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St. John's on the Green School for Smart Boys Who are Really Dumb

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"Are you sure that's a wise idea?"

Mycroft shrugged one shoulder nonchalantly, although deep inside he wondered the same thing.

"On your head be it," murmured Lady Smallwood. She crossed her legs and blew out a long, thin stream of clove-scented smoke. Djarums, though when she had picked up that habit, he could only hazard a guess.

They stared at one another, her seated at the minimally upholstered chair by the floor-to-ceiling window, himself standing before her like a naughty schoolboy, his jacket unbuttoned and his hands in his trouser pockets. She was very cool towards him, though well did he know how much of a cat she was in private. Today she wore a very smart wool suit in white with the slightest hint of blush pink to it. Pumps dyed to match, one slim leather strap crossing each ankle to make it a Mary Jane style. The ensemble suited her, flattering her pale skin and somewhat lifeless hair. Oh, it was washed and conditioned and all of that, yet she could do with a rinse. A cut and color. Anything to lift the old, used straw-ness of it. He remembered when her hair had been honey blonde, the way it had tickled his shoulders, how cool it was between his fingers. Maybe she read his mind, for she lifted one eyebrow.

Mycroft cleared his throat, rocked back on his heels a little bit. "John is an exceedingly moral man. Apart from the times it suits him not to be."

"Ah," she exhaled. "Just your type."

"Hardly," he scoffed, looking at his shoes. One brown brogue had gotten scuffed at some point.

"I don't keep an eye on William, though he has crossed my desk more than once."

Mycroft sighed. "He goes by - "

"Sherlock, I know."

Mycroft sighed again. This room was exceedingly pleasant, what with the dark wood paneling and the red Turkey rug on the floor, the wide window overlooking a garden laid mostly to flowers right out of the Royal Chelsea Flower Show, and if he weren't here on such business, he would make overtures he suspected would not be turned down. Alas, he would have to continue on to a far more mundane exercise. "I'll send you the details as soon as I have them."

"See that you do, Mycroft. Otherwise I'll have to take matters into my own hands."

If only.

Unsurprisingly, Anthea was in the car when Carlos opened the door. She glanced up from her phone long enough to smile at him. At least she waited for him to settle in his seat before giving him the necessary updates.

Mycroft gave her the requisite instructions before dropping her off at the office. From there, a coffee at Teotihuacan which, despite its ridiculous name, was well worth the price of dealing with hipsters. So much facial hair, it was rather disturbing. Loins thus girded, he went to Baker Street to beg for crumbs for his supper.



"You're joking."

"I never jest," Mycroft answered, keeping both hands on the head of his umbrella, because honestly, the request was a simple one and undeserving of such approbation from a graduate of a mere comprehensive.

John was looking at him as if he were insane, and Mycroft explained his reasoning. Again. "You are the only one I can legitimately take, I'm afraid."


"By which you understand that your background makes you my consultant for the visit."

"All of MI5 at your merest whim and you have to take me?" John shook his head, bemused and clearly bewildered.

Maybe it was the chair. Mycroft had sat it in once and popped right up again. It was a disgustingly comfortable chair, suitable for someone in a bedsit, and god only knew how the fabric would make the wool of his suit pile. John looked at his ease in it, a mass market Lee Child paperback face down on one arm, a cup of tea half finished on the other, balanced carefully on a saucer that was littered with the crumbs of ginger nuts. What was more, John appeared to be completely unperturbed by Mycroft's presence. That was unusual. Unless...unless John was at his ease when Sherlock was elsewhere. Which was an intriguing little bit of psychology he would have to examine at a later date. Time to press the issue. "I'm asking you because you are available, and under Sherlock's tutelage may even - "

"Sherlock's tutelage?" John's face tightened. "Right, well, so long as I'm being trained by him, I might as well get some practice in, shall I?"

