'A place has been arranged for you to stay,' Lady Smallwood said as she hurried Mycroft along the corridor, 'I don't know the details, I only know some, the others know some....it was safer if no one knew everything.'
'Not considered at risk, his current mission is still officially a secret but we have agents watching him.'
'Can they be trusted.'
'One of them is me.' Lady Smallwood paused and looked at the man beside her, waiting for the challenge, but Mycroft just nodded.
'Officially she's in Brussells. But actually she's on her way to Gdansk to meet with her brother and from there...I'm not sure. She's under orders to update as and when she can through the secure network.'
Mycroft nodded. The forced secrecy was annoying at times, but necessary.
'And I'm to remain in London?'
Lady Smallwood nodded and gave him a half apologetic smile, 'You are more necessary close by, and have the advantage that not many people know what you actually look like, so you may, MAY, be able to keep an eye on the situation as it unfolds without attracting suspicion.'
She pushed open the door and indicated the car that was waiting for them.
'I will need to stop and-'
'Mycroft, I don't think you understand, you can't go home. Officially your property and accounts have all been frozen.'
'So I have...'
'You have what you are wearing right now,' Lady Smallwood said apologetically and reached into her bag to retrieve her own purse. She handed Mycroft a fistful of notes, 'I'm so sorry. Hopefully we can sort this quickly, but right now your safety is the main priority.'
'Where am I going?'
'I don't know. The car will take you to the station and then you will be given instructions from there.' She paused and then leaned forward and kissed the cheek of the still in shock man, 'I'll see you soon, Mycroft.'
Mycroft nodded dumbly and then drew himself up to his full height, straightened his shoulders and walked to the car.
One car ride, five tube trains where he was certain he double backed on himself at least once, and then he was climbing the steps to the street when a passer by thrust a piece of paper in his hand with a car registration on it. They were gone before Mycroft could register their appearance fully, but they looked very much like they were more a part of Sherlock's network than Lady Smallwood's.
He walked along the street, looking at the parked cars and then stopped when he saw the registration he was looking for. An old Escort, grey and dented and completely nondescript.
And then he froze.
Standing beside the car was the person who was going to be his only contact with the outside world, his...handler. The one person that the entire government, MI5 and MI6 thought would be suitable or able to help him and hide him.
Mycroft nodded, 'Detective Inspector.'
'It's nothing special, but the sofa pulls out into a bed and I've gathered some clothes that should fit into the hamper in the corner. Obviously help yourself to anything you need, we probably can't afford any weird dietary things but so long as you like beans on toast and fried eggs then it should be fine. I've ordered a second bank card but it will take about a week to get here, until then you can use mine or the money in the tin above the microwave.,' Greg bent down and scooped up two remotes that he presented to Mycroft, 'This one turns on the TV and this one,' he held up the second, 'Turns on the spider box.'
Greg flushed slightly, 'It's a bit like Sky but cheap and questionably legal.'
'Bathroom is through there, towels are in the hotpress opposite and.....what happened?'
'Why are you here?'
Mycroft unbuttoned his jacket and sighed, 'There is an ongoing incident at work.'
'The work that you don't talk about?'
'So rogue agents, money laundering, corruption, sex, lies, video tape.....' Mycroft pulled a face and Greg nodded at the reference, 'The investigation means I am a person of interest.'
'But you have to be in hiding?'
Mycroft nodded, 'One needs to be alive in order to give evidence.'
There was silence in the small flat for a moment as Greg processed what the politician was telling him.
'Are we safe? Here, I mean.'
'They wouldn't have sent me here if they didn't-'
'That's not what I asked.'
Mycroft took a deep breath and then shrugged, 'I believe we are safe, Detective Inspector.'
The policeman walked across his tiny flat and opened a cupboard to pour a large measure of cheap scotch into two Ikea mugs. He passed one of those to Mycroft who didn't seem to know what to make of it.
'You should probably call me Greg.'
a break but not forgotten
Mycroft stared up at the unfamiliar ceiling. The street lights casting vulgar yellow and orange shadows across his uncomfortable bed.
Three thirty and the door to Gregory's room opened and the policeman staggered out.
'O...oh shit.....sorry....' he pulled his shoes on, 'It's work, you know....look, sleep in my room instead of here.'
'No, seriously, please. Plus it means I won't wake you up at stupid o clock when i get back.'
