Chef!Lestrade x Mycroft “Mycroft, you fat twat.”
Chef!Lestrade x Mycroft
“Mycroft, you fat twat.”
“Sir,” Anthea’s head appeared in the doorway, the oak door cracked just enough for her to make sure he wasn’t in the middle of anything. It wasn’t anything important, for the moment, and Mycroft lifted his head from the papers to give her the attention she needed.
“We found a chef for you and we need your okay.” She always said ‘we’, but Mycroft doubted she consulted any other people on this personal request. He gave a small nod of approval and gathered his papers together to hide them away for the moment. With a job like his, he had to be very careful about everything he did, even if it was unlikely that the stranger could even read any of his papers from a distance. The door opened up and Anthea and an older looking gentleman entered.
He didn’t look dressed for the part, in
casual jeans and rumpled collared shirt, but he didn’t look high priced either, and Mycroft found a little bit of relief in it. He was with people in suits all day, so this was always a nice change. It also alerted the him to who the man was. He was good at his job, obviously, otherwise he would be striving to impress him with looks. It would have back fired, of course. A good chef couldn’t cook in a suit. He was older with greying hair and a well-defined face. The defining marks on his hands and wrists told Mycroft that he’d been doing his job long and the notepad and ink marks in his pocket told him he took his job seriously and even enjoyed it. The words peeking out from the notepad assured him he could expect good food; ‘beef Stew’. He was a simple man then. His writing was slow and deliberate as a sign that he thought and made corrections as necessary. More personal information included his recent divorce, his refusal of another job, a new flat he wasn’t happy in, and he had a pet bird. They might have to do something about that, but it wasn’t important at the moment.
“This is Gregory Lestrade. He’s considered a celebrity chef,” she informed and the man proudly smiled.
“I’m not a celebrity, as you already know. Why are you here?” Mycroft questioned.
“Ah. Well, I’m a little sick of celebrities, to be honest and I’ve never really liked the cameras. I’m actually just a personal chef,” Lestrade assured him patiently. “I just happen to work with famous people. I can promise you, it’s because I’m good at my job.” He approached the desk and fumbled with a plastic container for a moment. Mycroft was slightly put off at the idea of eating anything cold or in such a container. As it was opened, however, the lovely scent flooded from inside of it.
“I brought this for you to try. I wouldn’t expect you to hire me without a sample. They took a bit to test, so that’s why there’s a chunk missing.” He explained. A quick glanced toward Anthea confirmed his story. Mycroft wasn’t so paranoid that he thought everyone was after him, but it was definitely something he had to consider. He was given a fork and Mycroft gave the dish a small poke through to distinguish what was in it. It was a pasta salad of sorts, and extremely aromatic.
“I would have brought something warm, but I don’t like having to reheat dishes. They were very closed mouthed about what you would eat, too, but she mentioned you smoked, so I did my best.” He explained. Mycroft gave him a curious glance. He could see how that would be important, but he was surprised the man would even consider it. He finally gave it a taste. It was impressive to say the least. He hadn’t had a meal this good in years. In fact, he couldn’t think of a time he’d ever had a meal this good. Lestrade looked at him with a painfully blank expression. He was trying too hard not to appear nervous.
“This is fantastic.” He complimented, not bothering to hide his hunger. He hadn’t eaten all day and this was good. That was all the compliment the chef needed, and Lestrade smiled.
“Anthea will help you move in.”
“I’m hired.” He stated with a bit of relief. It wasn’t a question though. Lestrade smiled pleasantly and left with no further questions or statements. It was important to find someone who was compatible with Mycroft and if there was one thing Anthea was good with, it was people.
Lestrade was impressed at the size of the flat. He wasn’t completely sure what his new boss did, they were very vague on the subject, but he was obviously doing well. He didn’t mind that he didn’t know what the man did. He was actually a little tired of being on top of gossip. Often times, people would insist he was the one giving out rumors. It had gotten him fired more than once, despite Lestrade never saying a word to anyone. Famous or not, that was an invasion of privacy. So far, everyone was very closed lipped. He wasn’t even sure where the man worked, since he’d been picked up in a tinted windowed car and left in the very same. He knew the flat was located somewhere towards the outskirts of London, and he was glad that he wasn’t being confined to the spacious room. There was a little market down the streets and plenty of places for him to do shopping.
The flat itself reminded him more of a picture out of a magazine than a place where people lived. The dark wood floors were shiny and high gloss, and the huge windows allowed them to see out but not for anyone to see in. There were chandeliers and were simple and minimalistic, and plush leather seats, and a glass table top, and it didn’t look very lived in. He doubted his new boss was here often. Lestrade pulled his pad from his pocket and scribbled down another little note for later reference.
“The whole house is protected.” Anthea assured him. “This glass in impenetrable and shatterproof. The roof is made to withstand impacts from the largest of explosions, as are the walls and floor.” She tapped a foot against the wood absently. She had yet to look away from her phone. “The code for the door changes weekly, so don’t forget it and don’t write it down. You’re not to have any guest and there will be no guests. If you have to open the door for them, they don’t belong here. Easy as that. At any sign of tampering, the entire building will arm. Do not panic.”
