It was a brutal, ugly night, rain and wind and sleet and the occasional flickering of lights, and there was nothing more soothing on a dreadful night than a nice plate of bangers and mash. The aromas sent up by the mashed potatoes, steaming and subtle with infusions of butter and cream, and the sausages done to a turn – just this side of burnt – were almost unbearable. Mycroft examined his food with pleasure and dutifully speared one of the damp, dispirited Brussels sprouts arranged to one side like uninvited guests at a party. He popped it in his mouth and chewed, wincing. More vitamins in green-coloured food. Best to get the nasty stuff out of the way first. He bent to his text and underlined a passage, nodding gently in time with the Bach pouring from the radio.
His front door rattled as someone banged on it loudly.
Mycroft looked up in dismay. That was awfully familiar, that banging.
“Oh, God. No. Please, no.”
He groaned as he pushed himself up from the table and trudged to the door, where the person on the other side (Please, merciful God, no) was still hammering with vigour and enthusiasm. “I’m coming,” he muttered, and undid the chain, then opened the door a crack. “Oh, God. It is you.”
“What took you so long, you lazy sod?” Sherlock held a small, battered leather case in one hand, and his clothes and hair were drenched. “God, I’ve been knocking for hours.”
“A slight exaggeration.”
“But only slight.” Sherlock offered him a grin. “You going to make me stand out here all night?”
“I should. You’re soaking.” Sighing, Mycroft stood back and opened the door just wide enough for Sherlock to squeeze through before closing it with a firm click. He regarded his brother with some distaste as he bounced into the room and flung his case on the sofa. “Why don’t you put your things on the sofa, Sherlock?” he queried rhetorically.
“Don’t mind if I do.” Sherlock shrugged out of his coat and dropped it on top of the case. He dug a pack of cigarettes out of his pocket. “Got a match?”
“No. Light it in the kitchen.” Wearily, Mycroft went into the kitchen and turned on the gas range.
Sherlock followed him, bending to light the end of the cigarette, and inhaled deeply, dragging his fingers through his wet hair. He looked around and grimaced. “God, it’s still grotty as hell in here. Oh, bangers and mash – and enough for two. Or three.” He sat at the table and began forking up mashed potatoes, stuffing them in his mouth.
“Hold on a minute, you thieving little bugger,” Mycroft snapped, snatching the fork away. “What the hell are you doing here? You haven’t done anything stupid like run away, have you?”
Sherlock chortled through a mouthful of potatoes and swallowed. “No, because then I’d have to do something stupid like come and stay here. Which I have anyway. I’m still on hols, you prat. Only swotty eejit grinds like you are back at it, all that boring postgrad crap.” He grabbed Mycroft’s book and flipped it to the cover. “Inside Asquith's Cabinet: From the Diaries of Charles Hobhouse. Thrilling stuff.”
“’Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it,’” Mycroft quoted primly.
“There’s a futile war you’re fighting.” Sherlock grabbed a banger and bit into it.
Mycroft glared, but it had absolutely no effect. Sherlock continued to eat the sausage with no apparent problem. Sighing, Mycroft surrendered himself to losing half his dinner, though he noticed the little git didn’t touch the sprouts. “Are you going to tell me what you’re doing here, Sherlock?”
“Isn’t it obvious? Mummy and Father are at it again.”
“Again?” Mycroft shook his head and forked up potatoes. Not as good cold. “Why on earth they persist in staying married….”
“Don’t know,” Sherlock shrugged. “Doesn’t matter much. He’s going to be dead within two years – possibly fewer. Mummy might as well hang on and spare herself the legal trouble.”
“Two years? How the hell did you arrive at that conclusion, may I ask?” Mycroft shook his head at his little brother. Sherlock was bright, no denying it, but that was a bit of a stretch.
Sherlock got up and retrieved a beer from the refrigerator, using the hem of his jumper to twist the cap from the bottle. “He’s headed for an aneurysm. All the signs are there – headaches, coordination and balance issues –“
“Thought that was from his drinking.”
“That’s not helping.” Sherlock took a deep draught. “Tuesday he was having trouble with his vision. Anyway, I don’t want to go back home until they’ve let things settle a bit.”
“Did you tell them you were going?”
“Left a note.”
