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Winter's Awakening

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“Looks like the snow is melting, we’ll be free of it by week’s end.” Mycroft looked up at Greg’s words. The man was peering out of the window, looking at the sky. “Gonna be a good day today. I think I might be able to get the car out tomorrow. You want to have a drive out?”

“That means I could get home…” Mycroft left the statement hanging. He was almost gratified to see the disappointed look that flashed across Greg’s face. It went some way to dispelling his fears that this was temporary, that it was nothing more than a fling that both of them would forget when they returned home. A Highland Fling, his mind supplied, rebellious to the serious nature of their discussion. He tried valiantly not to smile. They had enjoyed a wonderful week together, which in itself was worth smiling about. Mycroft had seemingly suffered no ill-effects from the accident, and they had enjoyed more amazing sex than either man had seen in months.

Greg blinked, swallowed and covered it well with a cough before he turned around. When he did, Mycroft was subjected to another of the man’s trademark grins, a wide warm smile. He had seen that smile at least once a day since he had arrived, more on occasion. He had also seen that face on waking every day for the last week. It wasn’t a sight he wanted to lose, but reality was kicking In. This particular smile was a cover.

“You’re free to do what you want, Mycroft,” Greg said gently. “You should know that...but…”

“But?” Mycroft said hopefully.

“I’ve really enjoyed having you here,” he said sincerely. “I have the best part of another two weeks here and...well, it is my holiday so I was thinking of staying a bit longer. I...would really like it if...well, if you want to that is…” Greg cleared his throat again.

“What, Gregory?”

“I wish you’d stay.” There, I’ve said it. Mycroft must know how I feel, mustn’t he? How can he have missed it? Greg went to put the kettle on, not knowing what the man’s response would be. He had a high powered job, one that Greg could not imagine him leaving voluntarily for too long.

“Gregory…”

“I know, sorry. Look, I know your job is important, Mycroft. You probably want to get back to check on things. I shouldn’t put pressure on you.”

“Gregory...I would like to stay.”

Greg pivoted to look at Mycroft. His smile was accepting but a little sad. “I understand. Queen and Country and all that. It’s nice that you want to, even if you can’t. I...Look, we can still have a day out tomorrow...My car will make it to Oban easily, and you do need to arrange to get yours collected and insurance assessed, hm? You can catch a train home from there if you want. You’d have to change at Glasgow, get a taxi between the two glasgow stations to pick up the London train, but it’s not hard. I’ve done it before, and the West Highland line is amazing...”

“No, Gregory...I meant...Yes, I do have to arrange things with regard to the car, but...I really do want to stay, if you’ll have me. I...I should be mindful of the stresses of my job. I am not getting any younger, and Anthea is quite capable of taking my place. She is a rather discerning negotiator in her own right, and this...break, has allowed me to think, about a lot of things, quite deeply in point of fact.” If Mycroft had thought the previous smile was blinding, this one was incandescent.

“Wow, that's… Of course I'll have you, I said so. So what kind of things have you been thinking about?”

“I am considering taking semi-retirement, letting Anthea step in to the situations of...shall we say, lesser difficulty, at least at first. I can orchestrate my departure on my own terms then. I shall of course remain as a consultant, and as advisor in situations that threaten National Security. For instance I sit in on Cobra meetings as a matter of course, as does Lady Smallwood, and I could continue with that. However, I would like it...if you would consider...the potential continuation of our relationship once we return to London.”

“You would?”

“Yes, Gregory, I would. I...this has been…” He paused. “I am having difficulty in locating the correct words to describe what this means to me. You are...everything, and I do mean everything, I could possibly wish for in a partner. We have worked together for...many years and I have given you far less than you deserve.”

“I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve,” Greg said with a quick smile.

“That sounded like a quote,” Mycroft said.

“Christ, you and Sherlock, you’re no good on popular culture, are you? It’s a quote from Lord of the Rings, Bilbo says it to his guests during his Birthday party.”

Mycroft smiled at the memory. “I read that book as a boy. I had quite forgotten the passage. I do appreciate the sentiment. I know you half as well as I should like, and you do deserve more from me, Gregory. You have been unswervingly loyal to both myself and my brother over the years, with little return. A good friend.”

“Yeah, well, don’t think I don’t know why I managed to keep my job after Sherlock ‘died’, you know?”

Mycroft smiled. “I played but a small role. I was, however, instrumental in having your boorish Superintendent reassigned to Liverpool, and the IOPC were told to drop the investigation against you and rule a verdict of no case to answer. It was as much for Sherlock as yourself. I knew he was alive, don’t forget. He had to have something to come back to. Please do not assign as much altruism to my actions as you obviously are doing. I had an ulterior motive.”