“So this is basically a vault.” Lestrade murmured. Whatever it was Holmes did, he obviously had a lot of enemies. No wonder they’d done such a thorough background check on him.
“Is it to keep people out or him in?” He scoffed to himself. He couldn’t imagine anyone would want a job like this. It had to be done, surely, as all jobs did, but it had to be awful. Could anyone really want to be targeted at any moment of the day. Lestrade was surprised he even left his house. Not leaving would be far worse, sitting alone in this cold place, but he only saw the choices as being alone or being dead. What had he gotten himself into? Anthea finally looked away from her phone, a delicate eyebrow arched at him.
“It depends on the day. Your bedroom’s this way.” She instructed with a small swish of the head. The first one was his new boss’s room and right next door was his own. She stopped in the middle of the hall.
“That’s the study. Help yourself. And the bathroom.”
“There’s only one?”
“Do you require a separate loo?” She questioned pointedly. Lestrade hurriedly shook his head.
“No,” he said quickly. “It’s just, people usually don’t like sharing personal space.” He would have to get used to the difference between the government worker and the strange habited celebrities he was use to working for. Instead of answer, she informed him of the cleaning.
“The maid visits every Monday and Thursday. Never the same person. However, you are expected to be relatively clean.”
“I am.” Lestrade promised her. That wasn’t a problem at all. He never got too comfortable in the houses he was cooking in and this wouldn’t be the exception. Even if Lestrade did think that the flat needed to be a little more homey. He supposed that wasn’t at the top of the man’s list to do. He peeked into his room. He’d never had a room so nice. To be honest, he usually worked in places twice as big as this, so it was nice to be somewhere small. The far wall of the room was made completely of glass and the bed was pressed against it, lacking a headboard to preserve the view. He had a dresser on one wall and a shelf on the other. It was nice, and would be even better when he got his things moved in. He didn’t have a lot of things, considering he never stayed in one place long, but those that he did have, were very important to him.
“My bird. May I hang him from the ceiling?”
“About your bird,” Anthea began.
“I don’t work without my bird.” Lestrade assured her firmly and unwaveringly. She didn’t look too pleased by the firm press of her lips, but it wasn’t a subject he would be moved on. She seemed to consider her argument before coming to the same conclusion; he had plenty of other jobs to take and she had been told about the creature when he applied for this job.
“Of course you may.” She gave the smallest of pleasant smiles. Lestrade was glad they were rather friendly people. He’d been a little worried that moving out from celebrities to more quiet people would be a shock. It would take a while to get use to such a domestic life. Almost like living with his wife again. Perhaps a little quieter than living with his ex-wife.
“Your pay will be directed straight into your accounts and your expenses will be returned to you at the end of every month. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate. My number and Mr. Holmes’ number has been entered into your phone. Your things are being brought up now. It’ll be a pleasure working with you, Mr. Lestrade.”
Lestrade had moved into his new work place with relative ease. They handled everything to the point that it was a little startling. He’d just bought himself a new flat before he had decided he would go back to work. They had sold it. He had no problem with that; it would have taken him weeks to even get it on the market if he’d done it himself. He unpacked his clothes and personal effects, and even managed to get his bird settled in. When he finished settling in, and not a moment later, he received a message. He hadn’t thought to ask if there were cameras. There probably were, but he put it out of his mind.
Holmes would be returning home at seven. To work it was, then. Lestrade made the kitchen comfortable to himself, moving things around to where he needed them and making notes of things he needed. There wasn’t an ounce of ingredient anywhere in the entire house. The pantry was bone dry and the fridge was full of take out boxes. This was unacceptable. Lestrade didn’t care what he did, this was no way to take care of one’s self.
With the kitchen empty, Lestrade was forced to do all of his shopping before five rolled around. He found all the shops he needed within walking distance, but he didn’t have to carry a thing. Every time he wandered out of a shop, an armed guard appeared out of nowhere and told him he, or she, would take them home. Lestrade was a little worried at first, but he had already promised himself he wouldn’t be paranoid while working for this man.
Thankfully, when he returned home, everything was there. That was fantastic, actually. He felt a little guilty with them doing everything, however. This was the only time he’d allow them to and that was only because he had to do such a large stock. He unpacked everything and organized everything in a way that pleased his senses. He couldn’t plan any meals just yet, but he had enough basics to prepare anything with minimum amount of shopping. The flowers he purchased were just because the room looked too dark even with all of the windows. Everything was looking better already, but it wasn’t his job to make things look better. It was his job to cook and keep Holmes healthy.
So, within an hour, he had an assortment of dishes made. He didn’t know anything about the man, and talking never worked very well. He’d tried talking to people before. Celebrities would tell him they liked or disliked all kinds of things and later all of those things would turn out to be untrue. This was easier because if he disliked anything or if he really liked anything, Lestrade would know. He’d been doing this for a long time now, and even a man as cold as Holmes appeared to couldn’t fool him. People were very particular about the food they liked.
He was an absolute mess when he heard the door open. Lestrade hoped it wouldn’t be minded, though, considering he was cook and therefore was bound to be covered in something or other. He couldn’t turn away from the stove at the very moment, but he could spot the man’s reflection in the glossy pan.
“Afternoon, Mr. Holmes,” he called to assure his new boss that he had seen him come in and to let the man know he was there. With everything he knew about the flat alone, this probably wasn’t a man he wanted to surprise in any circumstance.