Mycroft rubbed his eyes. “And when do you go back to school?”
“Next week, don’t worry.” Sherlock got up and began to wander round the tiny flat. “I’m bored. What have you got that’s interesting to read?”
“Government, politics, history.”
“You should have brought your own books,” Mycroft said, and finished his dinner, except for the sprouts. “Anyway, I’m headed to bed in a bit; you can do as you please as long as you don’t make any noise.”
Sherlock was quiet for a moment. “Oh,” he said at last.
He was in a corridor lined with a hundred identical closed doors, and he realised he had to choose the correct one, because if he didn’t, Sherlock would be hurt. He felt sweat trickling down his back and under his arms, and he called out, but he had no voice. And still, Sherlock answered him.
Mycroft! In here!
But where? Panicked, Mycroft began to run, still calling out. And Sherlock’s cries grew louder, more fearful.
He chose a door and threw it open, and there was Sherlock, smiling at him. Naked. Erect.
Mycroft. You found me.
Sherlock moved into his arms, reached down and closed his hand on Mycroft’s prick, and Mycroft realised he was naked as well.
He awoke with a jolt.
“Shhh.” Sherlock’s hand covered Mycroft’s mouth for a moment. “You were dreaming.”
Mycroft blinked in the darkness, then started to struggle away as he understood what was happening. “Sherlock, no –“
“It’s all right.” Sherlock pressed him to the bed, all wiry strength, his hand moving restlessly, up and down, now slowly, now with heavier pressure.
“Christ’s sake, I told you –“
“I know. I don’t care. There’s nothing wrong with it.”
“But for the fact that you’re my brother and it’s –“ Glorious. Unbearable. Delicious.
“I’m not planning to impregnate you, so don’t worry.“ Sherlock moved to Mycroft’s side and clamped his thighs around Mycroft’s hip, his erection hot and hard. “Hold still. Shh.” His hand rubbed up and down, gently squeezing, and his hips rocked back and forth against Mycroft’s thigh.“There – oh, God –“
Mycroft threw back the sheet and duvet for the inevitable. He held still, clasped tightly in Sherlock’s arms and legs, and groaned as he came, spilling into Sherlock’s hand. Shuddering, he gasped, blindly allowing Sherlock’s sticky hand to close around his and slide toward his brother’s erect cock. He grasped tightly and mercilessly and listened to the sound of Sherlock’s soft gasps and moans and tried not to get hard again. When Sherlock finally climaxed, he let go and turned away, wiping his hand on the lower sheet. “Sherlock.”
It took a moment for Sherlock to reply. “What?”
“We can’t…I can’t allow this to happen again.”
Sherlock said nothing. After a few moments he got up and left the room, and Mycroft heard the sound of the shower.
And he knew that despite anything he said, it would happen again.
Mycroft Holmes did not consider himself a weak man, except where his brother was concerned. The difficulty lay in the fact that Sherlock knew it well and exploited it ruthlessly. Mycroft sat on a wing chair (a castoff from Father’s library) and stared into Sherlock’s eyes, almost black because his pupils were dilated from whatever he’d injected himself with an hour before. “You’re a bloody idiot,” he said softly. “You know that?”
A lazy grin slid across Sherlock’s face. “They say it takes one to know one.” He sank to his knees and arranged himself between Mycroft’s thighs. “New suit?”
“Not bad.” Deftly, even through a haze of drugs, Sherlock’s fingers unbuttoned Mycroft’s trousers. “Working for Her Majesty must not be all drudgery.”
If Mycroft were entirely honest with himself, he would have to admit that he bore some culpability in the matter. He brushed his hand over the top of Sherlock’s head, twining a curl round his fingers. “Your hair’s far too long. It looks ridiculous.”
“At least I’ve got hair.”
“Shut up.” Sherlock eased Mycroft’s stiff cock out and bent to suck on it. He licked it delicately, tracing the tip of his tongue round the head in a swirling motion as if he were shaping an ice-cream.
Mycroft put his other hand on Sherlock’s head and guided him down, closing his eyes, concentrating on the delightful licking and tugging of Sherlock’s mouth. If he allowed himself the pleasure of looking at Sherlock’s lips wrapped round his cock, he’d come too quickly. He felt Sherlock’s hands on his thighs, the long fingers digging into his flesh. Unable to help himself, he opened his eyes and watched Sherlock. Thirty seconds later, he groaned and let go.
