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Counting Footsteps

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They say he’ll stop dreaming about it, eventually. Flashlights and alleys, voices shouting. Running. Going back to the car to get his DI’s coffee. A reflection of a face in the window just before something crashed into the back of his head. Pain. Falling, hitting the pavement by his car. Flicking, fading lights at the A&E.

Then the darkness.

His flat door bursts open with no knocking preamble. “Gavin. You are not answering your calls. Why are you not at the precinct?”

Greg’s eyes snap open. Nothing changes. It’s still dark. Only the barest hint of light indicates that it is day- it’s what he’s hanging onto, that little sliver of hope. Not that it seems to be improving much. He sighs. “Hello, Sherlock.”

“You are not detecting. This is most unusual and an inconvenience to me, personally. I have been without any interesting activity for weeks. I need a case.” The footsteps move closer and shift from wood to the softer tones of the rug. Sherlock is probably pacing the span of the carpet right beside the couch- he never did have much respect for personal space. There’s a pause, very close. Ah. Now he’s got it. “Detective Sergeant?”

“Slower than usual for you, Sherlock.” There’s a brush of air over his face and a subtle shift in the little bit of light he can sense- Sherlock must be waving a hand over it. “And that’s a bit cliche.”

The air moves, a squeak of the floor says Sherlock has taken a step back, considering. “How?”

“Didn’t know we should have been looking for two suspects instead of just one.”

“Head injury.”



Well. Sherlock was never one to beat ‘round the bush. “Don’t know yet. Not a lot to be done for it but wait and see. So to speak.” They thought, maybe, surgery. But not until they’re sure it won’t return on its own. Not a great idea to dig into the brain if you don’t have to.

He’s being rather casual about it because he has to. If he’s serious about it, if he lets himself think for too long about the last words from his bosses at the Met: ‘ You know, Greg, we have excellent medical severance if you need it’ and ‘ there’s always dispatch, Greg, you’d be great at that’ he might crack, and he does not, frankly, have the energy. Laying here on the couch and talking to Sherlock like he isn’t on the constant verge of a panicked breakdown is enough.

The footsteps start again- Sherlock’s pacing, the sort he does when he’s deducting. Greg feels a bit pleased he can recognize it just by sound. Feels like a win, somehow. There haven’t been many of those.

His mind replays his last visit to the Met- Janey took him to pick up some paperwork in person and help him sign it. DI Gunn standing in the hall, talking in a whisper that wasn’t low enough. ‘How long do I have to wait for a new Sergeant, anyway? Not my fault if Lestrade laid himself up- should’ve been looking out for someone, shouldn’t he. Careless.’ Greg had barely held his tongue while he was still in with the Chief Super, but when he passed his DI and his coterie in the hall he couldn’t resist muttering “I’m blind, not deaf, arsehole” when Gunn tried to start in with some platitudes about how well Greg really looks and how nice it is to hear he’s recovering.

He hasn’t heard much from the station since.

The sound of plastic shifting- bin bags?- jolts him from the reverie.

“Someone stayed for a few days- home carer? No, personal. Sister?”

That last one sounds like Sherlock may actually be asking, so Greg answers. “Sister-in-law.” Janey is good people, married to his oldest brother, who actually is called Gavin. Her kids are all out in uni or working, and she’d been a stay-at-home mum without much to do now that the kids are gone, so she was happy to volunteer to come mind Greg for a bit. Greg thought she missed having someone to look after, though an irate middle-aged blind brother-in-law was probably not what she had in mind. Especially given how often she’s already hounding her kids for some grandchildren.

“Of course. Personal but not too personal. Help with the cooking. Take out the bins.” The steps move, pacing into the kitchen. The fridge door opens. “Lestrade, none of this is edible.”

“Yeah, she’s not a great cook.”

“No. It’s all gone off.” The fridge door closes. “She left… four days ago?”

Greg sighs again. “There’s some in the freezer. Not sure what. She labelled it all, but. S’not that helpful at the moment.” Not to mention the issues he’d been having with time. Hard to tell what a day means when you can’t really see whether it’s day or night. His little bit of light looks the same whether it’s the sun or a streetlamp. He’s just been sort of… feeling. Eating if he feels like eating, which he mostly doesn’t, especially not casseroles he can only guess at the contents of. Pissing when he needs to piss and hoping he isn’t missing the toilet. Refilling the one cup he trusts himself with, because he knows where it is on the coffee table. It’s the same one he’s been using the entire time he’s been home, some plastic unbreakable shit Janey gave him in case he drops it. Feels like a sippy cup.

