Chapter 1: Mycroft Holmes to Greg Lestrade
Gregory, you're being childish
No, I'm not, Mycroft. You're being intrusive. Not to mention you've broken the ONLY promise I've ever asked you to make.
There are circumstances you don't understand. Grave measures had to be taken.
No, relationships don't work like that, Mycroft. You can't just keep promises when they're convenient.
And, I sincerely doubt interferring with my career was of national importance.
I just need...space right now, Mycroft.
Gregory, now you're being rash.
No, My, I just need time and space to figure this out.
Figure us out.
Greg, I'll explain why I had to do it later, but don't do this.
Please just give me time. It's the least you can do.
Chapter 2: Mycroft Homes to Gregory Lestrade.
Gregory, please respond.
Greg, it's been 10 days.
Please, Gregory, let me at least explain.
Chapter 3: Pressing Two
Mycroft Holmes strode down the narrow corridor with little more purpose than reaching the thick oak door at the end. Even though his posture and stride lacked their usual determinedness, the workers who were in the corridor as he approached tried to rectify that situation immediately or they would undoubtedly be faced with a leveled glare from the PA to his right. The men and women used to joke that Mycroft Holmes was too posh to even give his own dirty looks (the jokes were ended swiftly when Anthea had caught wind).
And to an extent, they were right. None of the workers in the office could be sure of what Mr. Holmes actual position was, but the name plate on his door suggested something in the transportation ministry. However, it hardly required the skill of a genius to figure out that no transportation official would be given free reign of a black town car with blacked out windows as well as a PA that looked like she’d be better suited as a Bond girl. Not to mention, Mycroft Holmes only ever frequented this office two times a week at most, and every time he did he would arrive 30 minutes before a “guest” and leave 30 minutes after the “guest” had departed. Bets around the office had been placed immediately and everyone had a theory – everything from MI-6 to international mob boss.
And again, to an extent they were right. Not that they would ever know that as Mycroft would readily deny his importance if one of the bolder office workers got the nerve to ask.
You see Mycroft, several years ago (when he first ascended to his position), had taken the time to set up several secure office spaces in which he could conduct business in a controlled environment without risking his (and his employers) safety. This particular office, for example, was primarily used when dealing with employees, visitors, low ranking officials, John Watson, etc. It was his third best office, and was decorated accordingly: a worn carpet; a thick oak desk littered with various files; a view to nowhere particularly stunning; and a series of over stuffed bookshelves. The entire room said, “I went somewhere posh for university and now I’m resting on my laurels in middle management.” Which is exactly what Mycroft and Anthea had crafted it to say.
“I just need your permission, sir” A voice next to Mycroft spoke as the pair pushed into the office.
Mycroft Holmes hadn’t been listening, and at his second of hesitation, Anthea spoke up again, saving him the embarrassment of having to ask her to repeat herself.
“I’m afraid we have no other open other than pushing the meeting time with the Americans back until at least 830 to insure that we can deliver the…deserved attention to the Van Ee situation. So I just need your sign off, sir.”
“Yes, of course. Do as you see fit.” Again, the attention-detailed, painfully controlling Mycroft seemed to have taken a day off and Anthea was gracious enough not to make note.
Once in the office, Mycroft sunk into the plush chair behind his desk with the most poise he could manage.
“Would you like a cup of tea, sir?”
“Yes, thank you.” And with that, Anthea swiftly departed the room.
Mycroft for the third time that afternoon was grateful for Anthea and her ability to read him flawlessly because the moment she left the room, Mycroft let his body just slump forward – releasing a small fragment of tension that had worked it self in-between his shoulders.
God he was tired. As if to punctuate this fact, he let out the most un-poised and un-Mycroft like yawn.
To say he hadn’t been sleeping well would have been a grand understatement. It had been 28.4 hours since he’d last slept, 47.2 since he’d last slept in a bed, and 311.8 hours since he’d last slept well. It was also of no coincidence, that 296.1 hours ago DI Gregory Lestrade had in all essence moved out.
Technically, he reminded himself, they hadn’t been living together as Greg stilled paid rent on his “flat” (“Greg, if it’s under 600 square feet, I find it difficult to call it much more than a glorified closet”). However, more often than not (for the last 15 months) Greg spent the majority of his evenings (and mornings) in the Mycroft’s tastefully styled townhouse.
At first, Greg had absolutely hated Mycroft’s house (“It makes me feel like I’m a bull in a really posh china shop, Mycroft”). And Mycroft couldn’t really fault him for feeling that; after all, Mycroft’s own feelings weren’t far off.
There was no doubt that the house had been exquisitely decorated – striking a balance somewhere between comfort and style – but even so, it wasn’t a home. It was a beautiful hotel room, at best. And before Mycroft had met Greg, he hadn’t really minded the atmosphere; he did spend the majority of his night in hotel rooms as it was. So it was familiar in its sterility.
However, once he and Greg had started their relationship, and Mycroft was making more of an effort to stay in London, he began to grow increasingly self-conscious about his living situation (and though he’d never admit it, more envious of Greg’s).
Though Greg’s flat was tiny, it was most definitely lived in, but more than that, Greg’s flat was homey. It was completely inexplicable, even for Mycroft: man of a thousand words.
There was just an ever present aroma of warm smoke and take away (which admittedly doesn’t sound nice, but when paired with a Greg, is lovely); worn and miss matched pillows; furniture that was too big for the small space; and always a thin collection of dust on most surfaces as Greg wasn’t one for tiding up (neither was Mycroft, in that respect, but unlike Greg, he could afford someone to pick up after him) nor was he there often enough to keep it pristine.
And the pictures. Those were easily Mycroft’s favorite part of the entire flat. There were pictures of young Greg, pictures of University Greg, pictures of Greg with nieces and nephews, pictures of Greg and his family, pictures of drunken Greg, pictures of family, pictures of pets, even a picture of Sherlock. Everything. Everything Mycroft craved to know could be gleaned from those pictures and the stories behind them. And God how he had studied them.