Mycroft said nothing. He watched John disappear up the stairs before turning to stand to one side of the window, looking out over Baker Street and watching the traffic go by. Alicia was right, he would have to keep his head around John at all times. Was it this, that Sherlock found so fascinating? John's ability to vehemently disagree with something while doing it at the same time? His comfort with...Mycroft found himself at a loss for words. No, John was a complete contradiction in all ways, from the very first time Mycroft had met him. A surgeon invalided out of war, a man who before Sherlock, bedded women with equanimity that was really quite extraordinary. Not the bedding part so much as with their response.

Before he had understood the futility of it, for a time Mycroft himself had been entranced with youth culture. Of course now he considered it the sordid past that with any luck, everyone would forget had ever happened. He shuddered delicately, envisioning that one evening in Berlin, the girl with the thigh high, bright yellow furry boots and how she wouldn't take 'no' for an answer. Admittedly, it had been an entertaining evening, and the physical release had been a welcome part of it. Popular music of the day over the loudspeakers, the floats moving slowly down the street, the unbelievably lightly dressed men and women come to celebrate love. Thank god neither his parents nor Sherlock had ever seen a picture, or, indeed, even knew what Mycroft had done. His little secret, much like Bertie's love child.



Founded in 1731, St. John's on the Green School for Boys sat amongst the gently rolling hills of West Oxfordshire, just bordering the Cotsolds. It was private, and very, very exclusive.

Mycroft had never questioned that he should be there, though the invitation to attend had been sudden and utterly unexpected. His parents had been outright incredulous; Mummy in the kitchen, staring at the letter with a creased forehead, while Father had puttered around with the tea tray, grinning in abstract delight.

"I don't understand," Mummy said, the red in her hair highlighted by the morning sunlight streaming through the window behind her. She picked up the envelope again and glanced at the return address. "How is this even possible?"

"They must have heard about Mycroft, dear. It's the only explanation," Father answered, pouring milk into one of the cups, followed by two spoonfuls of sugar and, of course, the tea. "either that or, well, I don't know."

"Is Mycroft going away now?"

Mycroft sneered in Sherlock's general direction. Sherlock was still in the pirate phase, wearing a cape tied around his neck, made from the Jolly Roger they had found in the attic months ago. "Never, little brother. I'll be here, watching over you until the end of time."

Sherlock, sliding on to the stool, scowled as he picked up his cup.

"Mycroft has been invited to attend St. Johns' Green School starting next term," said Mummy cheerfully. "Isn't that wonderful?"

"It is if he leaves me his telescope."

"Of course," Mycroft said haughtily. "I'll be able to use the one in the campus observatory."

He took it upon himself to ignore whatever Sherlock said, immediately, as Mummy released a long and irritated sigh.

Mycroft had been at boarding school for five years by that point, and the last thing he wanted to do was start on the lowest rung of the ladder all over again. Neither Mummy nor Father had listened to his complaints, preferring to send him to his fate with nary a word to be heard otherwise. In retrospect, it had done him a world of good in ways unanticipated, and frequently un-looked for. He had learned much, perhaps not quite in the way it had been intended. Certainly it had furthered the career he hadn't known he was going to enter in to. The old boys network indeed.

So, to be standing in the Director's office after all these years...well. It was...was there a single word to encapsulate the feeling?

"Of course," continued Westcott, who was a tall and thin man dressed in brown corduroy trousers and jacket, a wool vest in yellow ochre, a white shirt, and a brilliant red tie. "You're welcome to wander where you will. As an alum, Mr. Holmes, I think you'll find St. John's Green to be wonderfully improved."

"Undoubtedly," assured Mycroft.

"Dr. Watson, I'm sure your boys will find their needs well accommodated."

Before John had a chance to do more than open his mouth, Mycroft interceded. "I'm sure you'll appreciate Dr. Watson's military background more than most, Mr. Westcott."

Westcott perked up, looking at John with raised eyebrows. "Oh?"