Sherlock doesn’t move for a bit, which is uncanny. Greg has the sense of being watched. Evaluated. Good to know his cop senses aren’t entirely visual. “I shall send someone over to assist.”

“What?” Greg sits up, points his face in the direction of the kitchen. “No- I don’t need-”

“You can leave your door locked, if you like, he can pick it.” There’s another sequence of steps, a shuffling of… something, canvas fabric perhaps, and a clicking noise. More steps. “I have located your cell phone. It is charging on your end table. You might consider calling someone in the meantime- someone with a great deal of money to spare, and perhaps contacts in the NHS.”

“Sherlock- I can get by-”

“Your thanks is noted. Your assistant will be by this afternoon. I will be in touch.”

The whirling of his coat is almost audible as he whips back out into the hallway and closes the door.


His new- assistant? Aide? Whatever Sherlock had gotten him- is called Billy. Billy goes through the fridge, gets something on the stove, makes sure Greg eats. He’s changing the sheets when Greg catches on to what he’s doing.

“Twelve minutes and they’ll be a match on, yeah? Heard there was a wicked one last week, real close, sixteen to twenty-”

“Billy.” Greg turns his head in the direction of the bedroom.

“Yes gov?”

“Was that Sherlock’s suggestion?”

“Was what?”

“The numbers.”

There’s a pause, then a low sort of laugh. “He did say you’re not as much of an idiot as people think.”

“Twelve steps to the loo, twenty to the bedroom, sixteen to the door. That’s a reinforcement technique.” All gauged from the couch, trying to help him learn the patterns. Christ, Sherlock had probably built the whole thing out in his mind… thing. “I’m going to assume he meant that as a compliment.”


Another fairly pregnant pause, and Greg tilts his head. “He wants you to do something else as well.”

“He did have another suggestion.” Billy whacks a pillow with his hand, fluffing it.

Greg arches a brow. “Well?”

“You’ve got a guitar. Sort of thinking you’re not terrible with it.”

“Yeah. Mostly not terrible.”

“Alright. I’m gonna put that by you on the couch. Get some practice in tonight. We’re going for a walk tomorrow morning. Early.”


It’s only the temperature, the feeling of chill air against his cheeks and squelching of wet grass that tells Greg it’s likely not quite even dawn yet. “Gonna explain?”

“Nah. His suggestion. Gonna park you right here.” Here feels like a park bench. “Your case is open by your left foot.”


“And you play, and when you’re not playing, listen. That’s all.”

This is some of Sherlock’s weird homeless network shite, Greg has no doubt about that. But it isn’t as if he has anything better to do, and he’s always kind of wondered how they managed to get all that information. “Mm’kay.”

For a while it seems he’s playing by himself, just him and the warming air. Soon enough there’s joggers though, rhythmic thudding along the path, loud breathing. Billy’s put him by a loop around a pond, a place where joggers tend to congregate, and it’s interesting how much of them he can hear . A pair of women and what sounds like a jogging stroller, bemoaning having to fire a nanny. A man listening to talk radio too loudly in his headphones. A couple having a quiet argument every time they pause at the nearby fountain.

Then there’s the silent group. At least Greg thinks it’s a group- there’s a set of three, anyway, a heavy set, a quieter set, then another heavy set, but they’re spaced out just enough that he can’t tell if they’re intentionally running together or if they just happen to be roughly on the same pace.

The middle one, the quietest of the three, passes on the point of the path closest to the bench and stops short, hard. Greg can hear a quiet pant between his chords.

God I hope no one’s having a heart attack when I can’t even see where they are.

“You alright, mate?”

There’s a strangled noise, but then a very quiet, very posh-sounding “Yes… thank you” comes in return, and the steps pick up again. The voice sounds a bit familiar, actually, but he can’t place it.

He offers a smile anyway, somewhere in the direction of the wheezing. “Anytime!” It’s false cheer. He doesn’t know why he feels the need to put on the act.

Probably someone from some old case, trying to figure out if they recognize me.

Probably nothing important.

“Sir?” That’s Heavy Steps No. 2. “D’you need medical?”

Hm. Bodyguard? Now that’s interesting.

Posh’s response is pitched too low for him to hear, and they take off again shortly after. Greg plucks the guitar idly, experimenting, playing or not playing as different groups go by and seeing what he can hear. None of them really react, though he’s certain the runner who had stopped before slows down every time he passes.