It wasn’t until several months after they started dating (and staying over at Mycroft’s flat) that Greg slowly began his redecoration. At first, it was a few clean shirts, trousers, belts, etc. but within a few months it had escalated to the point where Greg began putting up pictures of them around the flat. He didn’t put them anywhere company would see them, but in their bedroom there were a few tasteful pictures of them at various points in their relationship: a ridiculous photo booth photo shoot Greg made Mycroft do one evening (their first kiss); the pair at a MET gala (the first time Mycroft got Greg into a decent suit, and then rather deliciously out of it afterward); and then on Greg’s side of the bed (much to Mycroft’s chagrin) a picture of Mycroft in a pair of dark blue jeans and a deep plum sweater (“I’m taking a picture, My.” “Gregory, you’re being ridiculous” “Please. I won’t show anyone, you just look too damn sexy.” “Fine, but I cannot be held responsible for my actions if Sherlock finds this photograph”)
And then there was Mycroft’s favorite picture – the picture that he had stolen, scanned, and kept on his phone. It was a simple picture – nothing more than a candid shot John had snapped at his birthday (Sherlock had given him a rather expensive camera that year). It was simply just Greg and Mycroft sitting on the tattered sofa at 221B. Neither of them was looking at the camera, but instead they were looking at one another – leaning closely into one another. Greg was laughing at something Mycroft had said, and Mycroft…well. Mycroft didn’t normally (well, more like never) thought of himself as attractive, but in this picture in that moment Mycroft looked radiant. He didn’t look stern or snide or fat, but rather generally happy and content – two adjectives he never thought he’d actively describe himself as.
And it was all because of Greg.
It also was that picture – that captured secret moment – that gave Mycroft the final push to finally tell Gregory Lestrade that he loved him.
That was gone now though. It had been gone for 13 days. He had been gone for 13 days.
Greg wasn’t responding to emails, he wasn’t responding to phone calls, he wasn’t responding to texts. Absolutely nothing, and it was driving Mycroft insane. He couldn’t live this way; he couldn’t live without Greg. Couldn’t Greg see that? Couldn’t Greg understand that what he had done was not malicious or selfishness? Mycroft was just trying to protect the people he loved in the only way he knew how. The only way he had ever been capable of.
He never meant for this to happen – for Greg to find out.
But Greg had and now Mycroft was paying the consequences, which were dear.
Against his better judgment, Mycroft picked up his phone and dialed Greg’s number.
It rung out two times before going straight to voicemail.
Still screening his calls.
“Hello, you’ve reached Gregory Lestrade, leave a message”
Mycroft’s heart gave a jump at Greg’s rough voice, and he actually had to take a second to compose himself.
“Hello, Gregory, it’s me. I just called…well - in reality I was looking at the picture of us at John’s birthday – the one where we look so happy? The night I told you I love you? That picture. Anyway, I’m leaving for Berlin tomorrow morning, so you won’t be able to get in contact with me, but I do love you, and I was so stupid before.” Mycroft gave a thick laugh, “Don’t ever tell Sherlock that, he’s difficult as it is, let alone if he thinks he has an upper hand.” He faltered, fell silent, then cleared his throat to continue. “Well, please come home, Greg. I’ll grab your favorite take away for dinner and we can watch football. I’ll even turn my phone off. I promise. I…I love you Greg. So very much. Goodbye.”
Mycroft promptly hit the hashtag button.
“To rerecord your message press one, to delete your message press two, to –“
Mycroft pressed two.
Chapter 4: John Watson to Gregory Lestrade
Want to grab a pint sometime?
Make it several pints and you have yourself a deal.
Also, make sure yours stays at 221B. I'm not in the mood.
Chapter 5: Masochism
Gregory Lestrade had never really thought of himself as a masochist.
Well, that is to say before he found himself standing in front of one 221B Baker St with his clenched fist hovering above the black wooden door.
For one second – an impossibly long second – Greg Lestrade was about to about-face and run for the hills or more accurately the relative safety of the yard (only relative, mind, because Sherlock Holmes could still pop in any time there as well). He could simply text John, tell he was sorry he’d have to cancel, and go back into the angst-ridden hole he had been hiding in for the past two weeks.
Ever since he had moved out.
We weren’t even living together! He had to remind himself nearly daily, though waking up in his “glorified closest” of a flat – alone – usually did the reminding for him. Mycroft and Lestrade had never even made a proper commitment to one another, it was as if they had slide from some-what friends to some-what boyfriends to some-what husbands without ever realizing the difference. There was no doubt, at least for Lestrade that they were faithful to one another for the entirety of the relationship, but they hadn’t even discussed becoming anything more. Hell, Lestrade didn’t even think they had even referred to one another as “boyfriends” or “partners” in public (save for once), but rather the couple had just let their friends, family, and colleagues “draw their own deductions”.
“I’m not particularly interested in how the commonwealth perceives our relationship, Gregory, I know what you mean to me and I believe that is enough”
Greg’s stomach gave an uneasy drop at the unwanted memory. It shouldn’t hurt this much. He was convinced. It shouldn’t. It wasn’t fair. He wasn’t some lovesick teenager; he was a middle-aged man. Shouldn’t he be able to just bloody well move on with his life? He didn’t want to remember the giddiness that would fill him when he would see that town car in front of the Yard unexpectedly (or the emptiness at not seeing it anymore); or how Mycroft’s night time routine never varied no matter how hard had tried to distract him; or how if felt to be wrapped in-between Mycroft’s deliciously soft comforter and Mycroft’s even more luxuriously soft and freckled skin. It was all too much to bear. And for once, God bless him, he tried to take a page out of Sherlock’s book, and steadily delete all the little things he loves – loved – about Mycroft Holmes.