Faithful John was in parade rest, unconsciously emphasizing Mycroft's point. "Dr. Watson saw action in Afghanistan, and I have it on good authority that it was only due to misfortune that he did not complete selection."

John's silent, incandescent rage was worth the expression on Westcott's face. Honestly, what did John expect? From the day they met, Mycroft had made it clear he knew everything there was to know about John Watson, and why John wouldn't think Mycroft would use that information to his advantage when necessary once again made Mycroft question his strategy.

"Thank you for your service..." Westcott said, halting mid-sentence to glance at Mycroft in confusion.

"Captain," Mycroft supplied smoothly.

"Captain Watson, an honour to -"

"It's doctor, please," John interrupted. "Captain only amongst the lads."

Westcott nodded. "Of course, of course. Well. Feel free to have a good wander, and please do come see me when you're through. Dinner will be served at six if you care to join us."

Mycroft had no intention of staying that long. While the food presumably had improved over the years, the idea of eating with children held little appeal.

The grounds, surrounded by patches of forest, were less extensive than they had been in the past. Mycroft well remembered days of wandering under leafy branches, now given over to a modern and particularly architecturally displeasing housing estate. A Sainsbury's sign loomed over a distant fence, and faint sounds of traffic only served to reiterate how time had passed. As long as it passed in the direction he favored, that was all right.



The library was silent, and the smell of old books made him briefly nostalgic. Ah, the many hours he had spent here -

"You must have spent a good few hours here," commented John, drifting over to one of the deep bays and flipping open a book left on the table. He followed the text down the page with one finger, then turned the cover over again. "Von Clausewitz. 'War is just the continuation of politics by other means'. He was a proper right bastard, wasn't he?"

"On War. I hadn't realised that was part of a soldier's education these days."

John sent him a mocking glance. "We can walk and chew gum at the same time, too. They train us well."

All right, Mycroft supposed he deserved that barb, dull as it was. Every battle was won before it was fought, indeed.

Mycroft strolled down the centre aisle, soaking in the quiet, the effortless joy of being surrounded by books, the way the light came in through the tall windows to illuminate this physical mind palace. He was aware of John behind him, equally contemplative. Pausing in front of the big picture window overlooking the green upon which the school was so eponymously named, Mycroft concluded that yes, he was…grateful…to have attended. Of course there were those moments which had been less than stellar, yet look where he was now. At that time he had had no direction beyond graduation and university. What had he planned on studying…history and politics, and for what end? To become a professor in Oxbridge? To…what? He shuddered at how boring his life could have been.

John bent over a little, peering at a book - no, at something on the actual shelf. He snorted and pulled a few books off, put them on the table. "I fucked Charmaine on this table," he solemnly announced.

"I very much doubt anyone named Charmaine has ever been on the ground of this school, never mind its library tables," Mycroft replied.

"Oh, you'd be surprised," John took a few more books into his hands. "I knew a girl who loved getting me off in the art room."

Mycroft turned and stared at the man, unable to keep his mouth from pulling down in disgust. John Watson had a certain reputation in the Armed Forces - all of them - and while his predilections had certainly slowed since his cashiering, by no means had they stopped.

"In fact, judging by the handwriting, Charmaine's had quite a good time on this table, too."

John returned the books to the shelf and rejoined Mycroft as he slowly strolled down the aisle. "What about you?"

"Pardon?" At John's upraised eyebrow, Mycroft sighed. "Honestly, John. Do you really think I would so debase myself? Good lord."

"Oh, I don't know. You Holmes boys get up to all sorts of nonsense when people can't see," said John, clearly amused by Mycroft's answer.

A challenge if ever he heard one, but Mycroft had not intention of rising to meet it.