“Thanks for being honest though.”

“Well, if it is of any consolation, I was pleased that the knock-on effect where you were concerned was a positive one. You did not deserve censure for your involvement with my brother.”

“Thank you anyway,” Greg said, smile in place again. “Well, Mycroft, if we’re going to enjoy today, why don’t we head on out and you can see a bit more of the glen? I’d best walk Anders anyway, he’s got entirely too much energy not to start bothering us soon.”

“Very well, and cocoa when we return?”

“Remind me to buy more in Oban tomorrow, will you? I didn’t bank on hosting a cocoa addict.”

They walked down the track toward the viewpoint again, Anders running ahead, but Greg turned them right and over a style in the wall. Rather it was three projecting flat stones set into the wall’s surface like steps, with a wooden framework across the top to aid in getting over. Greg carried the dog and let him jump down from the top, but Mycroft found that getting down was harder for a human being. Following Greg also did nothing for Mycroft’s blood pressure as the kilt lifted a little as he clambered vigorously across and leapt to the ground.

“Gregory, you are positively indecent!” A rich laugh replied to that. Mycroft jumped the last step, breathless and pink cheeked. “Kilts should be ruled illegal.”

“Yeah, well don’t try that again. They didn’t take to that too well the first time.” Greg had already set off across the heather, keeping in line with the trees as they climbed. Mycroft followed, admiring his rear. “Ms Sturgeon might have something to say about it,” he added.

“I shall have you know Nicola is a perfectly lovely woman and talks a lot of sense,” Mycroft replied.

“Had tea with her too, hm?”

“On occasion, yes.” Greg shot him a look but said nothing more.

The snow was still quite thick, but manageable, and they could see tufts of heather poking through the snow as it receded. There had been no snow for the last few days with the promise that the lowlands were already clear. Mycroft was about to open his mouth when Greg stopped and held up a hand. He whistled low and Anders came to heel, sitting dutifully at Greg’s feet. He placed a finger to his lips and beckoned Mycroft closer. Greg leaned toward him and whispered in his ear. “Step carefully, try not to move quickly, and you might see more than you expected.” He lead the way into the woodland, making his way slowly toward a large fir on the periphery. He peered around it and grinned, leaning back out of sight. Anders positively vibrated with suppressed excitement but stayed quiet. Greg beckoned Mycroft forward and pointed around the tree. He bent down and held Anders still, holding his muzzle gently shut. The dog whined softly and Greg hushed him. Mycroft trod as carefully as he could, coming level with Greg and stopping as the man reached out and grasped his trouser leg to halt his progress. He leaned around the tree and his breath caught in his throat. Less than a hundred meters away were three quite magnificent red deer, impressive racks of antlers atop their heads, shaggy winter coats like manes around their necks. He glanced back to Greg to see the man grinning at him again. Carefully Mycroft leaned back into concealment, noticing Greg fiddling with his camera. The thing had a rather impressive telephoto lens on it. Greg repositioned himself carefully, and Mycroft took up dog duty, scratching Anders behind his ears while keeping firm hold on the collar. Greg leaned out, the camera positioned on its extending monopod for stability, and hit the shutter release. He had suppressed the sound of the shutter, so nothing spooked his quarry. He hit the button twice more, and then stood them down, clipping a lead on Anders and heading back out of the trees.

“Phew,” Greg whistled as they exited. “That was...wow.” He scrolled through the results on his camera in triumph. “That was amazing. Look,” he said, offering the camera over. The shots were quite impressive, despite their photogenic subject. Mycroft had to admit the man had some talent for composition.

“You are very good.”

“Opportunity,” Greg replied. “Luck mostly. Subjects like these do half the work for you. I just point and shoot, they already look good.”

“Yes, but may I compliment you on your composition,” Mycroft said. “Not all photography is just point and shoot. I would like a copy of one of those for my wall at home, if you would allow.”

“Allow? Of course, Mycroft.”

“I shall pay for a canvas I think.”

“Wow, that’s...a real compliment, coming from you. Thank you, Mycroft.”

“Not at all. Credit where credit is due.” They continued their walk across the moor tops, along the tree line, curving around the foothills and coming face to face with the view from the opposite direction, misty mountains rising in the distance. As they looked, Mycroft was aware that Greg had struck up a song. He turned, surprised, and smiled when he recognised it. He wasn’t as unfamiliar with popular culture as Greg thought. Even he recognised the opening bars to Misty Mountains from the Hobbit.

