As the winter winds litter London with lonely hearts
Oh the warmth in your eyes swept me into your arms
Was it love or fear of the cold that led us through the night?
For every kiss your beauty trumped my doubt
--“Winter Wind,” Mumford & Sons
Greg gets the call at 1 pm on a Saturday afternoon. He’s just finished arresting a half-dozen suspects in a counterfeiting operation, thanks in large part to the investigative power of Sherlock Holmes and with the cooperation of the City Police service. He’s gratified that the arrests were made and that no one is hurt but he’s not looking forward to the paperwork. He’s seriously considering skiving off home when his departmental phone rings.
“DI Lestrade,” he says into the receiver.
The voice on the other end speaks and his world crumbles.
Later, Greg waits in A&E to hear about Mycroft’s condition. Sally Donovan is with him, which he thinks is sweet of her and really above and beyond what he expected. But, he reflects, if she looks at him with any more sympathy, he’s going to crawl out of his skin and so he sends her off to 221B Baker St and the tender mercies of Sherlock Holmes. An hour later, she is not back and a pretty blonde nurse finally comes through the double doors and tells him that Mycroft is stable and is being taken to surgery and is there anyone she can call?
Greg shakes his head, because the only person he can think of is Sherlock and it would be a minor miracle if he walked through the door. Greg is not close to his own family and the people he’s closest to, besides Em, are work colleagues and just how sad is his fucking life?
So Greg sits in the plastic chair and waits. He is used to waiting; had waited a year for Mycroft to notice him, or rather, to trust him enough to let him get close.
They had met at a party four years ago. Greg had been invited by a rather handsome bloke he’d met at the pub the night before and by the end of the night, two things were apparent. One, that the handsome bloke was really a cheating bastard and no, Greg would not take him home thankyouverymuch. And two, Mycroft Holmes was not like anyone Greg had ever met. He was controlled; the evidence was there in the microsecond of hesitation before he spoke, as if he was weighing every word, unspooling scenarios in his head and choosing the best outcome. He was certain of himself, a confidence that was so absolute that it bordered on smug. He was the most self-possessed man Greg had ever met and so unprepossessing that almost everyone seemed to miss it.
It was hypnotic, watching him work his way through a room. Greg could not take his eyes off him. Mycroft remembered names and faces effortlessly, knew instantly what to say to put a man at ease. He was subtly in control of every interaction, guiding those he spoke to in a specific and planned direction. It was masterful and Gregwais, reluctantly, impressed. He was also wildly aroused. Greg felt a desperate desire to break down that control, to force a real, honest reaction from the man.
That was all it was at first, an erotic compulsion to see that buttoned-up man come undone. So, Greg gave Mycroft his number and waited for him to call and when he didn’t Greg figured that’s that. Probably just as well anyway, he reflected. A toff like Mycroft had little in common with a shabby copper like him anyhow.
Months passed and he was promoted to Detective Inspector and given one of those cases that kept him up nights. Eight victims on his hands and Greg was no closer to cracking the case than he was as the beginning when a skinny, wild-haired man busted into his office, coked off his head and rattling off facts about the case that hadn’t been published in any newspaper. His name was Sherlock Holmes and he solved the case that Greg had been working on for three months in six hours.
Greg didn’t put it together, not at first. They didn’t look alike and Holmes was a common enough name. It was only when a black sedan pulled up beside him and Mycroft’s face appeared in the lowered window that he realised, Oh, of course.
He slid into the leather seat and Mycroft smiled placidly at him.
“As you are now working with my brother, I believe it is time that we have a little chat.”
Mycroft proceeded to tell Greg about Greg’s own life in truly alarming detail and Greg would have found it creepy if it weren’t so surprising. He’d figured the man was brilliant—had to be with the way he finessed people—but this was unexpected. The only other person who had managed to shock him like this was the younger Holmes and Greg was now acutely aware of the resemblance.
“My brother finds these tedious police matters diverting,” Mycroft concluded. “And he requires something to occupy his mind.”
The or else bad things happen hung there.
“Right so, this is some kind of threat? If I don’t let your brother in on my crime scenes, you’ll, what?” Greg cast about for something suitably dire. “Tell the papers my father’s an alcoholic?”
Mycroft sighed. “Nothing of the kind, Detective Inspector,” he said and managed to sound put out. “I am merely pointing out that Sherlock has people who care for him.”
“Yeah, if you care so much you might want to do something about his little habit. If he comes into my squad room coked up again, I’m going to have to hold him.”
Mycroft’s lips thinned. “My brother is, unfortunately, quite stubborn. I’m sure, given your history, that you are aware of the concept of ‘rock bottom?’”
Greg was very aware, having hit it himself before he’d finally given up the drink. Mycroft hadn’t mentioned it in his recitation of the facts of Greg’s life, but he had no doubt that the man knew about it. Probably knew how he took his coffee in the morning, the tosser.