Billy comes to retrieve around lunch, making sure he eats, helping him practice the number of steps to get around his apartment. “Why’s he want to help me?” Greg asks as Billy’s getting ready to go. “Can’t give him any cases like this.”

He imagines that Billy probably shrugs, but he can’t see it. “Why’s he do anything?”


Mycroft Holmes does not consider himself a runner , but he does run. Discreetly, in a park where he is unlikely to be recognized, on a route very thoroughly covered by his own surveillance measures and his two-man support team (required, per the few people allowed to require anything of him, though he has long been certain the measure is entirely unnecessary).

He does not enjoy the act. Running is something he does because it seems to be the easiest way of keeping his weight down in an efficient manner, and the only other useful side effect is the endorphins.

And time to think when no one is bothering me.

He’s grown used to functioning on a sort of auto-pilot on his route. The same people tend to be there, the same patterns, so long as there is no break in the pattern his awareness can remain docile and his attention tuned to other matters.

Which is why it is such a surprise to catch a glimpse of dark brown hair laced with argent and a guitar plinking out a slow, melancholic iteration of Paint It Black.

His legs resist the sharp stop, muscles screaming as he pulls up hard, and his lungs refuse to adjust as he stands there, staring.

It can’t be.

They’ve only ever met in person once. One time, in one of Mycroft’s warehouses, the usual threatening words. Lestrade was far too noble to take the offer, of course. He told Mycroft precisely where he could stick his money and walked out. Mycroft had felt quite secure in knowing Sherlock’s new acquaintance was one of the few truly decent people in London.

After that, the communication was rare. A brief call, or a text, always Sherlock related. Informing the other he was back in rehab, or might be using, or currently high. Since he’d been doing better- cleaner- they’d hardly spoken at all.

There had been other thoughts , however, after. Sergeant Lestrade is quite handsome, and Mycroft had not failed to note he was even more stunning in person than on the limited feeds of his CCTV cameras. Still is, as he can see from here, even if there’s a bit more silver worked through his dark hair than there used to be.

Mycroft’s mind takes a second to reboot itself- wonderful, he is still staring. And not speaking, because his lungs refuse to let him get that far, not that he knows what he would say. How fortunate Lestrade cannot see his open-mouthed panting.

Oh, god, I’m just embarrassing myself- he’d never consider- best to take off again now before he sees-

“You alright, mate?”

Mycroft’s head snaps up. Lestrade is looking at him- no, not at him. Near him. Even with the sunglasses Mycroft can tell it’s not quite there.

No. No, he hasn’t…. He can’t see me.

His eyelids flutter, mind deducting but yielding no results. What is he meant to do? He should say something, but what?

“Yes... thank you,” the English propriety in him manages to wheeze out.

Disgraceful. Be grateful he cannot see you- sweaty and red and pudge scarcely contained by lycra-

“Anytime!” Lestrade is feigning cheer, but Mycroft can rip through those layers straight to the devastated soul beneath.

Mycroft wishes he knew how to care properly. To help. He… would like to, if it were Lestrade. But he’s too old to start experimenting with human emotions now. He wouldn’t know where to start.

“Sir? D’you need medical?”

“No. I am fine.” The voice kickstarts his mind- he’s in public, he cannot stand here panting and staring at Lestrade all morning, nor can he generate any useful ways to assist, not with his mind… malfunctioning. The rising anxiety and indecision is too great- the flight or fight mechanism buried in him restarts his legs. He has to keep running. He can think of what to do later.

Only he can’t stop looking at Lestrade every time he rounds the path.

Why you? Why did this happen to you?


Three days later things shift. Billy’s visits in the morning have become part of his process, and Greg is managing more and more handling things himself- getting about his own flat, even taking out the bins, and giving Billy a cursory report of whatever he’s overheard at the park when Billy drops him back off before lunch. Billy says Sherlock is pleased, though Greg very seriously doubts Sherlock has spared him a thought past the vanishing of his own cases and whatever debt he thinks he owes Greg for those cases being paid by Billy’s ‘assistance’.

Greg’s fingers run the chords of their own accord- he’s trying to remember Use Somebody this time, he’d been trying to learn it, back when he could see the strings. He doesn’t sing, however, he’s listening to all the chatter beyond the music. Jogging stroller ladies, still whinging about the nanny. Pre-work corporate people, the talk radio guy. They’re all there- it’s a pattern, really. A sequence, all this routine gathered in one place and circling in the same order.