Mycroft bit his lip as he watched Gregory pull on his coat and locate his wallet. And then the flat was silent once more. He rose from his uncomfortable bed and made his way to the kitchen area, pouring himself a glass of water, and then he walked through the flat once more, stopping in the door way to Gregory's bedroom.
The bed, a small double, was pushed into the corner of the small room, the sheet rumpled but orderly. Mycroft stepped into the room and was hit by the scent of the other man. Deep and sweet and part of everything in the room. He picked up a t shirt from the bed, one Gregory had obviously been sleeping in, and lifted it to inhale the scent.
Mycroft closed his eyes.
The whole room. Every part of it. It was all Gregory Lestrade. The plain and functional bed sheets, the neatly folded work shirts and the stacked paperwork with the bright page markers.
And the bed...
Small to share with another. Not a bed to bring a partner home too. But large enough to spread out. Four large pillows and a thick quilt in place of blankets. On closer inspection Mycroft realised it was handmade. He ran his hand down the edge, admiring the stitching, and then he lifted a pillow, pulling it close to his face, in haling the scent of the policeman,
He lay down on the very edge of the bed, holding the pillow close, the scent of Gregory surrounding him.
'Sorry, I didn't want to wake you....'
Mycroft bit his lip and looked across the darkness at Gregory Lestrade, who was now cold and uncomfortable in bed beside him.
'I'll go back to the sofa-' Mycroft began, already reaching for his glasses, but Greg caught his wrist.
'It's alright. I wasn't supposed to be here, and it's cold, so....'
'So if you don't mind sharing then we can both stay warm.'
'That was a bit of a delay.'
'Well I dont usually have attractive men offering their bed to me.'
'So I'm an attractive man?' Gregory wriggled deeper under the covers.
Mycroft sighed and rolled over, his back to the police man, 'You'll do.'
For the record, and for those who didn't get the reference, one of my cats is actually called Carlos Sweet Carlos because i listen to too much welcome to nightvale.
Lestrade woke to the sounds of someone moving about in his flat. He already reached for his gun when he realised the space in bed beside him was empty. He moved across the bedroom and towards the kitchen where he found Mycroft stirring his coffee.
'Mycroft!' Greg relaxed and lowered his gun.
'I...I was just making coffee.'
'I thought someone had broken in.'
'I thought that earlier when I discovered you owned a cat.'
'So you met Carlos?'
Mycroft pulled a face and sipped his coffee, 'Sweet Carlos.'
'I have a lot of down time,' Mycroft smirked, and Greg found himself biting his lip.
'Fair enough. Is there any more of that coffee?'
'Yes, there is plenty in the jar,' Mycroft stepped aside, 'It's rather good.'
'I thought you would be used to drinking hand picked coffee beans wrapped in gold leaf.'
Mycroft didn't respond, and when Greg turned to look at him the politician was staring down into his cup.
'Hey, I'm sorry,' Greg said, 'That was an arsey thing to-'
'It's fine.' Mycroft cut across him, 'I hear it alot.'
'I'm not surprised.'
The silence that followed Greg's statement seemed to last too long.
'I...I mean,' Greg started, not quite looking at Mycroft, 'You seem like someone who's used to nice things. And I'm sure when you were a kid there were, well, kids like me who took the piss and....you're just...you're elegant.'
'Yeah. Everything about you is just....you could never pass for a builder or an insurance salesman, You're too smart, and it shows, in like, everything you do and say. I mean, I wouldn't take you out on the piss, but I'd take you home to meet my Nan.'
'Gloria or Constance?'
Greg burst out laughing and then shook his head, 'If you have researched me enough to know what my grandmothers are called then you KNOW that I would never inflict Gloria on you.'
'Constance does seem to be the more welcoming of your elder kin.'
Greg looked Mycroft up and down and smirked, 'She's a feeder, so be warned.'
'She'll double your body weight in a weekend, trust me.'
'In fact I think I call her, she's love to meet you, and as long as we're gonna be stuck doing this...' Greg waved his hand, 'Then we should make it as easy as possible, right?'
Mycroft nodded, 'Right.'
Greg stepped around Mycroft and opened the cupboard, 'So, Rice Krispies or Alpen?'