That night they slept side by side. Sherlock muttered and shivered as he came down from whatever he’d taken.
In the morning, when Mycroft awoke, he was alone. Instinctively, he looked to his bedside table, at the money clip that now held only a folded note. He slid the paper out (his own monogrammed stationery) and read:
For services rendered. SH
Sighing, Mycroft turned over and went back to sleep.
He would never ask Sherlock how he was feeling; Sherlock had made very clear his opinions on questions of that sort. But Mycroft took in the pallor of Sherlock’s skin, the bruising on his face, the way his eyes darted from a questioning gaze, and wondered.
Sherlock set a leather bag on Mycroft’s bed. Methodically, he removed five neat coils of rough twine, secured at their ends with gaffer tape to prevent fraying, and a piece of folded beige material with the dull sheen of silk. He placed the bag on the floor and gently brushed the tips of his fingers over the silk. “I want you to tie me up.”
Mycroft bit his lip and turned away to give himself a moment. “After what you’ve been through? I’d have thought you’d had quite enough of that.”
“Are you going to do it or not? I can always find someone else to accommodate me.”
Who, I wonder? “All right.” He turned back to face Sherlock, and Sherlock turned away, stripping off his coat and his jacket. His hands trembled over the buttons of his shirt. Mycroft’s fingers drifted to his tie to undo the knot.
“No.” Sherlock’s voice was low, but harsh. “You stay dressed.”
“Whatever you like.” Mycroft went to a chair and sat, watching as Sherlock stripped naked. More bruises on that pale flesh. His mouth went dry as he watched Sherlock take one of the pieces of rope and wrapped it round the base of his balls, then twined it back and forth over his cock, bringing it down again and tying it off at the base. “Interesting.”
Sherlock wet his lips. “Mycroft, I’m only going to say this once. I want you to tie my wrists, my thighs, my knees, and my ankles. Then I want you to gag me, and then you’re going to fuck me. And no matter what I do –no matter what you think you might hear me saying – I don’t want you to stop until you’ve finished. Is that understood?”
Mycroft folded his arms, concealing the shiver that rippled down his spine. Apprehension, or something else? “I’m not a habitual practitioner of this sort of thing.”
“Neither am I. What does that matter?”
“Surely there are…constructs….”
“You always did lack spontaneity.” Sherlock turned away. There were long welts on his back, on his arse. Not, Mycroft knew, obtained with his consent. “I’ve just told you what I want.” He took the beige silk, which turned out to be a scarf nearly two metres long, and made a thick knot in its centre.
An impatient sigh gusted from Sherlock’s lips. “If you don’t want to, Mycroft, tell me now.”
What did those bastards do to you? But if he spoke those words, Sherlock would leave; he knew that as well as he knew his own name. Instead, he said, “I’ll do it. But only this once, Sherlock. I don’t think you –“
“That’ll do. Let’s get on with it.” Sherlock’s cock was hard in its imprisonment of rope. He pulled the bedclothes down and lay on his belly, crossing his wrists behind his back. “Tightly.”
“All right.” Mycroft forced his hands to cease their trembling and bound Sherlock’s wrists together, looping the rope round and round and crosswise until they were completely secured. He knotted the rope, then moved down to Sherlock’s ankles and bound them together. He tied Sherlock’s legs at the thigh and knee, watching as the bristly twine dug into tender flesh, turning it white, then red.
“It’s going to be difficult for you to…or rather, for me to…well….”
“You’ll work it out.” Sherlock’s voice was muffled by the pillow. “Now the scarf.”
Mycroft picked up the knotted silk and held it for a moment. “You’ve no idea how often I’ve wanted to do this without the added incentive of coitus.”
Sherlock smiled at Mycroft, a genuine, unexpectedly sweet smile. “Well, now’s your chance. Savour it.”
He wanted to touch his brother’s cheek gently, to persuade him not to go through with this, but he knew it would never work. “Sherlock…you’re certain?”
“Don’t stop.” Sherlock’s voice had gone ragged. “No matter what I say. Mycroft…please.”