The new gymnasium was next, and whoever had had the bright of idea of placing it next to the library, well, he had a few suggestions as to where they should build their next project, none of them pleasant. It sat in the landscape like some turtle long dead, the shell a white roof, the body in green with some sort of garish design in angular grey striping. Westcott had enthused about it being 'top of the line', designed by 'Birje, Burke, and Associates', whom Mycroft had never heard of, and was 'very environmentally friendly'. Mycroft was certain Westcott was only interested in showing off how much money had been given to build the gymnasium as well as how many entries they had made for architectural merit in whatever blah blah blah. The rush of information had been trivial and tiring. There were times when he just had to tune out the plebs.

John fondled a towel casually left hanging on a hook in the corridor. "All boys schools," he shook his head. "I don't know how people manage."

"The same as if they're going to all gender schools," answered Mycroft, quite proud of himself for having said 'all gender'. The modern age could be confusing, but if one just remembered to give generalities rather than specifics, few noticed the terminology.

"Yeah, but does that make copping off more or less difficult? I mean, doesn't everyone know what you're doing, and who you're doing it to?"


John rolled his eyes. "I'm just saying that if the stereotype of public schools runs true…"

"What, older boys telling younger boys what to do and how to do it?"


"I can neither confirm nor deny," Mycroft said, trying to tamp down his irritation and failing miserably. "People must assume the same thing about the Armed Forces. Close quarters, a mostly male environment. All the same urges and even less of a chance to release them."

"Nice try, but no."

Of course John then shut up. Curious, when he was so effusive about sex. It made Mycroft wonder if he was so open on the subject with Sherlock. He rather doubted it.

Having found nothing in the gymnasium apart from closets filled with equipment and cleaning supplies, they headed outside once more. They topped a small rise that used to be the hangout of the local toughs, smoking their cigarettes and watching the fancy boys at cricket and rugby, running and gymnastics. Mycroft used to look up at them from the playing field, shielding his eyes from the setting sun and wondering what they were thinking. They had looked like giants, then. Holders of secret, adult knowledge. Knowledge they were occasionally willing to pass on to those who were willing to take a risk. Thinking back on it, that must have been when he had begun to play his dangerous games. At first, of course, only to his own person, yet he had won more often than not, hadn't he? And if there were a few occasions where he found himself bruised and battered in secret places, that was only his business, right? He didn't pretend to himself that there were times when the attention was most welcome.

Turning around, the entirety of the school grounds lay before them. The ridge wasn't high, but the grounds dipped low here and there. The dormitories where he spent so little of his time, the classrooms, the library, the gymnasium next to it. The dining hall. The chapel.

"Did you like it here?" John asked quietly.

"As much as any place, really," Mycroft paused to consider how much he wanted John to know, then gave a mental shrug. It was, after all, years ago. "Private tutoring would have suited me best."


"But my father was determined to have me out of the house." Because between you and Sherlock, you're driving me spare! An unpleasant thing to hear, although in hindsight Father was being nothing other than honest. Mycroft would have driven himself spare at that age, too. And given Sherlock's precociousness, no wonder Father had decided enough was enough.

"We should look in the dorms."

"As you wish."

The dormitories, all three of them, were purpose built at the turn of the 18th century. Small rooms, wide halls, good light. They ignored two in favor of wandering in the dormitory where the fifth and sixth year boys stayed, where Bertie's other son lived in a suite with two other boys. Mycroft no longer recalled which room had been his, though the view looked vaguely familiar. In his mind, he tentatively rattled the handle of the memory suite he had blocked off years earlier. It was still locked, much to his relief.

"I can't believe they just leave the rooms open like this," murmured John, stepping into a room and peering around the door. "Do this where I grew up and you wouldn't have much left by mid-day."

Mycroft raised a questioning eyebrow at John's back. While John's childhood had been difficult, he had hardly grown up on the mean streets of Peckham.

"Is it true what they say about public school boys?"

Oh, good grief.

"Lots of buggery, was it?"

He couldn't help another moue of distaste. If only he could whack John across the backside with his umbrella, which sadly he had left in the office due to the good weather. "I won't even dignify that with an answer."