Greg had initially intended to spend the day helping Mycroft settle in, take him to get some new clothes, show him around the local neighbourhood, do a quick trip to Tesco and maybe a pub lunch.
'How come you are allowed to stay loose in London?'
'One of the benefits of a solitary lifestyle and a secretive job.'
'That sounds pretty depressing.'
'It has it's moments.' Mycroft reflected as he sipped his coffee.
'Well, the powers that be reckon that you should be safe enough, apparently no one will be looking for you here.'
'Certainly no one would think to look for me in an area such as this.' Mycroft agreed.
Greg raised his eyebrows, 'Trying very hard not to be offended by that, Mycroft.'
'Statement of fact does not require an apology.'
'Yeah, that attitude runs in your family doesn't it?'
Mycroft didn't respond but continued to quietly drink his coffee.
'Look, since we're on the topic, and I'm not saying I agree with you, this place isn't that bad all things considered, no, don't look at me like that, but even so, you probably shouldn't be calling yourself Mycroft around here.'
'Whyever not? It's my name.'
'And exactly how many Mycroft's do you reckon live in this street?'
Mycroft pursed his lips and frowned, 'Point taken.'
'You got a middle name or anything we could use instead?'
Greg stared at Mycroft for a moment, not sure if the man was making a joke or not. But from Mycroft's deadpan expression it was clear that this was not a moment he should laugh.
'Yeah, right, so we're not using that. What about Myc?'
The look that Mycroft gave him indicated that uttering that suggestion again would result in severe injury. But then he sighed and shruged.
'Fine. But only for the duration and only when absolutely necessary to address me as such.'
'Like in public, yeah. Fine. Mr Holmes.' Greg added pointedly.
Mycroft's glare could have cut rock.
Mycroft looked at the exterior of the shop with horror.
'Now I understand why you dress the way you do.'
'Well we can't all afford to shop on Saville Row.'
Mycroft looked genuinely surprised at this, 'You're saying this,' he waved his hand at Greg's jeans and threadbare jumper, 'Is not an intentional fashion choice?'
'Look, this is the best I can do on the budget we have.' And Greg marched Mycroft into the shop.
It was a trying hour for both of them as Mycroft refused to even touch many of the items of clothes Greg held out towards him, taking particular issue with the concept of jeans.
'I have never worn jeans,' he spat the word, 'In my life.'
'Well, time to try new things.'
'I prefer the corduroy,' Mycroft sniffed.
'Fine, but you'll look like John.'
Mycroft snatched the jeans out of Greg's hands and stormed off towards the changing rooms while Greg allowed himself a small smirk of victory.
They didn't make it to either Tesco or the pub because Greg got called into work.
'Ah come on, sir, I was called in last night. I'm supposed to be on leave this week.'
'Needs must, Lestrade. Get your arse down here in the next half and hour or hand in your resignation.'
Greg hung up, muttering obscenities under his breath, and then he turned to Mycroft who looked surprisingly worried.
'I'm sorry, Myc,' he said, surprised at how easily the new nickname rolled off his tongue, 'I have to go in.'
Mycroft nodded, 'The nature of the job.'
'Yeah,' Greg pulled out his wallet and handed Mycroft a fistfull of notes, 'Look, get a cab back, don't be walking on your own. And order something for dinner, unless you feel like frozen pizza or potato waffles.'
Mycroft pulled a look of utter disgust, 'You eat like a student.'
'Bet that's not what you ate when you were a student.'
'I wasn't including myself with the general rabble,' came the response, but Mycroft took the offered notes and allowed Greg to hail him a cab.
Alone in the strange flat Mycroft tried to find something to occupy his mind. He spent a few moments familiarising himself with the cheap pay as you phone they had purchased for his use earlier, and then he carefully hung up the new clothes in the space Gregory had cleared for him in the wardrobe, shooting the dreaded jeans a fithly look as he closed the door.
Then he browsed Gregory's meagre book collection, filling an hour reading before he became restless again and started to rearrange the books in a more aesthetically pleasing manner, and then found himself working his way around the flat, rearranging and tidying things as he went. Minor changes, but making them made him feel as if he had some sort of control of the space around him and less like the world was closing in around him.
He briefly wondered if Gregory would think he was overstepping boundaries, but he doubted Gregory would actually notice when all was said and done.
Gregory called at nine to say he was going to be late.