Mycroft took a shuddering breath, then nodded and pushed the knot into Sherlock’s mouth. There was still a long length of silk on either side of the knot, so he wrapped it tightly around Sherlock’s head, tying it off at the back of his neck, making sure his hair wasn’t caught in the fabric. He stepped back and regarded Sherlock’s bound body with growing arousal.
God damn it all.
He slid the bedside table drawer open and retrieved the lubricant. Sherlock turned at the noise, and his eyes widened. He shook his head and made some inarticulate plea.
“Quiet,” Mycroft said. Sherlock moaned and squirmed away, trying to wriggle toward the end of the bed. Mycroft caught him by his arm and held him in place. Sherlock was strong, though, and made it halfway off the bed before Mycroft pulled him up short and dragged him back. “Hold still, damn you,” he hissed, and climbed on the bed, holding Sherlock down with the weight of his body, his prick hard against Sherlock’s arse.
Sherlock let out another stifled moan and struggled harder. He made another incomprehensible series of sounds, his voice climbing higher, growing more panicked.
Mycroft closed his eyes. More than once he had imagined that it would be better for both of them if Sherlock had been unwilling, that it would have broken their mad entanglement if once – even if only once – he had put up a fight, if he had protested. Now he felt Sherlock’s bucking body beneath his, and listened to his cries – who had he called for when they'd taken him, when they'd hurt him? – and the shame almost choked him. I wasn’t there for him. Christ, if only I’d reached him in time….
How badly he wanted this. Christ, what was the matter with him? With them both?
He slid off the bed, unbuttoned his trousers, then caught Sherlock’s hips and dragged him up so that Sherlock was kneeling, his bruised backside exposed. When Sherlock struggled, Mycroft struck him on the thigh. He fumbled for the lubricant and managed to slick it onto himself, then positioned himself at the edge of the bed, holding Sherlock’s hips tightly enough to cause more bruising. He shoved himself in slowly but without much finesse, burying himself deep. When Sherlock screamed, Mycroft reached forward awkwardly and clamped a hand over Sherlock’s mouth.
Sherlock writhed helplessly, then let out another muffled cry and slumped forward, panting. Mycroft let his mouth go and grasped his hips, plowing in, fucking Sherlock deeply, pushing his shivering body forward with every thrust. He heard Sherlock’s voice – Oh, Christ, he’s crying – and came, an exquisite and awful spasm that left him breathless and shaking.
It was long moments before Mycroft had the presence of mind to pull out and clean himself off with his handkerchief. Leaving Sherlock crumpled on the bed, he undressed quickly, folding his clothes over a chair. Only then did he sit on the bed beside his brother and unknot the rope around his cock and the silk at the back of his head.
“Don’t,” Sherlock said hoarsely. “Don’t untie me. Not yet.”
“Do you want to sleep?”
Sherlock nodded. He wriggled to one side of the bed – not the side with the wet spot, Mycroft noted wryly – and settled himself. Mycroft climbed into bed, turned the light out, and lay on his back, staring up at the ceiling. As time passed, he felt Sherlock’s body shifting closer to his until they were nestled together. When Mycroft put an arm round Sherlock’s body, he neither moved away nor protested.
“Is there…anything you’d like to tell me?”
He felt Sherlock’s body stiffen against his. “No,” Sherlock whispered.
“Very well.” Mycroft hesitated. “I’m sorry it took so long to find you.”
“It wasn’t your fault.”
Sherlock shivered. “I’m tired.”
“Sleep.” Mycroft stroked Sherlock’s hair and felt his body gradually, finally relax. After he was certain Sherlock was asleep, he crept out of bed, found a pair of shears, and gently cut his brother’s bonds for the second time in a week. He got back into bed and pulled Sherlock close, stroking his hair and his bare arm, smiling when Sherlock snuggled close, tucking his head beneath Mycroft’s chin.
In the morning, though, when Mycroft awoke, Sherlock had already gone.
“To what do I owe the pleasure?”
Sherlock unbuttoned his coat and flung it on a chair, then hurled himself onto Mycroft’s sofa. “What the hell are you talking about?”
Mycroft smiled thinly. “Sherlock, you are nowhere nearly as inscrutable as you believe yourself to be. So tell me – who or what has you in such a state of confusion? Not that woman, surely? I can’t imagine anyone so flagrant interesting you to the point that you’d actually come to me for relief.”
