pushed Greg forwards. Blushing like a teenager, he shifted nervously on his feet. He didn’t want to offer a hand because it seemed too forced, hut he didn’t want to go for a hug because as a rule Homes’ didn’t do hugs. In the end he took the European option and kissed her on both cheeks. Mrs Holmes smiled warmly.
“The elusive DI Lestrade. I’ve heard so much about you from both of my boys.” She stepped back and looked him over. Greg did his best not to fidget, thinking back to his training and taking drill from a loud-mouthed Sergeant. He felt hugely self-conscious of his rumpled suit. To the all-seeing gaze of a Holmes he was certain his and Mycroft’s activities in the car were starkly obvious. Eventually, after what felt like an age, she laughed faintly. “You’re good for him. He’s even stopped the incessant diets.” Greg smiled and stepped back to Mycroft’s side.
“I was intending to take Gregory to the clearing, but it appears we’re too late.” Mrs Holmes smiled knowingly.
“I’ll have you rooms prepared, Mycroft. Why don’t you give Gregory – may I call you that? – a tour?” Greg nodded in the affirmative.
“Of course, ma’am.” Mrs Holmes laughed and waved away Greg’s term of respect.
“Please, call me Violet.” With that, Mrs Holmes walked back into the house.
“That wasn’t so bad, was it?” Greg jumped as Mycroft’s words ghosted across his ear.
“She’s intimidatingly graceful.” He turned to face Mycroft and buried his head in a strong shoulder. “Just like her sons.” Mycroft grinned and led Greg inside.
The room they entered was huge. It was, in actuality, a ballroom. There was one wall of glass facing the patio through whence they had come, and lavish black curtains made of thick Egyptian cotton were tied to either side of each pane. The floor was polished wood and the walls were panelled halfway and painted the rest. In the centre of the room was a beautiful grand piano, keys covered and lid closed. It was well kept but had obviously not been played in years. Greg ran a hand across the smooth, shiny surface. It was cold to the touch but sent tingles along the length of his arm; as a piece of art is wont to do.
“I always wished I could play a classical instrument. Something that I could just perform an impromptu concert on whenever I wished.” Mycroft’s arms wrapped around his waist.
“I thought you played guitar.” Greg snorted derisively.
“Not very well, and it’s not as elegant as the violin or the piano.” Greg quickly broke from the hold and gestured at the piano.
“Play for me.” Mycroft grimaced.
“I don’t play in front of others.” Greg frowned.
“You play with Sherlock… you play for Sherlock.”
“That’s different. Please, Gregory.” By this time Greg was already opening the piano up. At Mycroft’s continued protestations he kissed him silent.
“It really gets to me.” His voice was a low growl that he knew Mycroft couldn’t resist. “You’ve seen me when I’ve caught you just after you’ve played, and that time I caught you playing…” With an exaggerated sigh Mycroft uncovered the keys. As he pressed down the first note Greg’s eyes slid shut. The music transported him to a world of just the two of them on a lone island, the waves insulating them from their tempestuous lives. The last note slipped through his senses and he nuzzled into his partner. “That was… spectacular.” It was true. Mycroft was as good as, if not better than, Sherlock at playing his instrument.
“If you get the paperwork done this weekend we can have it sent to London. It also means it doesn’t have to come with Scotland with us.” Greg frowned for a second, then beamed.
“Have I told you how much I love you recently?” Mycroft closed up the piano as Greg attacked the back of his neck.
“No, but I know it so you don’t need to.” Greg pressed him against the piano.
“What about work?” Mycroft turned and pulled Greg flush against him.
“You’re not to be called for two weeks, no matter the circumstances. I’m to be contacted by e-mail once a day and by phone only if an all-out nuclear war is eminent.” Greg smiled against Mycroft’s lips.
“Hmm… sounds like a plan.” Mycroft tried to get out from between Greg’s arms, but found himself pinned.
“Come on. I’ll show you the study. We can get started now and if we push it we’ll be done before dinner. That should give us this weekend to unwind here before we fly to Scotland on Monday.” Greg grunted lightly and tilted his hips against Mycroft’s thigh. He flashed the taller man a sly, sultry grin.
“Can you show me your room instead? Your music was rather… alluring.” Mycroft returned the grin, though his was notably more evil, and grabbed Greg’s wrist.
“Come on then.”