The posh runner is there, too, bodyguards in tow. He still pauses near Greg, slows his pace when he passes. Greg’s starting to think he likes the music, such as it is. It’s their routine, in a way.

There’s not a whole lot else Greg has to offer at the moment anyway.

He’s gathering his courage to finally call out and ask Posh if he has any requests when the arguing couple finally reaches a breaking point. They’ve been getting louder all week- Greg’s gotten the idea this is supposed to be some sort of therapy for them, a shared activity to encourage bonding.

It’s not working.

The woman cracks first. Greg had tuned out whatever the actual issue is- their arguing is, in its way, part of the same pattern of the park, all white noise- his fingers are moving on the strings while he tries to figure out if the little bit of light he can sense is actually improving, when a shadow noticeably crosses his face.

For a moment he’s ecstatic- something moved! And he saw it!

Then the water bottle smacks him square in the forehead.

His sunglasses fall, and there’s a scramble as the woman runs over, apologizing but still pissy, only making a cursory effort at ensuring he is not truly injured or planning a lawsuit before she and her supposed husband move on farther down the path, still yelling.

“Here,” a soft, posh voice says. Greg startles- he hadn’t heard the man come up, he must have slipped closer while the woman was talking. “I- er.” Greg feels slim fingers slide under his hand, another sets the sunglasses in his palm.

“Uh. Cheers, mate, appreciate it.”

Posh has a nice voice. Nicer now that it’s closer. Probably a nice face too. The sort of bloke who wouldn’t want anything to do with a possibly permanently blind DS on medical leave, likely to get gently fired- sorry, repurposed - if nothing changes in the next month or so. Just being nice, is all.

“Are you quite alright?”

Oh. Posh is still here. And… yes, still has Greg’s hand.

Greg swallows. “Yeah. Think I am, actually.”


Mycroft can’t believe his luck. Greg Lestrade, whom he had been utterly certain would never be interested in anything with him- not a date, certainly not… anything else… is happy to spend his time on a park bench, chatting in close proximity, unbothered if their skin touches. He didn’t think he’d be forgiven after the warehouse- and really, he was never looking for forgiveness- but this is far more than he ever could have wished for.

The bodyguards get waved off- with vigor- almost immediately. He doesn’t need them for this.

“Thanks for sticking around with me. You’re sure it’s not going to bruise?”

A smile is briefly suppressed before Mycroft remembers Lestrade cannot see it. “I assure you your face is unmarred.”

“That’s a relief. Can’t imagine the looks I’d get. People thinking I’m clumsy on top of being blind. Probably get better tips, though.” Mycroft can’t fathom how he’s maintaining such a cheerful attitude. Even if it is superficial, it’s enough that the average person would believe him. And Mycroft, not to overstate his own opinion of himself, is far from average. “I’m Greg, by the way.”

Mycroft looks down. Greg’s hand is hovering over his lap.

Oh. Lord. He doesn’t recognize my voice. He doesn’t… I am simply a kindly stranger to him.

His hand moves of its own accord, clasping Lestrade’s. He should let go, he should tell Lestrade- but he finds his body is not cooperating. “Mike,” he hears his mouth say. Oh, god.

“Cheers, Mike.” Greg smiles brightly.

But that smile is for “Mike”. Not for me. Mycroft is grateful that the sound of his heart quietly shattering in his chest is not audible.

He starts bringing coffee for Lestrade in the early morning, setting it down where he can reach it and making sure he knows where it is before he starts his own run. The runs themselves provide him with too much time to think, however. Too much time to remember that if Lestrade could see he wouldn’t be there at all- or worse, if he had recognized Mycroft that he would have been simply told to sod off.

With each day that passes he also feels the escalating rise of guilt that he should tell Lestrade who he is. Let the shoe drop, let him know so he stops… Mycroft isn’t honestly sure if he’s flirting, but if he is he wouldn’t mean to do it with Mycroft. No, if Lestrade is flirting it’s with “Mike.” Someone he no doubt pictures as almost anyone other than who Mycroft actually is.

It’s selfish, not telling him. But it lets him continue the illusion that Lestrade might….

“Think I saw something green today,” Lestrade cuts through his unabashed staring. Mycroft ought to feel ashamed that the prospect of Lestrade getting his sight back is….

He’ll never have to know how inadequate I am if he can’t see me. But he wants to see. I… want him to be happy.

He swallows. “That sounds like progress.”