“It smells good.” The man stated as he approached the opposite side of the bar top. He straightened his tie a little and Lestrade knew it would be a little while before either of them were properly comfortable in one another’s company. He would be in Holmes’ life a lot, after all.
“That’s a good sign. I’m almost done if you’ll have a seat.” Lestrade insisted calmly. He listened to the man store his umbrella and shed his outer coat before placing himself at the bar. Thankfully, the older chef was used to being watched while he went about his work.
“I take it you made yourself at home?” Holmes conversed calmly, but rather stiffly.
“Of course. You have a very nice, very safe, home, Mr. Holmes.”
“You may call me Mycroft.”
“I didn’t want to seem rude.” Lestrade chuckled softly, looking away from his pan momentarily to glance over the man. He was being watched closely already, so the cook simply smiled at him. He finished the vegetables he was sauteing and plated them with a skilled hand. He turned the fire off, placing the pan aside, and brushed his hands on the lap of his apron.
“Alright. First day, just want to run by some things so I don’t disappear,” he joked even though he was sure that could easily happen. Lestrade flipped out his notepad to take a few more notes.
“You’re not a vegetarian or vegan?”
“You don’t have any allergies.”
“Are there any foods that you won’t eat due to traumatic incidents?” As he usually did, he earned himself a strange look. Mycroft’s answer only hesitated a moment, though.
“That’s a legitimate question. I once had a man break down in sobs because I made eggs and grits. Not something I’d like to go through again,” he murmured as he placed a plate before the man. He didn’t get a response, but Lestrade wasn’t fully expecting one.
“This is a light salad with seasoned boiled chicken, gouda cheese, almonds, and strawberries with a raspberry vinaigrette.” The meal was eaten quietly. Lestrade decided that it was too light for the man, but he had quite the sweet tooth. Mycroft would need to keep a strict diet, but there were ways around that. He could make things sweet without the extra need of sugar or fats. When that was finished, he replaced the plate with another.
“Prime fillet wrapped in bacon with seared potatoes and asparagus and red wine.” He wasn’t a very picky man, and the meat was a little too heavy for him. He didn’t dislike any of it, but the sweetness of the salad was preferred. He wasn’t a heavy drinker, either, which was always nice.
“And a touch of dessert. Chocolate orange marmalade cake with gently spiked tea.” Definitely a sweet tooth on this one. Now that he had a general idea of Holmes’ appetite and taste, he could plan a little more accurately. It would be several weeks before he could adjust completely to the new man’s taste. Mycroft gently patted his mouth clean. He was so proper, even in his own home.
“That was fantastic. You should join me next time,” the man offered. Lestrade smiled. That was always an awkward question to ask and he simply assumed that they wouldn’t want to eat with the chef.
“If you’d be okay with that, of course.” He agreed as he began to wash plates. Mycroft seemed to hang back for a moment, as if he were unsure about leaving anyone in his house. However, it didn’t last very long.
“I’ll be off to bed, then.”
“Good night, Mycroft.” Lestrade smiled softly.
Lestrade was woken in the morning by his phone. He didn’t recall setting it to such a loud setting, but he didn’t have to with Anthea knowing exactly how his phone worked. It was easy to sleep in a strange bed with strange sheets. Sometimes he’d only have a job for a week, sometimes for a year, but regardless of the time spent there, he never called it home. Part of the job was never being home sick and Lestrade did that part well. It was still dark outside, he could tell since there was no curtains, and he deemed the time ‘too damn early’.
He’ll be awake in thirty. Twenty two minute shower. Don’t let him leave without eating.
That was right. Mycroft was a business man. He would have to adjust to the schedule change which was always a little bit harder for the older man. He forced himself out of a sound sleep and quietly moved about his room. He doubted the walls were thin enough to allow sound to penetrate them, but he was careful none the less. Even his bird was still fast asleep. He didn’t bother dressing, however, since he would go right back to sleep once the man left. He pulled on an apron, more out of habit than anything else, and made his way into the kitchen.
He prepared tea and a small breakfast. Since Mycroft didn’t eat often, he couldn’t make anything big, otherwise the man wouldn’t eat it and even if he did, it would probably make him sick. Part way through, he heard the man make his way into the bathroom as she’d told him he would. Exactly twenty two minutes later, he emerged completely dressed and ready for the day.
“Good morning, Mycroft,” Lestrade greeted pleasantly, despite the ridiculous hour of the morning.
“Have some breakfast,” he instructed. Mycroft appeared as though he were going to refuse, but if he was, it didn’t leave his mouth. He quietly ate as Lestrade cleaned the pan he had used. It was still too early for him to eat. When the man finished, he quietly thanked his cook and left. Lestrade went back to bed.
Lestrade didn’t stir from his sleep for several more hours. It was already clear that it would take some time to get adjusted to the new timing. Still, he managed to get himself out of bed with the help of his noisy bird. Thankfully, he didn’t make a lot of noise under usual conditions. Only when he was hungry. Lestrade would never expect to keep him if he’d been louder. He uncaged the tiny zebra finch, allowing the friendly creature to dart out of the cage and plunge straight into the warm covers.