'God knows what time I'll get away, be lucky to get back before morning to be honest. So you go on ahead and use my room if you want. I'll take the sofa so I don't disturb you again.'
'I can't oust you from your own bed.'
'It's fine. I've spent many nights sleeping on that sofa,' Gregory said not completely able to disguise the slight bitterness in his voice, 'My back will be more used to it than yours.'
And so that was how Mycroft found himself back in Gregory's bedroom, once again staring down at that quilt, which he had learned was wonderfully comfortable. It was the sort of quilt a French grandmother might lovingly make as a wedding gift for her only grandson. Gregory had lost the wife but kept the quilt.
Mycroft ran his hand down the edge, admiring the stitching, and then he lifted a pillow, pulling it close to his face, in haling the scent of the policeman, desperate for something, anything, that was in any way at all familiar. What he really wanted was to be in the lamplit sanctuary of his study, filled with the rich scent of old books and good scotch. But he was surrounded by unfamiliar things, even the night clothes he was wearing were not his own.
So he clung to the one and only anchor he currently had and lay down on the very edge of the still warm bed, holding the pillow close, the scent of Gregory surrounding him.
'Sorry, I didn't want to wake you again....'
Mycroft bit his lip and looked across the dark room at Gregory Lestrade, who was retrieving spare blankets from the top of the wardrobe.
'I'll go back to the sofa-' Mycroft began, already reaching for his glasses, but Greg caught his wrist.
'It's alright. I wasn't supposed to be here, and to be honest, if things are so bad that you're here, then you definitely need the sleep more than I do.'
Gregory was halfway out the door when Mycroft spoke again.
'I trust your call out was resolved satisfactorily?'
'Well, the case was pretty straightforward and Sherlock didn't make anyone cry, so all in all it was alright, yeah.'
'Is...is Sherlock well?'
'He's Sherlock,' Gregory shrugged, 'Will he be worried about you disapearing like that?'
Mycroft shook his head, 'Sherlock takes very little notice of my activities, and in fact will probably get a thrill out of the possibility I may have been kidnapped.'
'Yeah, that sounds like the little wanker.' Gregory took a breath and seemed unsure if he should carry on speaking, 'Won't there be anyone at home that will be worried? Like your wife?'
Mycroft laughed, 'Wives aren't really my thing.'
Another headshake, 'Why do you assume I'm married?'
'You wear a wedding ring.'
'On my right hand.'
Gregory shrugged, 'I'm French, that's normal where I come from. I always thought it was a bit weird that my ex insisted I wear mine on my left hand. But then she always was a controlling and possessive bitch, which was ironic really as she shagging half of London.'
Mycroft was slight more adept at reading social situations than his brother, and he sensed that he should say something to lighten the mood slightly.
'When I return to my post after this is over, would you like me to have her deported?'
Gregory laughed out loud, which was a pleasing sound in itself, but more so because Mycroft had successfully caused it, which was a new and novel experience for him.
'I think it's those sort of offers that have landed you in this mess to begin with,' Gregory said.
'I couldn't possibly say,' Mycroft replied, and was rewarded with another laugh, shorter and softer this time.
'Alright Holmes, I'm going to get some sleep before I start getting hysterical calls from my officers about your brother. Have sweet dreams of world domination.'
And then the door was closed and Mycroft was left alone in the strange bedroom, but this time very slightly better about his situation.
It had been a rather innocuous request, at least Greg had thought so when he handed Mycroft his card that morning and asked if he could get some groceries while Greg was at work.
'We don't need a lot, just stuff like bread, milk, some eggs...have a look in the cupboards and see, and if there's anything you fancy. Oh,' Greg had paused on his way out the door, 'Maybe some wine for dinner? You choose, I don't think you would like the shite I usually drink.'
Now, standing in the kitchen, Greg realised his error.
Mycroft had initially been, well, a bit snotty about it. But now he seemed to realised that Greg's horror was not an exaggeration and he was starting to look a bit more apprehensive.
'Okay,' Greg said very slowly, 'Tell me EXACTLY what happened?'
'I went to that shop you suggested-'
Mycroft nodded, 'But there were so many....people there,' there was something about the way that Mycroft said that, as if he was trying so very hard to maintain his usual disdain, but there was something else underneath it, something that Greg had glimpsed once or twice in the past, but was starting to realise went a lot deeper, Mycroft, he realised now, wasn't the confident iceman he had always assumed.