“Black, two sugars,” Mycroft said serenely, for all the world as if he’d read Greg’s mind. “Ah, here we are.”
The car pulled up in front of Greg’s flat. The driver jumped out and opened Greg’s door before he could get to the handle and Greg moved to exit when a warm hand on his wrist stopped him.
“My card,” Mycroft said, holding out an embossed bit of heavy cardstock. Greg took it and walked up the stairs to his rooms, thinking that his life had taken a turn for the truly bizarre.
It is four hours later when a nurse—brunette, this time—informs him that Mycroft is out of surgery. Two bullets were recovered from his chest and he is in a medically induced coma. Greg can see him in the morning. Greg takes a cab back to the Yard and finishes the paperwork from the counterfeiting case. Dimmock is handling the investigation into the shooting and Greg doesn’t ask, doesn’t even think about asking because he knows that if he’s told anything about the man who did this, he will retrieve a gun from the evidence locker and murder him.
Instead, he plods through AFRs and time off requests. He even looks at the newest budget figures; the cuts have been the cause of much grousing over the past few weeks. At seven, the squad room empties out as the night-shifters come on. Greg’s more than put his twelve in but he can’t quite find it in him to go back to their home. He doesn’t want to look at the comfortable furniture and the neat row of Saville Row suits in the closet and the tasteful wallpaper in their bedroom. He can’t bear the thought of how close his partner came to dying tonight. The knowledge of it is like a fist around his heart and Greg is suddenly seized with a fierce thirst which he battles down ruthlessly.
Addiction is a tricky thing. An addict can spend years managing their habit, getting by while seeming to be in control. And then one cock up can send their whole life crashing down. For Lestrade, it was a car crash; his Camry wrapped around a tree and him, shaking and cursing and very lucky to be alive. He’d promised himself that night that he’d stop drinking; give it up and make something of his life rather than end up like his father, the poor sod.
For Sherlock, it had been Mycroft.
Greg had taken to swinging by Sherlock’s dingy flat every once in a while, just to make sure he was all right. It gave him an excuse to text the number on the card Mycroft had given him. So what if Mycroft never texted back? He was a busy man, after all. Greg knew that his crush had exceeded sad and reached pathetic levels but he consoled himself with the thought that Mycroft had asked him to look after Sherlock. Sort of. In his way. The justification was weak in his own ears as Lestrade makes him way up the narrow stairs.
He found Sherlock unconscious on the bathroom floor.
In A&E, Mycroft looked so gutted that it took the heart out of Greg.
“Thank you, Detective Inspector, for your quick thinking. You likely saved my brother’s life,” Mycroft said when Greg approached. Greg waved the praise away, fixing his eyes on Mycroft’s weary face.
“How are you?”
Mycroft looked a bit surprised by the question. “Tired of this,” he answered honestly. “My brother’s mind is…singular. Brilliant. To see him throw it away like this is—” Mycroft searched for a word and finally settled on, “Painful.”
A week later, Greg went by Sherlock’s flat to get his help for a case and found he wasn’t there.
Am looking for your brother re: case. Have you seen him?
His phone lit up after a minute. Call me. I detest texting.
“He’s here. He’s detoxing,” Mycroft told him.
“How’s that going?” Greg would have put money on the guess that Sherlock was not a willing participant.
Mycroft’s voice sounded desolate. “Agonisingly.”
Greg hesitated and though, What’s the harm? “Want some company?”
“That would be…quite pleasant, thank you, Detective Inspector.”
Greg wakes with his head on his desk and a horrible crick in his neck. He leans back, wincing and glances at the clock. 5 am and visiting hours don’t start until seven. He walks to the corner shop and orders two coffees, one for himself and one for the desk nurse who, after some sweet talking, lets Greg into the tiny private room that Mycroft’s been assigned.
The sight of him with a tube down his throat and blood-stained gauze taped thickly around his chest almost undoes Greg.
“Ah Em,” he says, rubbing a trembling hand across Mycroft’s forehead. He sinks into the chair by the bed.
The nurses try to kick him out but he stubbornly refuses to go and they give up after the second day. John Watson comes to visit, murmuring how sorry he is and how Sherlock is going to find the man that did this. That makes Greg happy and he manages to smile a bit at John and even asks him to bring Sherlock by, when the case is finished. He knows that things haven’t been right between the brothers since Sherlock’s overdose but he thinks that Mycroft would want to see his brother when he wakes.
Thetis comes to visit as well, tapping away on her Blackberry per usual and looking as calm and unruffled as normal. He would hate her a bit for that, except that John told him that she’d been blaming herself for the security breech. Greg tries to reassure her but she just smiles vaguely at him and continues texting.
