"My name is Mycroft," he blurted out just for the sake of saying something. It was rare for Mycroft Holmes to be left speechless and he also usually rather enjoyed the awkward silences, mostly because his opponent always was the one suffering from them. This time though, even unwilling to say anything, he couldn't keep quiet.
He had never expected to find himself in a situation like this; on the other hand, no one ever did. Such things simply did not happen to people. This time, strangely, they did. Because here he was, time – an hour past midnight, location – the end of Baker Street; sitting on the sidewalk, his striped trousers being marred by the dirt the last of his worries. On the forefront of his troubled mind was a man, lying with his head on Mycroft's lap, bleeding on the very same pavement from the wound in his side. He was conscious and staring up at the other man in wonder. Well, at least Mycroft was not the only one thrown off balance by the surreal nature of it all.
"Greg," the other man rasped, his voice sounding just a little bit strained.
From what Mycroft could tell, the bullet went right through his side, blood flowing from the exit wound on his back, and, probably (hopefully) did not hurt any internal organs. There was a lot of blood soaking into the man's once white shirt and into the fabric of Mycroft's trousers. The feeling was mildly uncomfortable, but, then again, not the main focus at the moment.
He nodded. "A pleasure to meet you, Greg." Mycroft said, the phrase memorized and thus coming out perfectly though the intonation was flat and lacking the pronounced politeness.
The man attempted a laugh, but the hoarse low sound was cut short by a cough. Concerned, Mycroft reached for him but, not knowing what to do, folded his hands back at his sides. There were no rules about how to act in a situation like this in the countless lessons on etiquette he took in his childhood and youth. Normal social interaction was not his strongest point; negotiations and intimidating he could pull off better than anyone, small talk in a casual atmosphere – always ended in a disaster. There was one thing he could do though; one thing that needed to be done.
"Thank you," he muttered. Looking down he saw grey eyes stare back at him. It felt like a dream; not a nightmare, which was odd considering the circumstances, but just something that could not have happened in real life, should not happen at least. Mycroft barely remembered the reason he decided to take a trip to Baker Street, something about Sherlock being as insolent as ever and, oh of course, John's birthday next week; Mycroft wanted to make sure that his foolish little brother remembered that. Since he was already close by he had decided that taking a walk would be good for him, so he sent the driver, who also happened to be a bodyguard, away. It was not a wise decision, he now understood. On the other hand, who knew that on that particular day at that particular hour someone would decide to kill him? Shoot, to be precise. And also who could have predicted that nearby there would be a kind soul with a streak for protecting people. Really, Mycroft had expected the man walking at the other side of the street to run away at the sight of an armed person appearing from around the corner, intercepting Mycroft's path, not rush across the road to the rescue.
"Thank you," Mycroft repeated, more firmly this time. "That was very…chivalrous." He couldn't find a better word. 'It was very nice of you' was his usual phrase but it seemed more like a brush off. Brave should have been good, but Mycroft did not believe bravery to be an admired trait.
Greg snorted, clearly amused at his choice of words. "Oh, it's nothing," he breathed out, waving one hand vaguely. "It's just the way I pass the time, saving handsome strangers."
Mycroft chuckled at that. "The ambulance should be here shortly." He said after glancing at his wristwatch. "How are you feeling?"
The other man watched him for a moment, his assessing gaze following the lines of Mycroft's face. He seemed to be doing fine so far, so Mycroft hoped that the injury was not causing him too much pain. Greg hummed, a noise of thoughtfulness. Mycroft tilted his head to the side, still waiting for the reply. Then the other man groaned.
"Hurts?" Mycroft reacted immediately, putting one of his hands on top of Greg's where it was covering the bullet wound, pressing on it to stop the bleeding.
"A little," the other man rasped.
"It's still bleeding." Mycroft observed when he took both their hands and removed them for a moment; against his will the worry seeped into his voice.
"I'll be fine," the other man reassured him, but cringed when Mycroft wriggled a little, trying to move into a more comfortable position without disturbing the wounded man.
"Sorry," he muttered.
Greg groaned again, his other hand lifted as if on its own accord, seeking for something, grabbing the air. Reluctantly, Mycroft reached for it, allowing the other man's fingers to wrap around his own, the grip tight and crushing. Blood smeared between their palms, revolting dark red the sight of which made Mycroft gulp and squeeze Greg's hand in return to stop it from trembling. The blood had never really scared him, but what it represented at that moment made him nauseous.
"So, Mycroft," the other man said, sounding casual over the pained strain in his voice. "Where were you going before the maniac decided you'd be perfect for his target practice?"
"Oh, just…visiting my brother."
"At this hour?"