“Hard to tell. I’ve got another visual field test at the end of the week. Last time was a mess, but… you know, trying not to get my hopes up too much, but a bit of light and one color is something.”

Well. I can pretend he might. At least for another few weeks.

“Any updates from work?”

“Well, they’re not allowed to right out fire me but… I think if there’s not sign of progress they’re going to move me on. Keep trying to push me to just move to dispatch… I dunno. Got a bit more medical leave to use before I have to… do something.”

Mycroft nods, then remembers Lestrade can’t see the nod. “I’m sure the test will show improvement. Your employers ought to consider that as a sign that you can eventually return to your former duties.”

“Eh. Hopefully.”

Gently shifting the topic to the song Greg is working on- Mycroft has heard it before but does not know it well, as he doesn’t listen to much recent music- they continue right up until the time when Mycroft really needs to be getting home to shower before work. Their conversations go better when they talk about music, or the gossip Lestrade can overhear from his bench, both of them laughing.

It’s enough to pretend with- more than Mycroft has ever had before, anyway.

He’ll keep what he can for now.


Two weeks into their chats, Greg has taken to playing serenades of music he thinks Mike might enjoy while he’s running. All Over You, or Laid when he’s feeling cheeky. He can sort of see a tiny bit now. Shadows and scraps of color and the occasional hazy outline, but it’s all like looking through layers of windowscreen, blurred and off-balance.

The other voices of the park have faded- it’s just him and Mike, really, and the rhythm of steps. Even the bodyguards fade…


There is another set of steps in the rhythm. Someone behind Mike and his entourage, but slowly gaining. In a deliberate way, to boot- whoever it was wasn’t winded at all, they’re choosing to hold this pace. Even unable to actually see them, something about it sets off Greg’s cop senses. It takes him a minute to place it.

The second bodyguard isn’t there.

The heavy steps had been there a minute ago- but that means Mike is down half his protection detail. Greg gets up, holding onto the neck of his guitar in one hand. Okay. They’re coming back around. The bench is just off the path- four, maybe five steps.

He can do this.

The first bodyguard gets close. “Mike-” he starts to call in warning, but he hears the low click of a firearm safety and immediately steps toward it. “Down!”

The sounds are a symphonic chaos. The steps behind quicken, the assailant drawing closer. The bodyguard’s heavy steps come back, there’s a yelp that can only be Mike getting bodily moved out of the way by the other guard.

Most cacophonous of all is the discordant slam of Greg’s guitar against the man coming for Mike, wood and strings snapping in the impact and the low, sharp retort of the gun firing through it.

“Lestrade!” he hears Mike call out desperately.

He doesn’t have time to process why that rings oddly. The first bodyguard’s running feet are coming and he jumps out of the way, falling into the grass off the sidewalk. The feeling of hands on his chest startle him into trying to shake them off, but they hang tight, wrapped into his shirt, a flicker of pale skin making its way through the haze of his vision. “Lestrade- were you- never do that again! Good god, I thought you were….”

It’s then he realizes why Mike’s voice sounds so familiar. He’d heard that same tone on the phone the last time Sherlock had to be forcibly taken to rehab.



It all happens so fast that Mycroft is hardly sure of what he’s saying, only that there was a gunshot and Lestrade- Lestrade might be injured- and it would be his fault, of course, always his fault, he should have known Lestrade was at risk even being in his presence, and the man can’t even stop himself from heroics while blind-


His mind stalls. Had he? No, he hadn’t said anything, how-

“That is you, isn’t it?”

“....yes,” he hears himself saying. His heart shatters, but he can’t tell why. It’s not as if there was anything real between them. “Come on- my people will be here shortly. We’ll get you checked for any injuries.”

“I’m not hurt.”

“Just- let me. Please?”

“...fine.” Lestrade sounds angry. Well, of course he is. Mycroft had lied to him for weeks, all for the benefit of… what? His own fantasy.

Christ. Made a mess of this, of course.

They’re bundled into the back of one of his ambiguous black cars, and Lestrade hasn’t said a thing other than continuing to decline medical treatment.

“Lestrade- Greg-”

“Christ, really?” Greg snaps suddenly, stilling Mycroft into silence. “So did Sherlock send you to keep an eye on me? This is all some sort of- charity case?”

Mycroft’s mouth opens, stunned for a bit before he’s capable of speech. “Not at all. I thought for a moment he had sent you to watch me , actually, before I realized-”

“Right.” Lestrade folds his arms across his chest, leaning away from Mycroft.