“Far over, the misty mountains rise,

leave us standing upon the heights,

What was before, we’ll see once more,

Is our kingdom, a distant light…”

In the silence that fell, Mycroft smiled, gazing out across the snowy ground, drinking in the view. High overhead, something screeched. They both looked up and Greg wrestled with his camera again as a large dark bird wheeled very overhead.

“It’s an eagle,” Greg exclaimed. “A bloody eagle! We don’t see them often up here, they’re around the Glen tops to the west as a rule, but if you’re lucky…” He managed to get his camera on it, snapping happily before it flew off.

There is nothing like this, Mycroft thought, watching Greg gleefully photograph the epitome of freedom circling above them. This feeling of utter contentment. It was a very long time since he had experienced such peace. When we return to London, he considered, it will be together, in more ways than one. This place made him want to make wild declarations of love and devotion to this amazing man beside him and yet he knew such actions were neither appropriately timed nor were they possible right now. A year, he thought. I will give it a year. Mycroft was nothing if not patient, and he was not given to impulsiveness. They would return in a year, and he would propose, right here, on this hill, in view of mountains and trees and the bloody eagles and red deer if he had to. This was where his life began again, and right now, all he wanted to do was spend it with Greg…

They watched the bird fly off, and moved on again, Anders running on his extending lead ahead of them. Mycroft was struck by the light in Greg’s eyes. They were full of life and love of the place around him. Right then, he wanted to return home and shag him senseless, like they hadn’t been doing it all week.

“Mycroft, when we go to Oban tomorrow, would you agree to see my doctor?”

“Pardon?”

“I have a doctor in Oban, Doctor Findlay. Don’t laugh. Poor guy still gets jokes from the older members of his practice. I’d just like you to see a medical professional just to make sure you’ve not had any ill effects from the crash, that’s all. It’s sense. I can call from the cottage when we get back, see if I can get you in. It’s a proper cottage hospital, got a minor injuries unit, and x-ray facilities. I’m just concerned about your neck, that’s all.”

Mycroft was about to protest but the concern in Greg’s eyes warmed him inside. Nobody had looked at him like that for so long. “Very well, Gregory. I shall agree, if only to set your mind at rest.”

“I...thank you, Mycroft…” Greg smiled again, and Mycroft found he would go a long, long way to make the man smile. Agreeing to see a doctor was not such a bad idea. It would take a short while to put Gregory’s mind at ease, and Mycroft found he very much wanted that too.

“Shall we turn for home? I find I am a little peckish.”

“Yeah, okay. Got some good pictures today anyway.” Greg turned around and they headed back the way they had come, with a slight deviation through the woodland, on a track between the tall straight trunks. “This is a shortcut,” Greg said, “intersects with the other path further down.” The trees closed in and the light dimmed. Their footfalls were muffled by billions of pine needles underfoot. In every direction tall brown trunks stretched into the distance, evergreen boughs interlaced, a dusting of snow here and there but not much had penetrated so far into the woodland. Greg stopped and ordered Anders to sit. Silence settled around them.The feel of the wind on their faces had disappeared, although it rushed in the treetops above. Their eyes met. Suddenly, Greg found himself pressed against a tree trunk and thoroughly kissed. Mycroft let his hands roam, and a wicked gleam came into his eyes. He stripped his gloves off, then sank slowly to his knees, warm hands sliding up Greg’s thighs under his kilt hem. Greg had already realised what he was about to do, and his breath hitched in anticipation. Mycroft leaned close, flipped the kilt up and was rewarded by Greg’s half-hard length in front of his eyes.

“Someone might…”

“Pish, Gregory. Do you really think anybody will be abroad today?” Greg shook his head, and thumped it back against the tree trunk as Mycroft took him into his mouth in one smooth move. Not like he hadn’t done that before, of course. In point of fact they had done so to each other quite a lot during the last week, but there was nothing to beat the wet heat of Mycroft’s mouth around his aching prick while the rough bark of the tree made itself known behind his head and the cold air raised the hairs on his exposed thighs. Mycroft’s elegant fingers curled around his balls and tugged firmly down. Greg gasped and writhed, the feel of being exposed and in the open doing unspeakable things for his libido. He had completely forgotten about Anders. The dog whined and Greg looked over, seeing him watching the two men curiously, head on one side. He had been carefully shut out of the bedroom over the last week because Greg felt it was rather off putting being watched. It put him off his stride.