John chuckled and slid by him, uncomfortably close. "I bet these walls have seen things."

"I'm sure," said Mycroft, stepping back to watch John cross the hall, trying the next door. It opened easily in his hand. "Are you planning on checking each and every room?"

"Why not? Isn't that what I'm here for?"

Yes, that. "This is only an exercise, John. A fact-finding mission for - "

"Yeah okay, whatever."

"May I remind you that I did explain this at Baker Street?"

"Like I said, whatever," answered John, who having done his perusal of the empty room, closed the door behind him. He looked at Mycroft, his gaze penetrating Mycroft to the core and seeing...something. "You just wanted company while you were here, and Sherlock isn't to know."

He had no rejoinder to that, because it was the truth. Even Alice had seen through his thin ruse. Because while yes, he did have to come to St. John's personally to investigate Bertie's son and what he was doing with Etienne 'Cherry' Bonneville, he hadn't wanted Sherlock to come with him. What could have been worse, a meteor dropping on his head? Falling out a window onto a railing and being skewered on wrought iron? Meeting Her Majesty the Queen while naked? Stuffing himself with cake and not regretting a single crumb?

"It's all right, Mycroft. I won't tell," said John, adding a wink, just to annoy Mycroft even more.

The main lecture hall had been updated. The walls were still paneled, but someone without an ounce of sense had painted all of it magnolia. Yes, it did make the room brighter, if one's ultimate reason was to erase centuries of history. The old seating had been replaced by 'Scandi' style chairs with metal legs and brightly colored plastic upon which to sit. The black chalkboard was presumably behind a long white eraser board, which itself looking somewhat dingy under the buzzing fluorescent lighting John turned had on.

For a moment, they both stood there. Finally John sighed. "I take it back, what I said earlier. You really wanted someone to come with you to share the misery."

"Ding ding, John, ding ding," Mycroft said, walking to the lectern to make sure there were no papers lingering. Not that it mattered, they weren't here for anything that would be left by a teacher.

If he were really honest with himself, he had no idea why he had taken this on personally. He could have sent a minion to infiltrate the school, gotten a report by the usual ways and means. Bertie would never have known any better. The problem was that Mycroft would have known, and he would have felt guilt, which was an emotion he ruthlessly tried to ignore. Guilt had no purpose in government life.

He sighed.

"I got a blow job in a hall like this during a school exchange."

"Really? How gauche," Mycroft replied drily. Why on earth had he left the brolly at work? Why didn't he have a spare in the car? How else could he display his displeasure at the topic other than with appropriate tapping and the investigation of things with its spiky metal tip?

"There was this girl, Denise was her name, took a fancy to me through the course of the day," said John, clasping his hands behind his back. He swung into step beside Mycroft. "Competing choruses and bands, the prize of which I can no longer remember. Anyway, we were at St. George's for the next level of competition, and she was the one who was showing us around."

"Well, she certainly showed you."

"Mycroft!" John admonished, even though he was chuckling as he said it. "It was a terrible blow job. She shoved me into an empty lecture hall, just like that one, but nastier, pulled down my pants and went to town."

"Isn't that what boys your age dream of?"

"Yeah, boys who don't know any better. It isn't like the movies, y'know. Or maybe you don't..." John trailed off.

Mycroft was hardly going to detail his teenage sexual exploits, though the idea of shocking John 'Three Continents' Watson held immense appeal. He smiled thinly and continued down the corridor to what had been the computer lab, once filled with Sinclair ZX's. The glory days.

"My point is that it's always easier when you fancy the girl."

"And you didn't?"

John shrugged, pulled open the door, stood back to allow Mycroft in first. "She made a lot of sly comments to me under her breath, the kind that make you wonder if you're being insulted. Y'know, like you."

All right, this had gone on long enough. Mycroft was someone to be feared, not discussed, as if he were some celebrity in Hello! magazine. "Not all of us have your prowess, John."

"That's true."