He had left for a reason after all and he had best remember that reason. He didn’t trust you, a callous part of his brain reminded him – a part that sounded suspiciously like Sherlock. He didn’t trust and he lied to you to cover it up, not to mention the fact he tampered with your career, Greg. Your career.
That jolted Greg out of his little melancholy and lit an entirely different tendril of anger in his stomach. Before Sherlock, before Mycroft, before everything, all Greg had loved and cared for - all Greg had ever cared to know - was his career. There were few things more precious to him than that – than being a cop – and the thought that all of his hard work – all of those wasted opportunities for actual romance and a life outside the force– could be altered with little more than a off handed suggestion by Mycroft Bloody Holmes made him positively ill.
“Lestrade, if you’re going to continue to stand on my doorstep all evening, I will have to insist you pay Mrs. Hudson rent.” Greg rolled his eyes. It was only a matter of time, after all, until the boy wonder noticed a peculiar shifting in the dust settling patterns and would announce his arrival.
Against his better judgment, Lestrade pushed open the door of the flat and stepped inside with about as much inflated confidence as he could muster. He didn’t just want to serve his misery up to Sherlock on a silver platter.
Needless to say, his deflecting tactics were all for naught.
“You’ve lost weight five, no, five and a half pounds. You’ve been kipping at the Yard because you can’t bear to be at your flat, not to mention you’ve been avoiding calling me even though you’re clearly out of your depth. Anderson is on forensics and Donovan doesn’t quite know how to approach you – meaning that your entire ‘team’” – he said the word with an audible sneer – “is being spectacularly unhelpful because no one will confront you on how dreadfully burdensome you’ve been of late.”
He had hardly looked up at Lestrade when he entered and didn’t again as he made his grand deductions. He simply carried on typing on his laptop. For once, he didn’t offer the how-to guide as to how he knew the specifics, and for that Lestrade was relieved. As much as he had been dreading the other man’s deductions, there was a certain weight that had been lifted off his shoulders knowing that now that Sherlock had hopefully gotten it out of his system, he would let it rest.
And, if Lestrade didn’t know better, he’d say that Sherlock’s speech sprung more as a compulsion rather than out of malice - boredom and Asperger’s being its biggest perpetuators. Even Lestrade could see the lack of smug smirk that was usually present on Sherlock’s face as he tore into someone – laying their most guarded insecurities on the table. Perhaps, this was Sherlock’s way of trying to restore a sense of normality; to show Greg that not everything was going to change.
“The break up at least seems to affect you more amicably. Mycroft has been even more bothersome than his normal rotund self.”
Though, to be fair, that was asking for quite a bit of sentimentality for Sherlock.
“Sherlock!” came a particularly frustrated voice from the bathroom. “What did I tell you?”
“No, it’s alright, mate.” Lestrade chipped in, trying to ignore his wave of nausea at even the mention of Mycroft’s name. “I can’t say I was expecting anything less when I agreed to come here.”
“You wanted it.” Pipped Sherlock, his attention more fully on Lestrade, his voice a notch lower – obviously to make it harder for John to listen in from the bathroom.
“You wanted it, Lestrade. Which speaks volumes toward your mental stability – and perhaps your sexual preferences, but I digress. The reason you came here is because you wanted it to hurt.”
The mood had shifted so thoroughly that Lestrade wasn’t quite sure if he was actually in 221B, or if he had fallen asleep at his desk and was having a Sherlockian nightmare. Again.
“Don’t be so vacant, Lestrade. You could have met John anywhere. At the Yard, at a pub, on the street corner. But you came here.
You came here when you knew I would be here. You walked into this trap because you need to remind your self that it still hurts because as long as it still hurts you have an excuse to not move on.” Lestrade was almost expecting Sherlock to add some quip about sentiment at the end, but he did. He merely continued to stare (unnervingly so) at the DI.
“Am I right?” Sherlock said, eyes narrowed now.
“I – I don’t know what you’re on about, Sherlock”
“Am. I. Right, Detective?”
Lestrade didn’t know, but something in his gut told him that Sherlock was hitting a little too close to the subconscious reality of the situation for comfort.
Saved by the John.
“Gods, yes” Lestrade practically shouted, finally breaking away from his impromptu staring contest with Sherlock.
“Did I…miss something?” John asked suspiciously, looking between his boyfriend and his best mate - the tension in the room still palpable even to one as oblivious as John Watson.
“No, I was simply reminding Greg of what I told him when he first began his rather unadvisable relationship with her majesty.”
“…riiight” John said slowly, clearly missing the point. After all, he hadn’t been present for either conversation. “So…should we be off then?”
Lestrade nodded with a furrowed brow. Blessing any and all deities that he could make a quick exit from 221B.
He, however, had not missed the point. And he was entirely too sober to deal with that fact.
“Needless to say I find this entire arrangement to be both wholly disturbing and completely self-destructive.”
“I don’t really care what you think, Sherlock”
“You should, Lestrade. Because I know my brother better than anyone, and I know how his mind works…He will consume you, Lestrade. And he won’t even know he’s doing it – and neither will you. Until it’s too late, that is.
You see, Mycroft only knows one way in which to protect the people and objects he loves – and if that someday includes you – he will envelop you. Smother you. Consume you.
He’s got to be in control, Lestrade. It’s a dreadful compulsion of his. And the moment that control is compromised, any promises he’s made will be broken if it means restoring that balance. He is not a man to be trusted with someone so fragile as a human heart.”
“Well, we’ll have to cross that bridge when we get there, won’t we?”
“And at the dreadful risk of deploying yet another tired cliché, Lestrade, do not say I did not warn you.”
Chapter 6: Of Skype Dates and Secretaries.
This chapter is a memory, and moderately early in the Mystrade time stream.
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
“Gregory, I feel absolutely ridiculous.”
“Good thing then it’s only me and I rather fancy you when you’re feeling a bit ridiculous.”