'So I did not enter. One doesn't mingle with the public.'
Greg rubbed the back of his neck and sighed in frustration, 'See, you had my sympathy right up until you said that.'
'Are you saying you enjoy going to those...places?'
'No. Nobody likes going to Tesco.'
At the triumphant look on Mycroft's face Greg realised his mistake.
'Alright, alright,' he conceded, 'I know it's not fun. Probably a bit overwhelming for someone like you so-'
'Someone like me?' Mycroft hissed, his eyes flashing in challenge.
Oh, Greg thought, ignoring the sudden thump in his chest and concentrating instead on Mycroft's reaction, that was interesting. Mycroft didn't like it when he was considered to be...lesser.
'Someone not used to doing their own shopping,' Greg finished lamely.
Mycroft didn't respond, but there was a minute shift in his posture which Greg recognised as Mycroft shifting from high alert to at ease. It was still, he had to admit, intimidating, and would definitely scare someone not used to dealing with him, something Greg had used to his advantage over the years when a new recruit got a bit too cocky. An afternoon reporting on Sherlock to Mycroft was usually enough to scare the shit out of whoever was annoying Greg that week.
'So you came back here?' Greg prompted.
Mycroft nodded, well, he inclined his head a few milimetres which was close enough to a nod.
'And did an online shop?'
This nod was more pronounced, but the expression on Mycroft's face was a warning one. In truth Greg was quite impressed that Mycroft had worked out online shopping. Nuclear missile codes, strategic battle plans, multi-platform survelliance yes, but ordering baked beans and bread online? Well...everyone had their weaknesses.
But it turned out that Mycroft HAD figured it out, and performed the task and the results had just arrived and were still sitting in their bags on the table. Organic jute bags. Organic jute bags from one of those boutique food markets (because God forbid anyone refer to them as a supermarket) in central London which were entirely populated by middle class housewives intent on blowing their husbands yearly bonus on organic hand-picked samphire, truffle oil and hand-kneaded artisan bread that costs £24 a loaf.
He looked at the four small bags before he closed his eyes and braced himself.
'And how much...actually, no, don't say it out loud, just show me.'
Mycroft handed him the reciept and Greg glanced down it, his heart sinking and a cold feeling creeping over him.
'Holy FUCK!' he breathed as he read the total, and then, 'At least you bought wine.'
£258 worth of wine.
Mycroft brightened slightly, 'Yes, personally I'm not partial to cabernet sauvignon, but it was a rather good year and I thought it would go best with the roast beef...Gregory?'
Greg blinked at the bottle, the SINGLE bottle of wine that Mycroft produced from one of the bags.
'One bottle? You spent two hundred and fifty eight fucking quid on one bottle of wine?'
Mycroft frowned slightly as if he didn't see the issue. Which, Greg realised, he probably didn't. Never before had he been so aware that he came from a completely different world to the Holmes men. Mycroft had probably never spent a fortnight eating super noodles and toast because that was all he could afford with the £10 left until payday, or sent a silent prayer before he handed over his credit card that it wouldn't be declined. Mycroft probably didn't even know how much money was in his own bank account, secure in the knowledge that it was never going to be something he had to worry about. Greg, on the other hand, was now worrying how they were going to cope financially now that Mycroft had blown a months food budget on one bottle of wine. And that was before he even thought about how far into his overdraft the rest of Mycroft's grocery shop had sent him. He just hoped Mycroft liked baked beans, because that was what they were probably going to be eating for the rest of the month.
'You know that Tesco deliver too?' he said slowly, careful to keep his voice level.
Mycroft blinked again and opened his mouth, looking genuinely surprised, 'I...no, I...I didn't know that.'
It must have been something to do with being incredibly intelligent that meant simple things were somehow beyond the grasp of people like Mycroft and Sherlock. He'd seen Sherlock do long division in his head in seconds and learn a new language in a matter of hours, but the washing machine was beyond him. It seemed that Mycroft suffered from a similar impediment. The price of genius it seemed.
Greg sighed. That had better be REALLY good wine.
Mycroft might have had exquisite taste in food and wine, but he was woeful when it came to actually preparing anything more complex than toast. He had purchased a variety of things he apparently considered 'staples' which, on inspection, wasn't anywhere close to amounting to an actual meal and resulted in a dinner consisting of a dish of pickled walnuts, capers and the most expensive roast beef sandwich in London. The fact that his sandwich cost more than his monthly phone bill was made more palatable by the wine.