He liked birds. After being married to his wife for ten years and not once mentioning children, Lestrade had one day made the mistake of bringing it up. It had started out as a conversation and turned into a screaming match. He would have happily changed jobs in order to be around for their kids, but she responded with a flat out ‘no’. Lestrade never got a straight answer to why.
Their relationship had been a little worn before, but that had been the crack that started it falling apart. In some kind of attempt to console his desire for children, she had purchased him a
. Lestrade hadn’t had the time to take it back and eventually, he didn’t have the heart either. It was rather smart, actually, and didn’t need a lot of care. Plus, he could take it anywhere and everything and no one really minded it.
It wasn’t anything close to having a child, though. He didn’t even know if it was girl or a boy. In fact, Lestrade had never actually given it a name. It was just sort of ‘bird’ or ‘my bird’. Occasionally he’d call it something he needed to remember; Milk, Bread, Doctor’s Appointment Tomorrow. The bird never cared. It wasn’t that smart, after all.
“Come on Sweets.” He whistled curtly, beckoning the creature to come along. It followed him into the bathroom where he ran a sink full of water for it to bathe in. A warm showed in the amazing tub left him feeling refreshed. He was loving it here already. Lestrade allowed his pet to wander the room freely while he dressed and prepared for the day. He scribbled down some more notes before parting for the kitchen. A light lunch catering to his sweet tooth but not enough to put him off.
Within an hour, he had a lunch packed and was out the door to tend to his new client. Lestrade wasn’t surprised that there was already a car waiting for him. Although he still had no idea where Mycroft worked, he was taken there without question. It occurred to him that they were still watching him closely to make sure he wasn’t a threat and he wished he could tell them to settle down. It was making him a little nervous.
Wait in the lobby
Lestrade checked his watch. It wasn’t noon just yet, and he was getting the feeling that Anthea was not a woman he wanted to argue with. He did as he was told and quietly waited. At least it was a cold lunch. He’d have to plan more carefully if he was going to bring something warm. Lestrade knew that it was important to show off in the first few days, but he wouldn’t be on his top work until he knew his boss better. His mind wandered and he began to wonder about the relationship between Mycroft and his lovely assistant. She seemed far younger than him, but he’d seen it all in his line of work.
That reminded him that it was none of his business. He was only here to cook, but even so, he jotted down a quick note on Anthea. It wouldn’t harm anything to make a rough listing of her taste in case he ever needed to provide a meal for the pair of them. As if she’d been peering over his shoulder, Anthea appeared in the corner of his vision. She motioned to him and Lestrade quietly followed her into the elevator.
Anthea was as intent on her phone and Lestrade realized that he had yet to see her without the device. Young indeed.
“He’s in there.” Was all she said. Fortunately, Lestrade was used to dealing with tight lipped people and could take the hint. He gently knocked on the heavy door to alert the man that he was coming in before nudging it open gently. Mycroft’s eyes were already focused on him and Lestrade pretended that it wasn’t painfully eerie.
“Yes.” The man seemed to state. The older chef couldn’t tell if it was a question or not. At first, Lestrade had known that everything around here was very secret and on the down-low, but he was coming to discover that it wasn’t just his job or his home, but the man himself who was mysterious. He wasn’t sure whether he was okay with that or not.
“Lunch.” Lestrade responded simply. He approached the desk, but the man made no movement to move anything out of the way. Surely he wasn’t going to be stubborn about this. He positioned the container on top of the files.
“That was unnecessary,” Mycroft stated. He was. He was going to be stubborn about this.
“Of course it was. If you eat out, I will make flavorless tofu for a week. It’s not healthy to skip meals. I was hired to help you lose weight, Mycroft, do not try to fight me. It will only be unpleasant for both of us,” the chef assured him casually, but firmly. He received a surprised arch of a brow in response. Lestrade uncovered the dish and stood off to the side to wait for the man to finish. Fortunately, he seemed to have no further need to fight today and patiently ate the savory sweet chicken salad prepared for him. He was glad he had gotten his point across, Lestrade took his job very seriously.
“Thank you Gregory.” His own name threw him off a little and it must have shown for his boss gave him a questioning look. “Is something wrong?”
“No. Of course not. Most people don’t call me by my name, that’s all. It’s usually Lestrade, or Greg, or ‘you there, Chef’.” Lestrade only partially joked. He had to say, not all celebrities were as nice as they appeared to be.
“Would you prefer I call you something else?” Mycroft offered.
“Oh. No. Call me whatever you’d like. I don’t mind at all,” the chef assured him with a fond smile. “It’ll be nice to be called by my name for once.”
As usual, Anthea had made a fantastic choice. Mycroft was pleased with his new chef in every possible way. The man was quiet, and polite. His cooking was fantastic and only seemed to be getting better and more specific to his taste with every meal. He was always cooking when Mycroft awoke, lunch was always brought on time, and dinner was ready at the requested times. Most of all, the man wasn’t bothered by him in the least. Mycroft knew, mostly from experience, that there were few people who could go this long in his personal space without being unnerved. Mycroft couldn’t think of anything specifically that he did that would cause people to become uncomfortable, but he never thought much of it. He wasn’t exactly a people person, though he was fantastic at pretending to be.