Mycroft only raised a singular eyebrow at the computer before carrying on into the kitchen. It was a lovely kitchen by anyone’s standards what with its white washed cabinets, granite counter tops, wine chiller, and so on. It was one of those incredibly posh kitchens one would see on HGTV; a kitchen where the only cooking going on was produced by the personal French chef with a clichéd name like Jacques.
So naturally, Mycroft Holmes hated it.
“And then here’s the kitchen, which I detest”
“Why? It looks so posh!” There was a distinguishable mocking gleam in Greg’s tone.
For as long as Mycroft had known Greg (which admittedly was not that long at all), Lestrade had been rather fond of poking fun at all of the seemingly asinine things Mycroft “detested” (see: cross walks, iced tea, and the sun for further analysis).
Unlike the majority of Mycroft’s acquaintances, however, Greg hadn’t made fun of Mycroft for his peculiarities, but rather was merely fascinated by a man who seemed to form levelheaded and informed opinions about everything under the sun (and in some cases, above and surrounding the sun). Greg’s fascination then in turn sparked Mycroft’s own – which had inevitably (and after a bit of time) landed them in their current relationship status whatever the hell that was.
Mycroft spun the computer around once more and simply leveled a look at the computerized version of Greg, who, judging by the bags under his eyes and the stark white background; he was still at the Yard.
“Posh is one word for it, I’d imagine” Garish would seem more appropriate to Mycroft. The flat was the picture of the Americana glamour which usually meant that everything from the desk in his office to his four poster bed had been stolen from the “old world” sensibilities, cheaply manufactured, and then wrapped up in a pretty gleaming price tag to suit the “independent” and “free” American consumer.
“Well then why don’t you simply redecorate it?” Greg pipped from the screen of the computer. It was already eleven at night in London and Mycroft caught the hint of a yawn in Greg’s voice.
“I like to think that by keeping it so…American…I push myself to work harder as so I may be able leave sooner” At that, Greg gave a bark of laughter, which caused Mycroft to let out a sly little smile.
[Mind, Mycroft didn’t not like America (because he did, secretly, of course) but rather as an upstanding British gentleman, some standards were expected him (or: a slightly childish resentment toward the colonies).]
“I suppose I can’t argue with that logic.” Greg said, trying his hardest to stifle a yawn.
“Are you sure you wouldn’t want to…postpone our ‘date’ until I return home?” Mycroft offered, awkwardly cradling the computer as he walked into the living room and settled onto the couch placing “Greg” to his right (after compiling a make shift stand so the computer was at eye level).
“Nope, you owe me a date, and I’m going to get it even if you’re in Washington, D.C. tending to whatever international crisis the Americans have caused this week.”
You see, earlier that week Mycroft had rather unexpectedly (though in all seriousness, nothing is ever really ‘unexpected’ when you’re Mycroft Holmes) been called to D.C. on rather urgent business. Which had in turn caused Mycroft to cancel a date with one particularly gorgeous Detective Inspector.
Had Mycroft been able to stay in London (and Gods how he had tried), it would have been Gregory and his sixth date. Or seventh and a half date. It really depended on where one decided to parse where friendship-like outings had ended and the relationship-like outings had begun. Either way, Mycroft had put Anthea to the task of giving him the exact moment of the “change” so he could adequately prepare him self for the (hopeful) plethora of anniversaries.
While Greg had been upset to learn of Mycroft’s predicament, the cancelation of the aforementioned date could not have been at a better time. As it would seem, from what Mycroft could gather, Greg himself was up to the brim dealing with a particularly nasty set of homicides as well as a particularly nasty Sherlock (John was on business in Dublin, and had been for nearly a fortnight).
Well, there was room for error, however, as Mycroft was only viewing Greg though a rather grainy two-dimensional computer screen, and deducing under those circumstances was difficult, no matter what Sherlock said.
“Well, to be fair, this is rather more interesting than my previous plans had you not been so…adamant.” Mycroft offered, sounding perfectly elusive (and what he hoped, sounded sexy). In reality, Mycroft had a (top secret) meeting to attend in – he checked his watch – precisely four hours and twelve minutes and he hadn’t planned on doing anything over interest for the duration of the evening unless one considered watching the Food Network interesting (and for a man on a extraordinarily restrictive diet, the Food Network was absolutely considered pornographic and masochistic in nature).
Had Greg asked, however, he would have his plans were something he “wasn’t at liberty to discuss”, but thankfully, Greg didn’t ask.
“So what’s there to watch over there?”
After some time, and a fair amount of bickering between the two, both men settled on watching a shark documentary.
Needless to say, the set up was hardly ideal. To begin with, the computer was so terrible at picking up the voices on the television that Mycroft had to keep the volume at such a level that he was positive the authorities would be called; then, with the aforementioned volume problem taken into account, conversation between the couple were more than a bit stilted; and then finally, Mycroft’s mobile rang out increasingly as the night progressed.
“You should take that.” Greg urged, when the mobile had rung for the fifth time in as many minutes. “If the President of the United States needs you, who am I to stop him.”
Mycroft faltered, his hand hovering above the phone. Is this a test? He wondered, would I fail said test if I do in fact take the phone call? Perhaps if I -
“Really, Mycroft. It must be important.” Urged Greg again, and Mycroft searched the other man’s face for any sign of insincerity.
“Thank you, I am very sorry, Gregory, but I will have to excuse myself.”
With grace that really should not have been allowed to inhabit anything but an ethereal being, Mycroft Holmes removed himself from the couch and began to walk into the next room. But before he finally disappeared from view, Mycroft turn around, and over the blaring volume of the television said with a smirk: “Oh and Gregory, it’s Hilary, though she might as well be president.” And with that he left the great whites and a mildly bewildered Greg in his wake.
After a rather unfortunately long conversation with the Secretary of State, Mycroft finally returned to his living room in hopes of resuming his night with Gregory (or what was left of it/what could be salvaged of it before he had to make his excuses again when he had to leave for his meeting).