Oh ho. "And how long did it take you to discover this little fact of life?"

John crossed his arms and tilted his head up to ponder the ceiling. "Hmm, let's see…there was Tina, she liked to be held down, and Gemma, who didn't. Comfort, whose parents were from the Windies and did not approve of some scruffy white boy dating their only daughter, but I suppose it was Anjali who did it for me."

"How daring," added Mycroft truthfully.

"Yeah, we were doomed from the start. But it was exciting, sneaking around, trying to find privacy. Her brothers would have beaten me to a pulp if Harry didn't do it first."

Now that was a surprise.

John saw Mycroft's face and twitched one shoulder ruefully. "It was different back then, and Harry hadn't come out, so I can't say she was a racist, she was just bitterly jealous of every girl I dated."

"Even the easy ones?"

"Especially the easy ones."

All of the computers were shut down for the day. No point in keeping them on while the boys were away.

Mycroft and John searched the rest of the building, finding nothing, before returning to the main classroom building. Mycroft opened a door to find it filled with classroom supplies and most surprisingly, a meter long length of cane. He picked it up and swished it in the air, the sound familiar in the air.

"Did they still have corporal punishment when you were here?" asked John, coming over to watch. He kept a respectful distance, though.

"Yes…" murmured Mycroft. Mr.Taylor had disliked him from the start. Mr. Taylor had made it his mission in life to bully Mycroft from the start and Mr. Gibson and Mr. Haverhill had followed his lead. There had been that day, that one day, in the room during lunch, when Mycroft had come back to fetch the book, what had that book been called? Not the Suetonius… Funny, how he couldn't remember the title or author. Little bits and pieces, just little bits and pieces, like the color of the leather, the warm, sweet smell of it, how it had felt underneath his fingertips, the way the dust in the binding had puffed out with each exhale he made.

"I was fifteen the last time I got caned - "

When it was done, Mycroft had run to the ridge, a sniffling ruin of a boy whose world had collapsed in ten long minutes. Half-blind from unshed tears, he hadn't seen the louts until he literally blundered in to one. Strange, how they had taken care of him. Commiserated, called the teachers bastards, asked him if he wanted them beaten up, revenge and all that.

" -right bastard, hated me from day one."

He had never assumed anything about anyone from that time forward. Oh yes, he had learned the lesson well, and years later, long after Haverhill overdosed on painkillers, Taylor had been stabbed to death while on holiday in Sharm el Sheik, and Gibson skidded off the road on a rainy night, Mycroft had drunk half a bottle of whisky in their memory and relegated them to the past. Or so he had thought.

"Knew a girl who loved the cane," said John, shaking his head. "It's not really my thing, though I did it well enough to suit her purposes. And, ultimately, mine. There's a lot to be said about begging in the bedroom."

The image of John standing behind a person of indeterminate gender, arm upraised to cane a bared arse abruptly came to mind, leaving Mycroft blinking. How…odd.

As they passed through the teacher's lounge, Mycroft caught a glimpse of himself as reflected in the floor to ceiling window. The light was just so, and thus it was that he discovered, to his utter horror, that he was terribly, dreadfully, visibly aroused.

His first inclination was of course to hide the evidence, but without umbrella or long coat, the effort was doomed before it even began. Thankfully John appeared oblivious (as he was with so much), giving Mycroft the opportunity to unsubtly readjust. Alas, as soon as he touched the placket of his trousers, he knew it was a mistake; he was going to have to take care of his little problem in private. "Excuse me," he said, putting his back to John in order to head for the toilet around the corner of the coffee station. "I won't be a moment."

He knew his face was burning and he was inordinately grateful for the semi-private room. Unfortunately there were two stalls instead of a single toilet, and an unlockable door into the room, but it was better than nothing.

Fingers at his belt before the door had even closed behind him, he realized he was in danger of ruining his trousers if he didn't come right now!