'This is the nicest wine I have ever had!' Greg enthused as he took a sip from his glass, 'I'll hand it to you, Myc, you've good taste.'
Mycroft, who had been taking tiny bites of his own sandwich looked slightly pleased as if he was unused to someone paying him a compliment, even over something as insignificant as wine choice. And perhaps it was the wine talking, but Greg found himself slightly emboldened and he carried on.
'And not just in wine, although I bet you have a wine cellar and your own vineyard too.'
'No vineyard,' Mycroft said, with a slight smirk that confirmed he did indeed have a wine cellar, and knowing the taste for extravagance that the Holmes siblings shared, it was sure to be an impressive one. Then Mycroft's expression saddened briefly, and if Greg hadn't been looking at him he would have missed the slight shift.
'And then there's your clothes,' he went on, trying to keep the conversation more pleasant again.
'What's wrong with my clothes?' Mycroft bristled slightly.
'Nothing. They're brilliant. You should look like a total prick in those three piece suits, but they suit you.'
'Are you calling me a-'
'No! No!' Greg cut him off, laughing, 'I'm saying that they suit you. Don't know anyone else who could dress like that and not look like they were about to get married, but you look....I dunno....you even have the umbrella! All you need is the bowler hat.'
Mycroft's mouth twisted in disgust, 'How very middle class!'
Greg laughed again and leaned over to top up their glasses, 'Only you could make that sound like a bad thing.'
When there was no response Greg lifted his gaze and looked up at Mycroft who looked as if he was considering Greg's statement.
'Oh my god,' he said grinning in revelation, 'You bloody snob!'
'I...I don't think that...'
'When I was a kid we'd have killed to be middle class.'
'That would rather have defeated the purpose of social climbing.'
'True,' Greg conceded, 'Was always a bit jealous of my mates who didn't have to share bedrooms with two of their brothers. We never had a car either, couldn't afford one. I bust my balls working two after school jobs to save for a motorbike. Was the shittiest thing you'd ever seen, total death trap held together with hope and not much else, but it was mine. Didn't get a car until I was nearly thirty.'
Greg allowed himself a few seconds of nostalgia for that time in his life, and then he blinked self conciously.
'I suppose your first car was a vintage Bentley or something.'
Mycroft dropped his gaze to his glass.
'I don't drive.'
'Well I wouldn't drive either if I had a driver too. But you must have driven at some stage. What did you learn to drive in?' he just about bit back a quip about Grandad's Rolls Royce, getting a sudden feeling that Mycroft wouldn't appreciate it.
Greg leaned back in his seat to take in that minor revelation.
'You never learned to drive?'
Mycroft shook his head and pressed his lips together for a second before answering.
'Wow,' Greg breathed, and he took a long sip of his wine and then, emboldened by the wine, 'Do you want to?'
The doctors changed one of my heart meds and it's made me a little....giddy. I apologize for nothing that follows :)
Mycroft's exceptional wine was followed by Greg's terrible scotch and then Greg sighed sadly, 'I do believe we have run out of alcohol.'
Greg opened his mouth in mock horror, 'Mycroft Holmes what would your mother say if she heard you using language like that?'
'She'd probably ask me what Sherlock had done this time,' Mycroft responded with a smirk.
Greg found himself grinning back, 'You're a lot funnier than you like people to think.'
'I...I'm not sure how to take that.'
'Take it anyway you like,' Greg responded and somewhere in the back of his alcohol infused mind he realised he was flirting with Mycroft. Which was a bad idea. A very bad idea and he'd regret it tomorrow. Probably. Maybe.
'Sherry!' he shouted suddenly, starting both himself and Mycroft.
Greg was on his feet and digging in the back of the kitchen cupboard behind a wall of baked beans that had most definitely passed their use by date and then he unearthed the bottle of sherry given as a gift one Christmas and forgotten about. Mycroft smiled and applauded mockingly.
'Don't be a dick,' Greg said as he tried and failed to open the bottle, 'You know, I've never had sherry before.'
'You are a little young to start drinking it now.'
'I'm fifty four.'
'How do you- what am I asking. You know everything. Bet you know how I lost my virginity too.'