However, upon his less-than-prompt return, it was clear to Mycroft that all attempts at stealing this date back from the brink of ruin, had ceased to exist as Mycroft’s computer screen was producing a very delicate snoring sound that did remarkably unsettlingly things to Mycroft’s heart.
SO, originally this fic was going to be relatively short and relatively angst free. HOWEVER, a) Mystradedoodle's challenge happened in my life and b) the song "Hold on to What You Believe" by Mumford & Sons became my anthem for this fic. So...draw your deductions, haha.
P.S. - Thanks for all the support <3
P.P.S. - I don't have a BETA/Brit picker and would like one or multiple so if you want to help, message me or comment or something! :D
Gregory, it's been over 15 days.
I need time to explain
I need an answer, Greg. This game you've been playing isn't fair for either of us.
Gregory Lestrade was positive he was going to be ill.
The first wave of nausea had come when his team had been called to investigate a particularly gruesome series of murders. Greg was a seasoned homicide cop, so he had seen enough gore to make the stomach churn of even the most gore-obsessed teenager. Missing body parts, castrations, pus, and naturally, the blood, were hardly anything more than hazards of the job at this point. However, Greg probably should have known that it wouldn’t be a pretty sight from the get go when Sally came to him with the specifics and remarked that maybe bringing “the Freak” in on this one wouldn’t be the worst idea she’d ever heard.
When they arrive, before he had even step foot past the yellow caution tape, a cop (James Donaldson, a man who had been on the force for nearly as long as Greg had been) emerged from the alley leading to the warehouse and promptly vomited. Sherlock, who had previously been convinced that this case was hardly worth his time (“It’s only just an eight, Lestrade. Only just”), immediately perked up and took off for the warehouse with a cautious John, Sally, and Greg on his heels.
“Don’t go in there, Greg.” Donaldson warned, still hunched over in front of a brick wall. Greg gave him a weak smile and continued forward, the tension growing in his stomach.
Immediately once inside, Greg was hit with the smell of rotting flesh that brought both tears to his eyes and his sleeve over his mouth and nose. The warehouse was dimly lit at best, and if it weren’t for the abundance of cops milling around (well, more milling about the door would be more accurate as it was the only source of fresh air) Greg would have thought he had landed himself in one of those Saw movies.
His suspicions of being in a Saw movie only really continued to manifest when he followed the tail of Sherlock’s black coat around a corner and into a white tiled room which at one point looked like it could have been used for butchering or some really seedy black market surgeries which, in essence, might just be the same thing.
A stainless steel table was set up in the center of the room, a stainless steel rolling cart (with various medical tools) next to it – a solitary naked florescent blub hanging in the center of the room. In the corner of the room, was another stainless steel door, with a stainless steel sink next to that.
But Greg didn’t notice any of that upon first entering the room. No, because his eyes jumped straight to the naked body – it was impossible to tell if it was a man or a woman – which was lying on the table. The face had been melted, the ribcage opened, the skin filleted. And there was blood everywhere. So. Much. Blood.
Sherlock was muttering to himself (“Multiple victims”, “blow torch”, “female genital mutilation”, “Missing organs”, “trophies”). He whisked around the room not only oblivious to the gore, but rather terrifyingly excited by it.
Greg on the other hand, could only mutter “I think I’m going to be sick” before legging it for the door.
The second wave of nausea had come that evening as Greg was standing on the doorstep of a flat that he had come to love. His hand hovered over the dark wooden door, unable to convince himself to knock.
Nearly three weeks ago, Greg had moved out of Mycroft’s life. It had been painful, but it had been necessary (or that as what Greg had told himself). He was a grown man, and he had been an independent man for the majority of his life. Even growing up, Greg had never taken to being tied down by anyone or anything. It wasn’t in his nature. He always fancied himself a life-long bachelor.
That was, until he met Mycroft Holmes. Of course he had boyfriends here and there in his life (and some girlfriends) as well, but he’d never properly settled down with anyone the way he had with Mycroft. And the worst bit was, was that it had snuck up on Greg. One minute, Greg was eating beans on toast alone every morning in his tiny flat, and the next he was waking up to lux feasts in bed with on Mycroft Holmes. There had been no easing into it. Mycroft Holmes didn’t do “easing”.
Disregarding the fact that Mycroft was Sherlock’s brother, the relationship had been the most normal and functional thing in either mans’ life. When they were home – when they were together, the entire universe seemed to stop moving. Time just went still for the two of them – for two men whose entire existence prior had been run by the clock – beating the clock. But together, no matter how long, it was just the two of them.
Their life together wasn’t monumental to anyone else, but it was to them. For Greg, he could truly relax around Mycroft in a way that he couldn’t do even when he was alone, and he truly believed that Mycroft felt the same way. They fed into each other’s indulgences, and pushed each other to become simply more. Boundaries were test and crossed, but still both men found themselves longing for more.
Of course, they hadn’t been perfect. Greg snored, Mycroft had his ridiculous diet, Greg would take his work bitterness home (see: Sherlock) with him and passively take it out on Mycroft, and Mycroft would leave for weeks on end to undisclosed locations where communication was iffy at best. The usual couple stuff.
None of it had been deal breaking. That was until Mycroft had begun interfering in Greg’s work life. Like Mycroft, Greg cherished his job like it was his baby. Above all other things, Greg’s career had been the only constant in Greg’s life, and when the man he loved started to interfere with that sacred part of his life – Greg, well, lost it.
For Greg, Mycroft’s interference was viewed as nothing more than a power play on the other man’s part. Mycroft had, after all, never had any qualms with voicing his opinion on Greg’s job – which usually included Mycroft begging (well, what could be qualified as “begging” for Mycroft anyway) Greg to leave his job. Greg had never felt so backed into a corner, and a choice had to be made. He couldn’t live wondering if every missed opportunity or otherwise might have had something to do with the man he loved.
Or that’s what he had told himself.