Gregory wasn’t bothered by him. He’d always greet him ‘good morning’, even if Mycroft had been up all night and looked worn for the worse. He’d always smile when he noticed Mycroft was watching him or more often thinking while absently staring at him and/or the space near him. He never seemed to be bothered when Mycroft didn’t respond either because he wasn’t listening or because he found it required no response. He was never bothered by the fag Mycroft occasionally had in the living room, even though he knew Lestrade was clearly trying to quit. If Lestrade thought he was cold, he never said anything about it, nor did he act as though he were, or tried to ‘warm him up’. He was very professional.
Gregory had Sundays off, and Anthea was sure to let him know each Sunday that he had the day off, but he never actually took time off. He still made breakfast in the morning, and still brought lunch, and still made supper even if Mycroft reminded him that it was his day off. Again. Only once did Mycroft ever get a reason, and it was the exact reason he thought. Gregory had failed to remain close friends with his ex-wife due to his work and though his clients liked him and were even friendly towards him, they weren’t his friends. His hobby was cooking and his pet bird needed no extra care. Even if Gregory were to take the day off, Mycroft knew he wouldn’t know what to do with himself. They were alike in that way.
Then, one day, Mycroft had a day off. They were few and far between and like the rest, this one was forced. He understood the need for normal people to relax, but Anthea had to understand that things didn’t just stop because he needed to sit down for a few. Of course, she proceeded to remind him that he wasn’t working everything single-handedly and they could survive a measly twenty four hours without him. Then she’d lock him in his own home. Which, on other circumstances, would be counterproductive, but Anthea never did anything that was counterproductive. She did, however, make sure there wasn’t anything in his entire flat to work on. He knew that long before he had awoken on his day off.
As it so happened, his day off was a Sunday and when he needed it most, there was no breakfast smell. Mycroft couldn’t be upset, but he would be lying if he said he wasn’t disappointed. A bit of breakfast would have wasted away at least a lit bit of his already wasted day. He could be working right now. Even if he couldn’t actually get anything done today, Mycroft still awoke at the same time he always did and still decided to shower and dress, even if it was only to have anything to do.
Upon exiting his room, however, he was met with a voice.
“You’re not being very professional about this. You fired me and I have the right to seek out other employment. What exactly did you think was going to happen?” So Gregory was still here and in the kitchen. Mycroft abandoned his route to the bathroom and instead headed off for the kitchen. If he was in the kitchen, he was most likely cooking, or had been in the middle of cooking, when he took the call. Gregory wouldn’t have called someone while he was cooking simply based on how seriously he took his job.
“This isn’t about the money.” Judging by the half of the conversation Mycroft could hear, and old client, who had fired Lestrade, was calling to get him back. By Gregory’s tone, he was offering three times the old amount. The silver-haired man stood before the fridge with a bowl in one hand and milk in the other, clearly attempting to work but continuing to be distracted by the ear piece.
“Yes. That might be contributing to why I don’t want to come back.” Most likely a sentence starting with ‘is this about’ following by a non descriptive suggestion to a previously inappropriate act towards Gregory. The chef placed the bowl down on the marble counter and managed to get the top of the milk open before he stopped working again.
“That is not something you should be joking about.” Tone suggesting something personal, blush suggesting an admission of love.
“This-this is very inappropriate!” Definitely a love confession, most likely false to win back the amazing chef. Its effects were unreciprocated.
“I am happy at my new job,” Gregory demanded stubbornly, seeming to understand that the confession was a desperate attempt. “If you call again, I will report you.” Angrily, he attempted to hang up the phone. After several moments of pushing what appeared to be the right buttons, it was clear they were not.
“Greg! Please Greg!”
Those were volume buttons. Mycroft could hear the man on the other side yelling now. A man. Interesting. Gregory resorted to yanking the piece out of his ear and depositing it into the garbage disposal. Not the most elegant solution in any case, nor effective for that matter.
“Just listen to me! I’m sorry, Greg!”
Disgruntled and frustrated, Gregory finally managed to get the battery out and end the phone call. Perhaps an easier to use phone was required. He sighed irritably, tossing the now useless object onto the counter and returned to his breakfast. He practically snatched the bowl off of the counter. He turned on toe and was instantly met with the sight of Mycroft patiently watching him. He was obviously startled for the bowl of eggs was introduced to the floor in a twitch of panic.
“Bleein’ hell!” As if he’d just turned a switch off, Gregory’s dialect changed. Mycroft was instantly hit with the discovery that the man was faking a proper tone, though he wasn’t sure if it was specifically for him or work. The chef held a hand over his face and politely looked away as if it were taboo for Mycroft to be in pajamas. The thin, cotton v-neck and stretchy slacks were hardly improper in his own home, though it did occur to him this was the first time he’d dressed so casually around his chef.
“Oh. I’m sorry, Mycroft. I didn’t mean to wake you up.” And the proper tone switched right back on. The man kneeled down quickly, using the towel over his shoulder to clean up the mess of raw egg and very deliberately not looking at his client.
“You didn’t,” Mycroft assured him. It was like Gregory to have an argument without raising his voice. Even if he had started yelling, it was likely the noise wouldn’t have penetrated the thick walls.
“Ah. Well. I, uh, I’ll get something whipped up quickly. I don’t want to make you late.”