“My...Mycroft...you’re turning my dog into a voyeur…”

Mycroft glanced over and chuckled around Greg’s cock. He pulled off and looked up. “Is he putting you off? I rather thought he was enjoying it…” He received a swat to the top of his head, which made him laugh the harder. “Anders, turn your back,” Mycroft ordered. He was puzzled when Greg’s legs nearly collapsed with his laughter.

“What on earth is wrong, Gregory?”

“Nothing, just...oh, God...Sherlock once told Anderson to do that…”

“Anderson?”

“My forensics guy. That’s why I named the dog Anders. After him. Sherlock once told me he wasn’t my sniffer dog, and I said of course not, Anderson was my sniffer dog, so when I got this guy, I had to call him after my sniffer dog, you see? And he’s Norwegian, so his name is the nearest Norwegian name to Anderson.”

Mycroft smiled at the humour. “Would you rather we continue this at home?”

“Actually, come on. I’ve got an idea.” Greg shook his clothing into place again and grabbed Mycroft, hauling him to his feet. They set off quickly, and Greg lead them back to the cottage.

Once they arrived, Greg let them in and offloaded his camera and backpack onto the living room table, then went about filling Ander’s food bowl in front of the Aga. “No, don’t take your coat off, we’re not staying…” he instructed, making sure the water bowl was filled as well.

Mycroft paused in divesting himself of his coat and waited while Greg had finished feeding the dog. “I gather you have a plan?”

“Come on, he’ll be happy here for a short while at least. You and me have unfinished business.” Greg shut the door on the dog and locked it, then lead Mycroft across the road and into the woodland opposite the cottage. There was a track that lead into the trees away from the house, meandering through the woodland until the cottage was quickly lost from sight.

“There, not too far away from the house, but far enough that we are completely alone. So, Mycroft…” Greg walked backwards slowly, eyeing his lover striding toward him. “What you were doing was...well, there are no words for how good it felt. Do you..um...feel able to continue?”

“Of course, Gregory.” Mycroft stalked up close. “No voyeuristic dogs to put you off this time. Although,” he paused. “One has to be careful.” He pivoted round, observing a complete 360 of the area, but the forest was silent around them, save the wind in the branches above. “We are alone, Gregory.” Mycroft leaned forward, lips ghosting across an ear. “Do you trust me?” he breathed, softly.

“You know I do,” Greg said, voice rough with arousal.

“That might be foolish…” Mycroft murmured, walking him back until his back hit another tree. “I am dangerous, Gregory. I could ruin you…”

“Let me be the judge of that,” Greg said breathlessly. He licked his lips. “You can ruin me as much as you God damn please, just get that filthy mouth of yours around my cock.”

He watched as Mycroft once again slid slowly to his knees in front of him and slid his hands up Greg’s thighs under his kilt. If the man knew nothing else, he knew how to build the tension.

This time anticipation had made Greg harder for him, and the resulting gasp as Mycroft wrapped his tongue around the head and slid it over the silky flesh was encouraging. He felt Greg’s full body shudder under his hands. The man's blunt fingers slid into Mycroft's hair and tightened, anchoring the pair of them. Greg braced against the tree, head thudding back against the bark again as Mycroft began expertly to suck him off. Those fingers wrapped around his balls and tugged firmly down. Greg groaned aloud at the sensation. He felt a finger slide along his perineum and press gently. He squirmed at the sensation, and then the fingers gripped his balls again and squeezed, eliciting another filthy moan. He was worked expertly to completion, between his balls being taken firmly in hand and the hot wet mouth around his prick, it was not long before he felt the pleasure coiling tight in his guts, begging for release. The only warning Mycroft received was a slightly painful tightening of the fingers in his hair which sent shivers across his skull and down his spine. He sucked, hard, taking Greg deeper as the man’s hips jerked under Mycroft’s hand. Greg came, hard, shooting his load down Mycroft’s throat with a long drawn-out groan of pleasure. His legs shaking, aftershocks fizzing through his skin, Greg allowed the tree, and Mycroft, to keep him upright while he came down from the endorphin high.

“Sh...shit,” he panted, chest heaving. “That...that was...amazing.” Mycroft smiled, serenely, and licked his lips, like a cat that had gotten to the cream.

“The pleasure, Gregory, was all mine, as always.”

“Jesus, we’d best get back. Don’t want the dog to think he’s been abandoned. He’ll savage your socks in revenge.”

Mycroft chuckled. “He’d better not. I’ll withhold his favourite kibble…”

“Oh, that’s cruel.”

“Better that than to allow the savaging of my socks to go unavenged…”