If Greg was honest with himself (and he spent the vast majority of these last three weeks trying not to be) he knew it wasn’t just Mycroft’s meddling that lead him to this point. In fact, Greg had to spend these last three weeks often convincing himself that his self-righteous indignant rage was not only justified but for the best, because as much as he loved Mycroft, being with the man terrified Greg.
He had never been so afraid in his entire life.
Every time Mycroft didn’t call, every time Mycroft didn’t text, every time Mycroft’s car wasn’t there, the pit in his stomach would drop and it felt as if the world was swallowing him whole. Mycroft mattered so dearly to Greg that it crushed him. Having that type of love for someone – a type of love Greg thought didn’t actually exist in the word, let alone for him – was just…too much. He was Greg Lestrade, god dammit. He was a homicide copper who had seen the bad walks of life more often than not, and there he was immobilized by his own love. It was pathetic. He was pathetic.
So when Greg had caught on to Mycroft’s interference, he jumped. At that time, he had already been looking for a way out for weeks. He needed to get out. He wasn’t this man. He couldn’t live like this. Mycroft consumed his entirety and the other man didn’t even know it. The elder Holmes was all Greg could think about, all he could crave. He had never been an addict, but he’d imagine being in love with Mycroft Holmes worked much the same way. Being in his presence was like a shot of adrenaline – the world was more welcoming and all the harsh lines (the families of victims, the paperwork, the grief) it all dulled in his presence.
But Greg needed those feelings. He didn’t become the good cop he is today without the motivator; without the hate; the loneliness. Alone protected him – alone protected his squad – and alone saved lives.
And God, did Mycroft Holmes jeopardize that.
What’s worse was that Greg wasn’t mad, not really anyway. Mycroft could have Greg fired, and Greg wouldn’t mind. Not if it meant being with Mycroft unconditionally and forever. That was the most terrifying part, because Greg could recognize through his haze that he was becoming a shadow of a man he used to be, and he didn’t like it. He couldn’t stand it.
Wouldn’t things just be easier if they could just go back to they were before? Surely being in love wasn’t meant to make you feel like this – like there’s this insurmountable burden upon your chest. How did people function?
Greg couldn’t do it.
His name was Gregory Lestrade, dammit, and he wasn’t this man.
He knocked definitively on the door in front of him. He had made his decision – had made it three weeks ago. It wasn’t what he wanted – what the selfish Greg wanted, and God would this be hard, but it was better than the alternative. Better than loving Mycroft Holmes until one day he didn’t come home.
Greg didn’t think he could live through that.
When the door opened, Greg was greeted with the weary face of the man he’d been going to great lengths to avoid, but he knew this moment had to come. “Hi” he offered weakly, gathering all of his remaining will not to kiss the other man in greeting.
“Please, come in. The kettle’s just boiled.”
Greg nodded stiffly, brushing past Mycroft, trying to avoid making any unnecessary contact with him knowing that if he did that his resolve would most likely fall to shreds.
However, Greg could smell, Mycroft, which was almost as bad. He smelt warm like a winter’s fire; always a hint of fire and spice lingering under his understated aftershave. It was a smell that Greg would always associate with this moment – with this man.
“I actually won’t be staying long. I think it’d be just…easier for the both of us if we say our piece and leave it at that.”
“I see” Mycroft sunk into a chair across from Greg, and Greg onto the sofa. A position that they often found themselves in after work, enjoying the silence of each other’s company. The unwanted memories of the tea, the inside jokes, and the bickering, ripped through Greg. “Well, I don’t think I’d consider any part of this easy, Gregory.”
“You know what I meant”
“Did I?” Mycroft offered, his usually pomp gone leaving only the Mycroft that Greg had to fight to find early in their relationship. “I know what I did was wrong, Gregory, and I wish I could – I wish you could know how deeply I regret it, but –“
“But nothing, Mycroft. The only thing I’ve ever asked you to do was to not interfere with my career, and you broke that promise. It’s not a difficult leap to understand as to why I left.”
“Correct, but –“
“No buts, Mycroft. Not this time. I – I can’t let you talk yourself out of this one. I can’t. Because this isn’t healthy. We tired, didn’t we? And – and, it was fun for a while, My, but it’s too hard. Love shouldn’t be like this. It shouldn’t be this hard. We shouldn’t have to work this hard.”
“Love isn’t supposed to be easy” A quiet venom crept in the edges of Mycroft’s voice, but it disappeared almost as quickly as it appeared. “They wouldn’t write poems, or paint masterpieces about it if it were.” Mycroft broke eye contact, choosing instead to let his eyes set every where else in the room but on Greg, “And I know, Greg, that I’m not…an easy man to live with, but I can try, and I can do what you need me to and I won’t ever interfere in with your career again but…”
Greg couldn’t listen to this, he couldn’t because if the thought of living with debilitating love was difficult, he would never get beyond the crushing guilt of breaking Mycroft Holmes’ heart. A heart he had been so tentative to hand over in the first place.
Mycroft drew in a slightly shuttering breath, and one horrifying moment Greg thought that Mycroft was about to cry. “But – and I am assured this doesn’t come as a surprise – but no one taught me how not do this. Not properly anyway, but I can learn, Greg. I just need a…teacher. I just need patience, and I just need forgiveness.”
Greg knew that Mycroft was waiting for his response. For him to concede this stupid fight and move back home; for him to take Mycroft to bed and teach him, to show him patience, to forgive him; for him leave it all behind and live with the only man he’d ever loved. Mycroft was waiting and all he had to do was say yes. Just say yes.
“No.” The word was out of Greg’s mouth before he could even register he had been the one to say it. “I can’t. I’m sorry. I just can’t.”
Greg searched Mycroft’s face, for anything, but all he could see was that false façade slipping back into place. A mask Greg hadn’t seen in nearly a year – a mask Greg had work so tirelessly to dispose of.