“It’s my day off,” The Government informed. Gregory stopped what he was doing completely and stared him dead in the face. It was clearly not something he was expecting to ever come out of Mycroft’s mouth. He shook it off, though Mycroft guessed that he hadn’t actually meant to shake his head.
“Right. I, uh.” Gregory didn’t know what to do with that information. “If you wouldn’t mind waiting a bit, I’ll make a proper breakfast. I’ve ruined these, but how about some pancakes and bacon?”
“It is your day off,” Mycroft reminded as he always did, but this time with a different purpose.
"I keep telling you, it's fine. Pancakes?"
"I don't mean the breakfast,” replied the employer. Lestrade seemed unsure for a moment, but seemed to take his lack of response as a 'yes' and distracted himself with the making of food.
"The call? I really didn't want to talk to him, anyways. Don't worry." It was hard to tell if he was simply playing dumb or whether he didn't actually notice his slip up. Most likely the second, since Mycroft knew the chef wasn't cocky enough to think he could pull a lie over his head.
"You don't naturally talk like this," Mycroft specified. Greg blushed a sudden shade of red. It was the first time he'd seen the man actually blush. Was he embarrassed of it.
"You heard that?" He was just now recalling he'd slipped up. Lestrade dipped his head down a little, hiding his face behind the bag of flour momentarily.
"It is your day off." Mycroft returned to his original statement, giving it new meaning. Lestrade still looked a little unsure, however, preferring to keep his eyes on his food and ultimately no where near his boss. Gregory frowned a little, but didn’t offer a complete answer. Mycroft didn’t bother pushing the subject. He was clearly uncomfortable and it wasn’t particularly useful to anyone either way. However, Gregory’s little phone call was something he needed to worry about.
“I’m assuming your ex-employer was attempting to get you back. Is this something that needs to be worried about?” Mycroft suggested pointedly. It would be best if he could deal with little situations like this before they got out of hand. No one could actually find the older chef, but given the strange habits of some more eccentric ‘celebrities’, it would be best if not everyone was looking for him. Gregory flinched slightly.
“He- he shouldn’t be dangerous,” his chef assured him uneasily, proving that he wasn’t entirely sure of his own statement.
“Shouldn’t?” Mycroft repeated.
“Well. He ain’t,” Gregory promised, loosening up just a little bit. “It’s not him I’m worried about. He was one of the other chefs I was working with a couple years ago. It was a really odd job, before I started getting so popular,” he explained, going about making their morning meal all the while. It wasn’t often that the man actually held conversation while he cooked, or did anything else for that matter. Mycroft assumed that Gregory was worried about bothering him.
“He was a really strange little man,” Gregory murmured, as if the thought had grown stranger since he had last thought about it. “He would eat just about anything and his assistant was always bringing in some strange, foreign meats and produce. Bleedin’ pain to cook with foods you’d never eaten before. It was good pay, though. Good work conditions. Then one day he disappeared. Everyone else was still there, but there wasn’t any more pay. When I complained, I was fired. That was that.” His chef shrugged it off easily.
“You seemed apprehensive towards this man,” Mycroft noted, insisting on getting the most out of the situation. Gregory sighed irritatedly, but it clearly wasn’t for his boss.
“The man I worked with, the one on the phone, he was a bleedin’ alcoholic. A great cook, I’ll give ‘im that, but no self control whatsoever. I was younger then, less,” he motioned to his greying, salt and pepper hair. “Let’s just say, some touching was involved. Then knives were involved.” Capable of being violent; good to know.
“The man I actually worked for, Richard something, if he cares at all, he might be a little more than willing to hunt me down and make a scene.” Gregory frowned a little. “He never showed any sign of paying me any attention, so I doubt he cares, but once he gets determined, he can be pretty dangerous. I’m pretty sure he owned guns.”
“I’ll keep it in mind,” Mycroft promised, needlessly. Gregory was completely aware of how well protected the flat was. Along with the fact that there was always someone close by, uniformed or otherwise, it would take a lot more than ‘pretty sure he owned guns’ to cause them any damage.
“Not that I’m worried when this place is a bleedin’ fortress,” Gregory scoffed as he began to heat up his favorite pan on the stove. It was clearly his favorite, not that it required much for Mycroft to notice.
“Does that bother you?” Mycroft questioned with little inflection. Gregory snorted.
“Not me. I still have
mates on the outside.” He might not have many close friends, and certainly not any he would spend too much time with, but he wasn’t that
. He still spoke to Dimmock on occasion, though his colleague had recently received a promotion to Detective Inspector. He was also in touch with Molly, as well, and a few friends from college. Even if Gregory did wish to spend time with any of them, it was awkward to converse with people when his current job was so fishy sounding. The last thing he needed was someone trying to convince him something weird was going on. Gregory was certain that if he didn’t stick his nose in it, it wouldn’t bother him.
“Not so sure about you, though,” Gregory admitted. “I still don’t know what you do, but I’m guessing it has to do with a lot of people,” he scoffed. Mycroft was minutely impressed.
“Why would you guess that?” Mycroft didn’t show any signs of working with people, especially considering most of the time he never worked directly with people, but as it was, people made up his entire job. At least, that was how he made himself so indispensable to the government. After that it was easy to take control with some skillful strategy.