Mycroft fell back against the door, hastily shoving his trousers down and hauling himself out of his pants, stroking hard and rough. His breath gusted out at his own touch, hips rocking up and back again. The door rattled a bit against the jamb and he tried stop himself from thrusting, but to no avail. He needed something to lean on - cracking his eyes open, he saw the sink - god, yes. He staggered over, hobbled by his trousers around his upper thighs, to lean on the sink with one hand. Glimpsing himself in the mirror, he was astounded by his own expression; red-cheeked, sweating, mouth agape as pleasure ramped up his prick.

"I think I found something."

John's voice was muffled, but fear spiked through Mycroft - what if John opened the door? A microsecond later Mycroft swept his fingers over the head of his cock and yes, well, he'd give John the show he was going to keep to himself, wasn't he? He'd stand there proud, unapologetic, a man in the prime of health doing what men did whenever and wherever they chose. Mycroft could just see it; John coming in and staring, then falling to his knees to watch up close, taking the plump head into his mouth because it was so irresistible, John had to have it, John had to suck Mycroft down, Mycroft had to mark him where Sherlock couldn't see -

He couldn't help the whimper that escaped as he came, missing the first spurt but catching the rest in his hand. He slumped on one elbow against the sink, taking just a moment to revel in what he had done. The mess in his hand, though, that was unacceptable in a public space. Tucking himself was difficult, for whatever reason he wasn' quickly as usual. No matter, the crisis was over, he could relax.

Mycroft washed his hands, made sure his hair was un-mussed. The flush on his face was still visible, but there was nothing he could do about that, not unless he chose to pat cold water on his skin, and he couldn't do that without getting his vest or jacket damp. Best leave it as it was, then, and hope John wouldn't notice. After one last look in the mirror to make sure everything was in its place, Mycroft left the bathroom.

John glanced over his shoulder at Mycroft, his sharp gaze lingering in a way Mycroft found…exciting, then returned to shuffling through a stack of buff colored file folders. "Looks like your friends son is mixed up in some nasty business. This Bonneville character's either writing a truly shitty novel or is terrible at secret codes."

"Could be either," replied Mycroft, slowly approaching the table. He removed a pen from his pocket and used it open the top folder. The top paper was a spreadsheet and timetable, to which was attached an A7 sized sheet of lined paper with a few names handwritten on it.

"He must think everyone's an idiot."

Mycroft sniffed. "Most people are."

John checked a few more papers, shook his head. "I think that's it."

"It's more than enough," said Mycroft. Oh yes, 'Cherry' Bonneville was going to get burned, and perhaps unfairly, Mycroft was happy to be the holder of the match.



The ride to London was quiet apart from the occasional buzz of John's mobile phone. He sent texts and smiled to himself and was otherwise quiet, which suited Mycroft just fine. He was content to read through Bonneville's ridiculous code, committing the pertinent details to memory before putting the files in his briefcase. Closing his eyes, he meditated until the car slowed and turned the corner onto Baker Street. When the car stopped he pasted a pleasant expression on his face and nodded at John. "Thank you for you company, John. You made the trip into my past bearable."

"Yeah, no worries," said John, opening the door before the driver had a chance to do it for him. He got out of the car, started closing the door, then leaned down and said, "By the way, there's a little something on your shirt."

As Mycroft glanced down, John shut the door without another word. There, just about the v-line of his waistcoat, an splotch of what could only be semen. Hideously embarrassed, he sank back into the seat, covering his eyes as if to deny all knowledge of what he had done. What John knew he had done. He wouldn't be able to meet the man's eyes for days, weeks, months, even.

There was only one thing for it; He would have to tell Alicia. She wouldn't be pleased. She would be forced to discipline him for his rudeness. He shifted uncomfortably on the seat, then reached down to his crotch, to, for the second time in the day, readjust. A moment later he pulled his waistcoat down to straighten the fabric, then pressed the intercom button. "Smallwood House, Carlos."

She needed to know immediately, and there was no time like the present.