But it was there, looking back at him – calm, and unmoved hiding everything that Mycroft Holmes was under its misleading complacency.
What have I done?
For the third time that day, Gregory Lestrade was positive he was going to be ill.
A few notes on Greg’s character in this, because I think it’s slightly different than the majorities’ head canon. In this fic, in this chapter especially, I’m trying to write Greg in a different light than I usually see him portrayed. Mostly in fics, it’s Greg that is eager for a relationship and Mycroft that is not.
In this, I’ve kind of flip flopped it. In the beginning of their relationship, Mycroft was definitely more hesitant as he hadn’t been in a long term romantic relationship before, but as the relationship progressed Mycroft was able to reocgnize his feelings, analyze them, and act upon them. Greg, however, lacks the same sense of definitiveness. He doesn’t know what he wants. He know he loves Mycroft, but he’s also terrified of losing the man so he cuts himself off early in essence to stop it before it gets too far out of control.
Greg’s character in this is terrified of being hurt, whereas Mycroft is giving Greg his all because he has never been hurt before, if that makes sense to anyone but me. Essentially, Greg is being selfish in a way we usually don’t see him, he’s taking care of himself because he’s terrified of loving something more than that.
Also: listen to The Scientist and Fix You by Coldplay if you’d like the soundtrack for this particular chapter lol
Chapter 8: In Reverse
A few things about this chapter. Firstly, this is a memory of the first time Greg and Mycroft met. Second, I originally posted this with the intention of it belonging to a different Mystrade fic I was writing, but upon further reflection, both of those fics have recently morphed into one. So apologize if you’ve read this chapter before (I swear I didn’t steal it, lulz, it was originally part of the increasing neurotic life of Mycroft Holmes) but I’m going to meld that in in with this one.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
This was the last thing Mycroft Holmes wanted to do.
On better thought, it was the third last thing he wanted to do.
The only situations that could trump this particular predicament would be: 1) negotiations with the North Korean arms developers (stubborn could not even begin to describe the committee of men that made up that particular branch of the North Korean government) and 2) having to identify Sherlock’s body at a mortuary.
However, having to post Sherlock’s bail did sit rather low on the list. Not only did it require Mycroft to excuse himself from an important meeting with the Chinese and Russian governments – meaning that they would have to postpone the finalization of an important treaty until the following Monday – it also meant that Mycroft would have to actually make an appearance at New Scotland Yard, pull rank, place a donation discreetly in the hands of the Commissioner, and then be subjected to the childish deductions that his brother would produce conveniently overlooking the fact that Mycroft had just saved him from a rather uncomfortable night in lock up.
But that was Sherlock, wasn’t it?
Mycroft pinched the bridge of his nose as his slide effortlessly into the car that had appeared in front of the curb. He could already feel the oppressive effects of a migraine creeping in at the edges of his mind.
“What exactly is his status?” Mycroft asked flatly, not bothering to look up from his BlackBerry or elaborate about whom he was actually speaking.
“He has been detained for questioning” The petite brunette replied back without missing a beat. Anthea had been in the employ of Mycroft for an unprecedented 3 years 5 months and 27 days. She was remarkably efficient, but beyond that she understood her employer’s priorities, demands, motives, and questions before he was even able to voice them. To say she was an invaluable part to the British Government was a gross understatement. “According to Bissell, and the police reports, he was given warnings for tampering with a crime scene, and then sub sequentially detained for suspicious knowledge of the crime.”
The only response which the information elicited from Mycroft was a subtle roll of the eyes.
“Sir?” A secretary quipped as the elder Holmes brushed past the reception desk and toward the elevators. He ignored her. He didn’t need her help, he knew where he was going he’d (unfortunately) been here often enough to know the layout. Besides, she would just slow him down from getting back to matters of state that actually had importance.
“Sir! Sir!” Now the secretary was up from her black rolling chair and clicking her heels furiously after them - trying to catch up with the long determined strides of the unnamed posh government types.
“Anthea-” He began, not turning around to face the secretary. He really did not have time for this. Mycroft sincerely doubted that it was particularly life threatening if he did not acquire a visitor pass from the overly self-important secretary.
As he elevator doors opens with a soft beep, Mycroft stepped inside leaving Anthea with the rather demeaning task of explaining to the receptionist – Carol as her name tag read – that men like Mycroft Holmes simply were above the normal Yard “safety protocol” (if you could call a plastic name tag with the word “visitor” printed on it safety protocol).
When the doors opened again, he was immediately accosted with an above average amount of commotion. On the (unfortunate) occasions in which Mycroft had to interact with the men and women of the Yard, he had been mildly concerned at the level of chaos that seemed to rein – papers all unfiled; old coffee cups littering desks; electronics malfunctioning; and not to mention the constant din of everyone talking at once. For the elder Holmes, the Yard was his own personal circle of hell, and more often than not he sent an underling rather than having to endure the torture himself. It’s rather remarkable and worrisome, he mused, that they can solve crimes in this sort of environment.
Today, however, the chaotic normalcy in which the Yard operated seemed to have been amplified exponentially. People were frantic, flustered, generally flummoxed, and most importantly avoiding one office (in fact, one whole side of the office) completely. It didn’t take a genius (though Mycroft was, in fact, a genius) to deduce where exactly Sherlock was being held.
With the practiced ease of someone who was used to being the most powerful man in the room, Mycroft navigated easily through the crowd of people without drawing much suspicion. It seemed that the Yard’s first experience with Sherlock Holmes was enough to distract even the finest officers and detectives the Yard had to offer. The thought alone had him worrying again about the stability in the British police force. Mycroft made a note to look into further into the issue.
The door was slightly ajar when Mycroft reached it, and coming from within he could an unfamiliar voice reprimanding a silent figure which could only be Sherlock. Mycroft could practically hear the sulk that Sherlock was putting on.