"He won't mind." Mycroft reassured. "And if he was still sleeping it'd just be an added bonus. Annoying him is one of my hobbies. Surely he pays me in kind."
"Such sweet siblings you are."
"Don't be so quick to judge." Mycroft chided softly. "If you had met Sherlock you'd have understood."
"Sherlock?" Greg asked, his voice raspy but with surprise clearly distinguishable. He turned his neck to look up at Mycroft.
"Sherlock Holmes." Mycroft paused, watching the other man's reaction. When he saw the one he expected, he continued pleasantly. "Oh, I see you've already met him."
Greg grumbled affirmative, but Mycroft decided there would be better time for this talk. Somehow, it seemed, everything always revolved around his younger brother; intentionally or not Sherlock managed to get himself into any mess of government or local importance. That's why Mycroft worried about him all the time.
"Well then, can't really blame you." Greg chuckled. He grew silent after that, watching Baker Street, eye focused at the distance, waiting for the familiar looking ambulance car to appear. According to Mycroft's calculations it shouldn't take long.
As the silence stretched Mycroft looked down at the man, whose head was lying on his lap, worried that he might have lost consciousness. But Greg's eyes were still open, if slightly unfocused. Mycroft took a moment to admire his features, quite ordinary looking but still attractive. Absent mindedly Mycroft ran his hand through the man's short grey hair, combing it to one side gently, soothingly. It worked to calm his nerves as well.
Greg hummed in appreciation, glancing at Mycroft for a moment, thankful smile gracing his lips. Their gazes locked and Mycroft ran his hand through the man's hair again, this time sliding his fingers into the short tresses and massaging slowly.
Something caught his attention; from the corner of his eye he noticed a white car nearing them from the other end of the Baker Street.
"Finally," he muttered softly, drawing Greg's attention to it as well.
The ambulance reached them soon, medics rushing to help and Mycroft moved away, disentangling his fingers from the other's hold carefully. He caught the other's gaze one last time, muttering. "Everything will be fine now." And allowed the medics to take him away.
Hours later, after a trip home to change out of his blood strained clothes and a shower to wash away all the crimson from his skin along with the stress, Mycroft was on his way to the hospital. Earlier he barely managed to suppress the urge to go with the ambulance, but it was terribly unbecoming for him to be so worried about a stranger. So instead he phoned his PA, asking her to arrange the best medical care for Gregory Lestrade; he learned the full name from when the man mentioned it to the paramedics. As he arrived to the hospital Mycroft first talked to Greg's doctor, making sure that the other man's condition was stable, with relief learning that the injury, like he predicted, was not as serious as it looked. Yes, the man had lost blood but now that he was in care of professionals his recovery shouldn't take long. Surprisingly, the doctor also insured Mycroft that the injury did not cause the other man much pain.
When Mycroft finally entered the hospital room, Gregory being the only patient there, his eyes were immediately drawn to the grey ones of the other man. There was tension in the air, but the moment he allowed an easy smile to stretch his lips it evaporated. Gregory had been waiting for him.
"How are you feeling?" Mycroft asked to break the silence. Gradually he made his way across the room, stopping just a foot away from the hospital bed.
"Fine," Greg breathed out. He smiled. "Good actually."
Mycroft nodded. "That's…good." He felt stupid for the repetition, but couldn't find anything else to say. He was overwhelmed by the sudden awkwardness of the situation. Odd, he had never got that feeling while the other man was lying injured with his head on his lap; it was not the time to dwell on it in that moment though.
"Does it hurt?"
"Oh, you know…just a little." Greg replied, looking away.
"Even after the pain killers?" Mycroft asked, lifted his eyebrows in inquiry.
"Well," the man was still not meeting his eyes. He chuckled. "Not really."
Mycroft's light laugh echoed his as their eyes locked.
"I was just hoping you'd hold my hand again." Greg replied as a joke, but with seriousness lurking under the humor. "And I might have exaggerated the level of pain I was in earlier…"
Mycroft thought he should have felt scandalized but for the life of him couldn't wipe the smile off his face. "Just to hold my hand?" He felt very daring and just a bit reckless.
"Well, you know… a handsome stranger and all that…" Greg smirked at him. Then he looked away thoughtfully. "And I decided it could be an amazing story of 'our first meeting'."
"In what sense?"
"As in 'to tell our children and grandchildren' sense." Greg replied. That was clearly supposed to be a joke but with a heavy dose of flirting.
"I haven't planned that far," Mycroft replied. "But I think we can arrange dinner. As a sign of my gratitude."
"Oh well," the other man shrugged. "I think we can start with dinner."
"We can take an ordinary path; after all we already have a good story to tell."