'That information is not currently in the files I hold on you, but I understand now the shocking lack of information and I will ensure it's remedied immediately.'
'You do that and - here, hang on - you have files on me?'
Mycroft took the bottle from Greg and opened it easily, 'I have files on everyone of interest.'
Mycroft gave him a look then that Greg had a hard time deciphering, it was as if Mycroft was trying to work out if Greg was making a joke or not. He handed Greg back the bottle and retrieved their glasses.
'How do we drink this?' Greg asked, sniffing at the bottle.
'Not usually from tumblers,' was Mycroft's response.
'Most guests just get a mug.'
Mycroft actually rolled his eyes at that one.
Half an hour later and Greg was smiling down into his glass, 'You know, I think I like sherry. I have the feeling we could become great friends, sherry and me.'
'Christ, I'm living with an old man.'
'Is that an offer, Detective Inspector?'
And then Greg really was stunned into silence, which seemed to amuse Mycroft no end. While he sat there trying to come up with a witty response, Mycroft took himself outside for a cigarette. When the door closed behind him Greg let out a breathe he hadn't been aware he was holding, and set his glass back on the table. This was definitely crossing into territory they probably shouldn't. Although given that he'd already shared a bed with the man, however innocently, he could really see what it would look like to an outsider. Greg stood slowly and headed for the bathroom, this was probably a train of thought he should examine when sober, but for now a how shower and some sleep was probably more advisable.
The water was warm and Greg allowed himself a long moment standing under it, eyes closed, enjoying the sensation. He was just reaching for the soap when the bathroom door opened.
'Oh, apologies,' Mycroft made to back out again.
And then stopped.
Greg found that he couldn't tear his eyes away from Mycroft and he was well aware of his own nudity, but had absolutely no desire to cover himself. Instead he watched as Mycroft's eyes ran down the length of his body and he liked the look of appreciation he saw there. When Mycroft's gaze reached Greg's face again, there was a painfully long moment where Greg waited for Mycroft to leave.
And then Mycroft stepped forward.
He never broke eye contact as he unbuttoned his shirt and then his trousers, stepping out of them. No underwear, Greg noticed and he couldn't contain his smile. Who would have imagined Mycroft Holmes went commando? Still staring at Mycroft, Greg slid open the shower door, it was as clear an invitation as he could have given, but even so his heart was racing as Mycroft stepped in beside him.
He leaned in close against Greg until Greg could feel Mycroft's breath on his neck, and then very softly, he ran one long hand up Greg's side, fingertips ghosting against the skin. Greg couldn't bring himself to care about the strangled whine that broke from his own throat, all he could bring himself to care about was the feel of Mycroft against him, and when Mycroft's cool hand closed around Greg's length, it felt like they had always done this.
Greg stifled a yawn and tried to concentrate on what Sherlock was saying but it was a struggle in his hungover and sleep deprived state which annoyed him, but then he remembered why he was hungover and sleep deprived and he had to fight to keep the smile off his face.
'Decapitation isn't really funny, Greg,' John said quietly.
'Oh for God sake, John, clearly Lestrade spent his night, and his morning judging by the fact he hasn't shaved, engaging in intercourse with a companion. Clearly a new one if the amount of effort he put in is anything to go by, and,' Sherlock paused, narrowing his eyes slightly as he thought, 'And male.'
'I don't even want to know how you know that,' Greg said, holding up a finger to silence the detective, suddenly very desperate to change the subject before Sherlock could hazard a guess at exactly who he had shared his bed with.
Sherlock rolled his eyes and then flounced back to the body. John followed him a second later after shooting Greg a knowing look that said they would be having a chat about this little revelation later on.
All day Greg had been in a strange mood, annoyed at being called out on what should have been his day off, nervously excited about what had happened with Mycroft, and, as the day wore on, increasingly worried about facing him again when he returned home that evening.
The previous night had been roaming hands and backs against the cold tiles of the shower. Afterwards they had dried themselves and dressed and started to retreat to their own respective spaces. Greg hadn't dared voice what he wanted, but he'd left his bedroom door open hoping that Mycroft would understand. He didn't have to wait long before the other man slid into bed beside him. He was still there in the morning when Greg woke up, warm and soft next to the policeman. A repeat performance of the night before was followed far too quickly by the unwelcome sound of Greg's mobile calling him into work.