“Because you’re alone the rest of the time. You come home and you’re alone. I drop lunch off to you and you’re alone. So either you’re a complete hermit in which case, you’d probably be socially awkward even in the smallest of company. Or you work with people all day everyday and the last thing you want is to spend it with them when you don’t have to,” the chef pondered, most likely without the intention of offending him. Mycroft wasn’t offended. His reasoning wasn’t soundproof, but it was better than most and he was actually right.
“So I think it does bother you.” Gregory glanced over his shoulder a little. Mycroft didn’t show any sign of proving him right, though. “It’s not my place, clearly. But seeing as it
my day off; not all people are unpleasant, Mycroft. And I would hope that those pleasant people overlap with at least a few people that aren’t trying to kill you.”
“That’s very insightful, but I really have no interest in ‘friends’. Friends are time consuming for little to no use. As you’ve guessed right and I do work with a generous amount of people, it is rather tiresome to try to juggle anymore. I make ‘friends’ where appropriate and useful. Anything else is a waste of valuable time,” Mycroft rattled off harmlessly. Gregory looked at him again, more worried than anything. For a normal person, perhaps such a mindset was unusual and unhealthy, but Mycroft was a Holmes and his intelligence made it possible to reject the needs of normal people.
“I’ll be your friend. Everyone needs at least one friend,” Gregory uttered patiently. “I’m time efficient, as you know, and we get along. If it helps, I can be your friend and chef. Not wasting time if I’m cooking. Problem solved.” The older chef placed a well prepared plate in front of him and smiled. Mycroft didn’t smile back. Such a strange man.
The day progressed much quieter. Mycroft poised himself in the study, door cracked just enough for him to listen to his chef, and browsed absently through his phone. Sherlock was being quite the pest lately much to his dismay. He wouldn't actively try to do anything about it unless Sherlock put himself directly in danger. Otherwise, he'd simply be starting an argument for no reason. Still, that meant he was still frustrated with having nothing to do. He wasn't the kind of person to be easily bored, nor did he always have to be working, but he was a man of habit and there was nothing habitual about this. In the end, he sorted through his thoughts. At least, he has been.
"Fuck!" That was clearly his chef. Mycroft opened his eyes as if he would find the man in front of him. He didn't, of course, but he could still hear him. "God dammit." The man was quieter now, but apparently distraught. Hopefully it didn't have anything to do with the phone call earlier. Mycroft went to examine the source of obscenities.
"Gregory?" Mycroft questioned and Gregory glanced over his shoulder a little.
"Ah. Sorry. I - I forgot you were here,” he admitted in his mock tone. Gregory took a step away from the door, clearly having trouble with the buttons.
"The door won't accept my code,” he grumbled. "I swear, it's right."
"It is," Mycroft assured him. Gregory's phone was out of commission so Anthea clearly wasn't intent on trying to explain anything to him. Mycroft easily dialed her number, Gregory pretending not to be embarrassed at needing help with a door.
"We'd like to leave,” he stated firmly.
Why. She insisted stubbornly.
"To be outside, clearly."
"I won't be going to work if that's what you're assuming."
Gregory. Mycroft patiently handed the phone over to a very confused Gregory as if it were absolutely normal.
"Uh- yes? I was going to do some shopping. I- if he wants, I suppose." The chef pulled the phone away, staring at it in bemusement.
"I guess you're coming with me. I don't really want to find out what she'd do to me otherwise."
"Nor I," Mycroft answered casually, pocketing his phone again as the doors opened on their own. Gregory glanced at him again.
"Your 'day off' huh." He was clearly teasing him. Mycroft paid him no mind. He followed his chef out of the building and down the street. That was right. Gregory [i]walked[/i] everywhere. He was regretting his decision. To think Gregory did this every day was exhausting, but it made sense with how fit he was.
"Morning Greg,” the woman butcher greeted him fondly with a grimace of a smile. Gregory smiled back, clearly not bothered by it.
"Mornin' Sally,” he retorted in a friendly fashion. Mycroft nodded a small greeting and she eyed him pointedly.
"Your boyfriend?" she questioned invasively. Gregory gave her a pointed stare that suggested they weren't close enough for him to want to share information like that.
"Meat, Sally,” the older chef insisted.
"Yeah. Yeah. What can I get you today?" she questioned. Mycroft got the feeling she was unpleasant to be around for very long. Gregory examined the glass for something decent looking before deciding on a nice looking piece of poultry. She folded it up and Gregory paid her. She handed him another piece of paper and Mycroft took extra notice to it.
"I'll see you tomorrow, Sally," Gregory assured her. Sally eyed Mycroft again.
"Mm. Good luck,” she answered pointedly. Mycroft shot her a warning look and she cringed. Gregory didn't notice with his back turned. He followed his chef into the next store, a sweet smelling bakery.
"Greg," the man responded almost sourly, but Gregory responded as if it was no different than usual.
"Here." His chef handed the folded piece of paper over the counter and the sour little man became a little less sour looking. For the length of reading the message, at least. Mycroft deemed it a love letter. Affairs, which this clearly was, should be kept off paper.
"Thanks. What can I get you?"