Sherlock glared at him. “Don’t flatter yourself.”
Mycroft lifted an eyebrow. “It is someone, then. Miss Hooper? No. Can’t be.”
“Oh, shut up, Mycroft.”
Mycroft bit his lip. “Sherlock, you are transparent. For God’s sake, why don’t you simply tell him? Do something about it before you self-destruct.”
“He’s not interested.”
“At the rate he acquires and discards his lady friends, I would venture to disagree.”
“What about you, brother dear? Any progress with the object of your passions?”
Mycroft’s smile dissolved. “He’s married.”
“Since when has that stopped you? Besides, she’s consistently unfaithful to him. I expect one telephone call from you could throw a spanner into her works.”
“True.” Mycroft shrugged. “But like Dr. Watson – or rather, as you’re deluding yourself into believing – he isn’t interested. We both seem to be at a crossroads.”
“Hence my presence here.” Sherlock stood and went to the stairs. “Are you joining me?”
Mycroft remained in his seat. “Don’t you think this has gone on long enough?”
Sherlock blinked. “What makes you say that?” A scowl crossed his face. “Are you about to deliver a sermon?”
“No.” Mycroft heaved himself to his feet. “No, I’m not. But Sherlock…this is the last time.”
“Are you serious?”
Sherlock’s face went blank; he looked startlingly young, and innocent. “All right,” he said softly.
That night, during a coupling that could only be described as tender, Sherlock kissed Mycroft on the mouth. Mycroft pulled back, startled. “You’ve never done that before.”
Sherlock rested his head on Mycroft’s shoulder. “Oh.”
For the first time, Mycroft felt a brief stab of jealousy. It wasn’t for me. But that was only fair. For more than two years, Mycroft had yearned for someone else, someone desirable and wholly unattainable.
He gathered Sherlock close, one last time.
The tube station was deserted and locked up, but that presented no difficulty for Mycroft. He unlocked the gate and strode calmly toward the figure standing in the shadows. “I knew it,” he said. “No, that’s not quite accurate. I hoped, but it was the faintest sort of hope. However did you manage it?”
“Long, dull story, mostly smoke and mirrors. Have you got the stuff I asked for?”
Mycroft handed Sherlock a bag. “Everything. New phone, new ID, weapons, money. Sherlock…is this really necessary?”
“I wouldn’t be doing it otherwise.”
Sherlock froze. He stared down at the ground. “What about him?”
“You’re not planning to tell him at all?”
“No. He’d only follow me.”
“How long are you planning to be gone?”
“However long it takes. I’ve got to go, Mycroft.”
“Sherlock…for what it’s worth, I’m sorry. I know I am at least partly to blame for all this.”
Sherlock sighed and shook his head. “It couldn’t be helped. Mycroft, look after him.”
“I will, to the best of my ability. And Sherlock, when you come back…tell him.”
“Tell him what?”
“You know what.”
Sherlock looked up, and in the dim, watery light of the station, an expression of purest pain contracted his features. He hefted the bag over his shoulder. “I have to go.”
Mycroft hesitated, then drew Sherlock into an embrace. He felt Sherlock stiffen, then melt against him, hugging him tightly. He kissed Sherlock’s cheek. “Good-bye, little brother.”
“Good-bye, Mycroft.” Sherlock brushed a kiss over Mycroft’s mouth, then turned and disappeared into the shadows.
Mycroft waited until Sherlock’s footsteps had died away, then took his leave, returning to the surface, to life in the city. He slid into the sleek black car and gave the driver an address.
The bell rang three times before it was answered. Greg Lestrade opened the door, unkempt and unshaven, with dark circles beneath his eyes.
Sherlock. What you’ve done to us all.
“Mycroft,” Greg said softly.
“I came to see how…how you were feeling.”
Greg tried to muster a smile and failed. “Like shit, actually.”
Mycroft stood on the doorstep, stiff and awkward and yearning with all his heart. “Is there anything I can do to help?” He almost fled at the expression of bafflement on Greg’s face. “Even if it’s just a friendly ear.”
Relief flowered across Greg’s face. He opened the door widely enough for Mycroft to step inside. “Come on in.”
Daring to hope for himself, for Greg, for John, and for Sherlock too, Mycroft crossed the threshold.