Now he pulled up outside his house and paused for a second before getting out of the car, telling himself he wasn't nervous, and hating that he knew he was lying to himself. He let himself into the flat to find some old black and white film playing on the TV and Mycroft drinking tea out of Greg's old Met mug.
There was a second were their gaze met and Mycroft's eyes quickly scanned his face, and then the politician sighed.
'My brother was more irritating than usual?'
Greg nodded, 'He tried to lick the body.'
Mycroft's look of revulsion was something truly magnificent to behold and Greg found himself grinning as he peeled off his coat, throwing it in the vague direction of the sofa.
'Have you eaten?' he called as he headed to the fridge.
'Yes. But there is some cold meat and breads left.'
Greg was glad Mycroft couldn't see the guilt that was clearly written on his face as he thought about the fish and chips he'd had at his desk two hours earlier. The atmosphere was...easy. Not at all awkward. Well, not awkward considering that Mycroft could be the king of making things awkward when he felt like it. Greg rummaged in the fridge and threw together something that could roughly be considered a sandwich, even if he wasn't entirely sure what the tart tasting orange paste was and he'd never had red lettuce before, then he joined Mycroft on the sofa, kicking off his shoes and asking what they were watching.
An hour later when the credits rolled Greg carried his plate through to the sink and then double checked the doors and windows and the fancy new alarm that had been installed prior to Mycroft's arrival. And this was the moment he'd been dreading all day. What exactly would happen now.
Screwing up all of his courage and trying to sound nonchalant, Greg glanced down at Mycroft as he passed the sofa again.
'Are you staying up for a while or are you coming to bed?'
To Greg's shock Mycroft blinked in surprise and then nodded, just the once, that jerky little movement he gave so often, 'I'll be there momentarily.'
Greg nodded and made his way to the bedroom, trying not to smile the whole way.
When you give Mycroft your card there will be consequences.....
'Well this is unexpected,' Sherlock set down the mobile he had been typing on as Greg had stumbled through his question and then he looked over his steepled fingers at Greg, his strange eyes narrowed slightly as he considered the policeman's request.
'Look, I wouldn't ask except it's an emergency,' Greg hated that he was even having to do that. It was humiliating, and the way Sherlock was looking at him, as if he could read right into his soul was just making it worse. At least John was not there to witness this low point of Greg's adult life, so that was something at least.
'And you came to me?'
Greg had known this question was coming and he dug his nails into the palm of his hand to steady himself.
'You're the only person I know wi-'
'With the disposable income?'
Greg didn't say anything, he just dropped his gaze as Sherlock carried on looking at him.
'You could have asked Mycroft.'
Greg didn't reply and Sherlock carried on with his slow study of the police officer and then he did that slight jerk he did when he was flipping between moods.
'Yes,' he said, 'I suppose it would be hard to ask him when he's in hiding.'
He knows, Greg realised with a spike of dread, he knows. He clenched his jaw and stayed silent.
'Hmm.' Sherlock blinked slowly, tilting his head very slightly in that way that Greg hated.
'Just forget it if you're going to be a dick about it!' he snapped and turned to go.
'It's already in your account.'
Greg stopped and turned, 'What?'
'I transferred it into your account when you first asked.' Sherlock said as if it was the most natural thing in the world.
As happened so often with Sherlock, Greg found himself with nothing to respond, so he just nodded and gave him a grateful smile.
'Thanks. I really app-'
'Save your gratitude. It's just money.'
'Easy to say when you have it. Hey, how did you get my bank details?'
Sherlock gave him a withering look that made Greg roll his eyes, 'Don't tell me. I don't want to know.' he turned to go again, 'Look, stop by the yard later, I've a cold case double decapitation you can have.'
He was pleased that Sherlock looked mildly interested, and relieved that the consulting detective had dug him out of a massive hole with only minimal discomfort on Greg's part. It hadn't been as uncomfortable as the phone call he'd received from the bank that morning though. He was halfway out the door before Sherlock spoke again.
'If you want to avoid future mortgage payments bouncing then I'd suggest you don't give Mycroft a free run with your card again.'
Greg closed his eyes and muttered 'Fuck' under his breath before carrying on down the stairs.
From his armchair Sherlock watched him go and then once more steepled his fingers, this time with a slight smile on his face.