"Course." Gregory was less likely to use his fake voice outside of the flat, obviously. "Let's see. A couple of muffins, half a loaf of white bread, and- some sweet rolls will do it, Anderson." The man packed up his request into a paper bag and Gregory packed it into the sack with his meat purchase. He paid the baker and they moved on to the next store.
"Hey Greg." Everyone around here knew him, clearly. Mycroft didn't know any of these people personally, or impersonally really. He might have checked them out in the beginning, or when they started working here, but those were just precautions. Even more so, it was likely he left that for Anthea to do.
"Mornin' Sarah." Gregory smiled at the little brunette woman as he entered. The shop was small, but it was clearly in possession of all the produce the chef would need.
"Who's your friend?" she questioned kindly enough. Gregory glanced at him, as if he wasn't sure if he was allowed to introduce his boss.
"Mycroft Holmes." Mycroft introduced himself with a small shake of the hand. She smiled sweetly at him, but he didn't like it. She was very familiar.
"Sarah Sawyer. Nice to meet you." Names could bring up all kinds of things and Mycroft had always known this. Sarah Sawyer was one of John's, his brother's flatmate, ex-girlfriends. She had clearly had a change of occupation. With all the complaining Sherlock had done, he was probably thrilled. Unfortunately, it was too much of a coincidence for him to be okay with this. He'd look into it later.
"Anything good in?" Gregory questioned from the other end of the tiny store. Sarah hummed in less than quiet thought.
"Beets. Broccoli. There's some good celery too,” she assured him. Gregory thanked her and purchased enough vegetables and fresh herbs until tomorrow and they promptly left. Mycroft was already fairly sick of all this walking, but Gregory just kept going. What else could he possibly need? Fresh cut flowers, birdseed, newspaper, some hygienics, and a new notepad, as it turned out.
"I didn't think to bring lunch," Gregory informed, motioning his boss to a quaint little bench under an overgrown maple tree. "I'm usually done before now." He chuckled and Mycroft frowned.
"I despise legwork." He had clearly kept them back by not keeping Gregory's ridiculous pace.
"Well, the leisurely walk will do you some good. Healthy food alone won't cut it, you know," Gregory murmured, shuffling through his bag and retrieving a plump peach. The chef withdrew a little retractable hand knife and skillfully flickered the blade out. He cut the piece of fruit open and separated it from the pit before offering it to his boss. Mycroft accepted half graciously. It was sweet and juicy and sat lightly on his empty belly. Gregory ate the other half.
"I guess we should catch a ride back home. Don't want ya passing out," Gregory murmured with a small hint of affection. Mycroft didn't find it funny, however. It was good to know he was paying his chef well for work like this. Unnecessary work, of course, since they would gladly take him wherever he needed to go.
"This was nice, though," Gregory admitted. "I usually don't have company."
"It could be because this is a horrible trek to take everyday," Mycroft assured him. The chef laughed.
"It gets a little repetitive, but you get out what you put in. I doubt you'd appreciate it if I started using less than fresh, low grade food. And I'm sure your people have better things to do than bring me shopping,” he mused calmly, rotating the peach pit between his fingers. Mycroft considered it. No, he decided, he liked the way Gregory cooked now. He watched the man stand, displeased at the thought of walking again, and walk around the bench. The chef kneeled calmly, dug up a little patch of dirt, and deposited it in the hole. He covered it back up, brushed his hands off on his pants and returned to the Holmes' side.
"Ready to go, then? I'll make us some lunch when we get home," Gregory assured him. Mycroft decided that this had been a rather eventful walk. It wasn't often that he was continuously finding out new information about someone, but new information kept popping up about Gregory. It was nice, he supposed.
"I'll call a car."
The rest of the day passed without incident. Mycroft wasn’t nearly as anxious now that Gregory had made him walk a ‘leisurely’ marathon. It wasn’t until after dessert, of which remained Mycroft’s favorite part regardless of how delicious everything else was, did anything else significant happen. Gregory cleaned up after himself, as he always did, and retired to his room. That, of course, wasn’t unusual, either, but Gregory seemed a tad off. That, unfortunately, was very unusual. He didn’t even give a ‘good night’ and that gave Mycroft reason to be perplexed.
He approached the chef’s room cautiously, knowing better than to approach any situation without knowing the consequences. He knocked twice and a small ‘hmm’ answered. Mycroft gingerly pressed the door open and was met with the sight of his chef quietly sitting on the edge of his bed with his little bird perched on the back of his hand.
“You appeared distraught.” Which was problematic seeing as Mycroft hadn’t the least idea what had happened between dessert and now to cause him to be. Gregory only smiled at him, though.
“Just got to thinking, that’s all,” he admitted quietly. “Didn’t mean to worry you.” Mycroft examined his face with pointed meaning and Gregory continued to force his smile.
“I’ll be fine,” the chef answered so the Government wouldn’t have to ask. Mycroft pursued a frown.
“Don’t give me a reason to assume you’re like the rest. Don’t do anything stupid.”
“No,” Gregory said patiently, but firmly. “That’s not the kind of thinking I was doing. But, thank you.” Mycroft gave him a final search in the unlikely event that he had missed a vital clue before nodding curtly.
“Good night, Gregory.”
“Good night, Mycroft.”