“Must go. The idiots at the Home Office,” she says archly, “are being recalcitrant. I’ll come by in a few days, yes?”
The only time he leaves Mycroft’s bedside is when he gets a text from Sherlock. It says simply, The shooter is unconscious in room 541. No one else knows. and an address. Greg wants very badly to go there alone but he knows that it’s a crap idea and so he calls Sally and has her meet him there. When they get up to the drab hotel room, they find Sebastian Moran shot dead.
“Thought Freak said he was alive?” Sally asks, examining the body.
“He did,” Greg responds. “Maybe some friends came looking for him.” He cannot help the chilly smile of satisfaction that spreads across his face. It is answered by Sally’s own.
“Well, saves us the trouble anyhow,” Sally says. “I’ll call this in and then drive you back, yeah?”
Greg spends another four days in hospital, watching Mycroft’s chest jerk up and down with the assistance of the respirator and watching his IV line migrate from one arm to the other. The nurses are reassuring. They tell him that Mycroft’s wounds are healing nicely and that he should wake up in a few days. His recovery will be slow but his prognosis is good—he will be able to return to work and do all the things he did before he was shot.
Greg can hardly credit this. Mycroft looks so small and so impossibly frail and it is awful to see him this way. He’s always been such a presence in Greg’s life, from the very first. Greg cannot look at him now without a breathless, nauseated feeling gripping him. Sometimes, he sits by his bedside and just cries helplessly. Other times, he’s seized with impotent rage. He wants to find the man that shot Sebastian Moran and give him a fucking medal. He wants to cover Mycroft with his own body and snarl at anyone that comes near. He wants, more than anything, to see Mycroft open his eyes and hear him speak his name.
On the eighth day, John brings Sherlock to the ward.
“Glad you’ve come,” he says honestly. John squeezes Sherlock’s hand and the detective goes into Mycroft’s room alone. Greg can hear him sobbing through the door and thinks tiredly that Mycroft will be sorry to have missed it. John goes in and they both come out a few minutes later, Sherlock’s eyes raw but his face looking lighter than Greg has ever seen it.
“I’ll call you when he wakes,” he promises and resumes his vigil.
His first time with Mycroft was nothing like Greg imagined. But then, Mycroft was nothing like he’d imagined. Mycroft was very still; he could sit for hours without moving, lost inside his own mind. It unnerved Greg the first time he saw it. But then he noticed the effort Mycroft made when other people were around, to make the little nervous gestures that everyone else did and he was pleased that Mycroft hadn’t pretended with him.
Mycroft was wittier than he’d given him credit for. He had a dry, sarcastic sense of humor that was far too cutting for polite conversation. The first time he muttered ‘daft cow’ as a dowager peeress breezed towards him, Greg almost choked on his cranberry juice. Afterward, Mycroft made it a point to whisper his opinion of various people at the party ‘—boorish dullard,’ ‘pretentious twat—’ and Greg reflected that he’d never had more fun at a black tie.
Mycroft was shyer than Greg imagined. He had dated only rarely before and Greg’s obvious desire threw him off stride. He was always sweetly surprised that Greg wanted him. Because of this, Greg took things very slowly. They had been dating for months before Greg finally kissed him and Mycroft kissed back tentatively, then with more urgency, pulling away to ask, “What took you so long?”
Things progressed rather quickly from there. Greg wanted to take his time, do the thing right but every touch had Mycroft shuddering and the open, needy look on his face nearly did Greg in.
When Mycroft murmured, “Gregory, please. I need—” against his lips, Greg could not wait a second longer.
“Oh god, Em,” he gasped.
He reached down between their legs and wraped his hand around both their cocks. Mycroft keened and bucked against him and Greg kissed him sloppily. It was over in minutes, and they both collapsed on the bed, half-dressed and rumpled. Greg propped himself up on an elbow and watched Mycroft’s expression go from slack satisfaction back to awareness. He wanted to fuck it right off his face again.
Mycroft caught the look in his eye and blushed, but raised an sceptical eyebrow.
“Give me a minute,” Greg growled and Mycroft laughed, a warm rich sound. Greg wrapped his arms around him and thought, I am never giving this up.
They take the breathing tube out a few hours after Mycroft wakes up. His voice rasps over Greg’s name and, embarrassingly, Greg bursts into tears. Mycroft doesn’t seem to mind that his boyfriend is making a complete prat of himself, though. He pulls Greg down until he’s half on the bed with him and presses his face into Greg’s neck and just breaths.
nbsp; Later, he says, “I am sorry, Gregory.” And for Mycroft Holmes, this is tantamount to a declaration of undying love.
“Don’t ever leave me,” Greg murmurs into his hair. “I waited my whole life for you, you know. I expect to have you for at least that long.” A/N: AFRs are Automated Field Reports. Reviews are love.