After waiting just another moment, in which Anthea appeared behind him again still clicking away on her BlackBerry as if nothing had happened, Mycroft rapt on the door of one Detective Inspector Gregory Lestrade before entering without waiting for an invitation. He had already wasted 6 minutes and 39 seconds at the Yard, and his attention he was needed elsewhere, social niceties would have to wait.
“So you’ve decided to lawyer up?” The DI inquired as his eyes flickered from the lithe dark haired man, to the posh ‘I-paid-more-for-this-suit-than-you-do-rent-in-six-months’ bastard that had just walked in.
“Of course not,” Sherlock remarked as if he was speaking to a small invalided child which he then punctuated with a rather dramatic eye roll. “And this man is not a lawyer; lawyers at least have the decency to acknowledge the fact that they are not to be trusted.”
Now it was Mycroft’s turn to roll his eyes. “Mycroft Holmes” he said, pointedly ignoring his brother’s scoff, and the DI’s surprise. “It has come to my attention that there has been a misunderstanding with my brother and your crime scene.”
“Misunderstanding” The (attractive) DI began, “is a bit of an understatement. Not only did he trespass in a suspected –“
“Not suspected, Lestrade-” Sherlock interrupted
“Detective Inspector Lestrade.”
“Not suspected, Lestrade” Sherlock continued in a bored tone as if Lestrade had never spoken, “but rather an obvious homicide by the state of the victim’s collar.”
“You can’t know if it was a murder by the collar of the victim’s dress, Mr. Holmes. You simply cannot. I refuse to believe it, and I find it -” Lestrade was cut off again.
“No, you cannot. I can.”
Just as the now red-faced DI was about to refute, Mycroft stepped in. Maybe he would have rather sat through negotiations with North Korea over this after all. “As interesting as this debate proves, the fact still remains that my brother is in your custody which is…unacceptable. Anthea, please take my brother and deposit him at my residence. I will deal with him later.”
A moment of silence passed between the four adults, though just a moment before Sherlock inhaled a sharp breath, clearly in preparation to voice his discontent. Before he could, however, Mycroft leveled “the look” (the look that could silence a boardroom full over overly self-confident diplomats) at Sherlock and in a voice that could send shivers running down the spine of even the bravest of men (not to mention the most insolent of brothers), simply said “Sherlock, you will go with Anthea, and you will remain in my residence until I have dealt with you properly.”
Sherlock let the air out of his lungs with a put-upon huff before lifting himself effortlessly out of the chair. Before he left the office, however, he turned around to face his brother and Lestrade once more, his blue eyes narrowed, still floundering for a way to appear in control though it was clear to both Mycroft and Lestrade who had won the standoff. “You look fat” Sherlock said with all the dignity he could mustered before turning on his heal and practically stomping out of the office looking so much like his seven year old self that Mycroft could do nothing more than smile calmly.
“He’s always been that way, my brother” He remarked with a sigh, turning back to the DI. The wistful look replaced with his “I’m-a-minor-government-offical-no-need-to-fear-me-just-do-what-I-want” face. “But I assure you he only means well.” More or less
“I – well –“ Began the DI, not fully comprehending the scene that had just taken place in front of him, or how in the span of about four minutes the main suspect for the Lorris double homicide was swept out the room without his permission. After a moment, his brain kicked back in. “Uh, well, thank you, Mr. Holmes for removing your brother from my office so efficiently, however that was in no way within your authority to do so.” Picking up the phone from the desk, the DI pressed a series of three numbers, and then began to speak “Listen, Sally, that bloke we picked up earlier, yeah, don’t let him leave yet. He’s being escorted by a woman. Don’t let her leave either. I want them both put in separate interrogation rooms for me to deal with personally.”
Mycroft rolled his eyes, as he checked his gold pocket watch. This really wasn’t meant to take this long. And while the DI’s display of power was endearing, it was beginning to wear on his patience. When DI Lestrade finally put down the receiver, Mycroft tried to keep the contempt out of his voice as he spoke. “While your…thoroughness is truly a breath of fresh air, I assure you that Sherlock is not the man you are looking for. If you do not believe me,” he continued lazily, twisting the black umbrella on the carpeted floor of the office, “there is an e-mail in your inbox which will supply you and your team with ample evidence of my brother’s innocence. Though by all means, be as thorough, as you’d like.”
“As for my whether or not it was within authority to remove Sherlock from your custody…” The ringing of the DI’s phone interrupted him, and the elder Holmes gestured for the other man to take the call. After a few moments, the DI hung up – his confidence obviously rattled. “I’m sure Ms. Donovan has informed you quite thoroughly about just how far my…jurisdiction falls.” The DI shifted uncomfortably, and Mycroft smiled again – though the smile was far from the pleasant one he had been wearing a few minutes prior. The DI though he looked more like a shark who had just smelt blood in the water rather than a man.
“Well,” the DI fumbled with papers on his desk trying, just as Sherlock had, to regain control of the situation. This time, however, rather than finding the attempt childish a part of Mycroft found it surprisingly endearing and there was a tinge of something (guilt?) in the pit of his stomach about emasculating a man in his own office, in front of his own staff. “Thank you for, ugh, clearing up the misunderstanding, Mr. Holmes. If there is anything you need…” The DI let his sentence hang in the air – unfinished. What could the Lestrade offer Holmes that he didn’t already have access to?
“Do not mention it. Have a nice remainder of your day, Detective Inspector.” He bowed his head slightly, before turning his back checking his pocket watch yet again. So much time valuable time wasted. Tragedy.
And yet…maybe not.
“You know, Detective Inspector,” he started, turning around with a smirk. “There is something you can do for me, well, truthfully not for me, but rather something you can do for Sherlock…”
And that was both the first time Mycroft met Greg, and the beginning of the end of his grasp on reality.
- - -
A real proper new and shiny chapter will be up later today or early tomorrow. This chapter is mainly here to illuminate the difference between the supposed *last* meeting of Greg and Mycroft to their first meeting :D