They’re silent for a long time before Greg sighs. “Why’d you lie, Mycroft, just tell me that.”

“I thought….” Mycroft chews the inside of his lower lip, looking out the window. Honesty is not an area in which he always excels, but if there’s any chance of salvaging this he must try. “I thought if you knew whom you were speaking to, you never would have talked to me in the first place. After the- our discussion at the warehouse-”

“Mycroft. Myke.” Lestrade rubs his fingers over the bridge of his nose. “If I didn’t want to talk with you after that, I would’ve found any other method than calling you to let you know every time your brother did something idiotic.”

“I, er. Ah.”

He hears Lestrade sigh again and he chances a look back. “I suppose this does explain why you said you didn’t recognize most of my song choices. Can’t count on a Holmes for pop culture.”


“Listen, Myke. I’m not thrilled that you lied about your name. But the rest of it- the coffees and the chats- that wasn’t a lie, was it? That was actually you- the you usually hidden behind the suit, am I right?”

Mycroft shifts awkwardly. He was not hiding , so much as… protecting, but…. “Yes, I- enjoyed them. I do not… get to converse much, unguarded.”

“I thought as much.” There is a shifting next to him, and Mycroft finds Greg’s hand reaching out, brushing the side of his thigh. “Why don’t we get a proper coffee and try for a restart, then? Think you owe me a guitar, either way.”

It’s with a bit of shame that Mycroft feels relief that Greg cannot see him blush. “And a thank you as well. If you hadn’t intervened-”

“Yeah, well. Apparently the copper can’t be turned off that easy.”

Mycroft hesitantly closes his hand over Greg’s. “I’m glad that’s the case, Greg.”


It takes some convincing, but Mycroft eventually coaxes Greg to use one of his private hospital connections. Another battery of tests, a brief procedure, and he has some results, all promising, and apparently an unusual enough combination of factors that a number of doctors want to look into it for research purposes, thus ensuring he’ll get a much higher standard of care.

“So the- cortical part- that’s-”

“That’s recovering well,” his opthamologist says. “The lingering effects are mostly down to optic neuritis from the brain bleed your original A&E team missed. It will take a while for the inflammation to die down, and you might have some permanent damage to your color vision. It’s red that usually goes, if anything. Otherwise your vision should return fairly close to normal now that the cause of the inflammation is dealt with.”

The doctor gives him a few instructions for care- keep away from high heat, rest his eyes when he can, and a referral for a followup exam to look at the nerves in two weeks.

Most importantly, he can medically prove to Scotland Yard that he’ll be fit for work again soon. He won’t be transferred.

He clutches that bit of paper shakily as the doctor departs, the white fluttering hazily in the bottom of the shadows he can now see.

“That sounds very promising,” Sherlock’s deep rumble reverberates from the door.

“Sherl- you know what, I don’t even care how you got in. Why are you here?”

“Oh, you know. Reasons.” The dark silhouette that is Sherlock’s long frame glides closer. “I understand my brother owes you a guitar.”

“Already dealt with, actually. Don’t know how he managed to dig up the exact same kind that fast, but I know enough not to ask.” Sherlock hums and makes to pace around the patient chair, but Greg reaches out and grasps him by the lapel.

“Ah, your vision really is improving.”

“Sherlock, did you know someone in that park was after your brother?”

“Mm? No. That was merely… coincidence.”

Greg narrows his eyes. Oddly, that seems to make the dark shape of Sherlock a bit more clear. “Did you know Mycroft runs there?”

“Fatcroft, run? Please.”

“Your brother is not fat, Sherlock. I seem to recall he has a rather sleek figure-” Greg can feel the heat of his own blush on his cheeks and he lets go of Sherlock so he can turn his head away, not that anyone could get much by Sherlock. Yeah, he’d thought Mycroft was a prat at first, but a prat that looked poshly fine even when he was trying to be intimidating. “Pretty sure he still does, even if I can’t see it that well yet.”

“Hem.” And that would be the former-prat in question. Christ. “Sherlock, are you interfering with patient care?”

“Never, brother mine. Gareth, do let me know when my cases are ready.”

“They’re not your cases, Sherlock-” A door closes down the hall and Greg is left shaking his head. “I- er.”

“Might I offer you a ride home, Greg? And perhaps- dinner?”

Greg smiles. He can just see the tall outline of Mycroft, the lines of his suit a dark contrast to the pale walls. “Yeah. Think that might be nice.”