Mycroft Holmes was a special man. So much was sure for everybody he met, and especially for the people who dealt with him on a more or less regular basis. His codename in the Secret Service was 'Antarctica'. Behind his back they called him 'Cold Fish' or 'Iceman'.
If someone was told to come into his office, they wetted their pants, often enough quite literally. He oozed not only efficiency, intelligence and power. He was a dangerous man and nobody would say otherwise.
When he was upset, his voice got very quiet. His blue eyes with the long lashes narrowed, and he pursed his lips in a way that augured ill. People tended to shiver and stammer in his presence, dying for getting away from him as soon as possible. Not because he was appalling in his personal appearance; he was tall and handsome and impeccably neat and he smelled nice. But he was also simply frightening and intimidating.
None of these people claimed to know him; all they knew that he was very smart and very important and a man not be messed with.
There were two facts about him they wouldn’t have guessed in their wildest dreams. The first one was a secret of huge dimensions – Mycroft Holmes, known to some people as the British Government, was, despite his cold appearance, in a loving, committed relationship with nobody else than his own little brother, the admired and famous consulting detective Sherlock Holmes. This very special relationship had started after the dark events of Sherrinford and was going on for more than a year now, and both men were decidedly happy with it.
The other fact was not in the least illegal, immoral or, if it had concerned someone else, even particularly remarkable. But in his case, one would say it was astonishing: Mycroft Holmes loved Christmas.
He had always done that, as the chubby kid he had been, as a young adult, living on his own, and now in his middle age. Christmas meant warmth and candles and candy and silly songs and old films. He loved to decorate his house and humming to ‘White Christmas’. For many years though, Christmas had been a challenging time for him. He couldn’t stand spending more than a day with his parents; they were simply too demanding and annoying, as lovely as they were. He didn’t have any friends as he didn’t like any other people. Apart from Sherlock, and they had been estranged for ages. So Christmas had become a time of melancholy and sadness underneath the joys of preparing it a long time ago. Something had been missing, or better, someone. Sherlock.
Then he and his brother had got together and the times of loneliness had been over. Sherlock was his one and only, which he had always been, but now Mycroft was allowed to kiss him and touch him and make love to him and indulge in all the sentiment he had pretended to despise because he had thought Sherlock despised him.
In the end they had figured out that Sherlock's feelings for him had been confused and complicated and disturbing and Sherrinford had finally made him understand that what he was struggling with was love and desire for his older brother. An older brother who had loved him in a very unusual way for ages and known it very well but of course had repressed and cursed these feelings as he had considered them to be horribly wrong. But probably he had mostly considered them wrong and immoral because he would have never thought Sherlock could return them. When they had spoken this all out, it had been surprisingly easy to accept that they did have these feelings and suddenly they couldn’t wait to act on them, and they had indulged in many physical pleasures since then, as discreet as they had to be about it and as little time as they both had.
That John Watson had not moved back into 221B Baker Street after it had been built up again after the explosion made things slightly easier. He still solved the occasional case with Sherlock but mostly focused on his daughter, his new girlfriend and his job in the clinic. So it was possible for Mycroft to visit Sherlock even though they had to be careful and restrain themselves thanks to the nosy Mrs Hudson, who had come close to seeing things she wasn't supposed to already one frightening time. During the past weeks it had been exceptionally difficult to be together though as their respective professions had kept them very busy.
Nonetheless - they were making it work and it was a pleasure to be around each other when they managed to make time for each other and Sherlock definitely enjoyed their shared moments as much as he did.
But there was a little problem: Sherlock hated Christmas.
His brother despised everything about it. He couldn’t stand Christmas songs, let alone –films. He could glare hatefully at the prettiest baubles and snort at the smallest porcelain figure on a board. People who chased the best Christmas present were anathema to him. As far as he was concerned, Christmas could just get cancelled.
It was a shame, Mycroft thought. Little Sherlock had liked the festival like every other child (except Eurus). He had stared at all the presents and the Christmas tree with glistening eyes. But when Victor had disappeared short before this one Christmas, his personality had changed completely. His brother had forgotten about Victor and Eurus, but somehow he had unconsciously associated Christmas with the loss of his friend, at least this was what Mycroft assumed. His brother had got colder and more unapproachable over the years and he had never felt anything else but contempt for Christmas and everything that surrounded it, in addition to his usual dislike of the masses.
Mycroft had tried his best the year before, the first Christmas they had spent as a couple. On Christmas Eve, Sherlock had come over for dinner and they had made love in front of the fireplace and it had been amazing but Sherlock had still glared at the decoration and hadn't been able to refrain from a few nasty remarks. Mycroft had been a bit hurt and got pretty drunk.
They had visited their parents on Christmas Day as Mummy hadn't stopped nagging and Sherlock had tried to behave as if he wasn't completely annoyed. Gleefully, he had pulled Mycroft into his room before dinner, performing a hot quickie with Mycroft pressed against the door, and it had certainly helped improving the mood. This year they wouldn’t go to their parents though; the older Holmeses had other plans, and he had to admit it was a relief.
On Boxing Day Sherlock had declared Christmas closed and Mycroft had hurried to remove every bit of decoration. He didn’t blame Sherlock for his dislike of this event; it was not his fault after all. In the end it was just something else Eurus was to blame for. But he thought it was a pity nonetheless.
It had not been as bad as the Christmas before when Sherlock had drugged his punch and stolen his laptop to sell state secrets to a criminal but it had still not been that nice.
So this year he had a plan. He would prepare Sherlock for Christmas and make him enjoy it so he could thoroughly enjoy it as well. It wasn’t that important of course. They were happy together and Mycroft adored his complicated little brother the way he was. But if he could give him a little joy in the time of year that he cherished so much, he would do everything in his power to make it happen.
And nobody could doubt that Mycroft Holmes was a very powerful man.
“It's so warm…”
“Huh?” Sherlock looked up from his phone. “It's 12.5 °C.”
John grimaced. “Yeah! But tomorrow's the first of December so it shouldn’t be so warm. And rainy…”
“We're in London, John. What do you expect? Masses of snow?”
The doctor shrugged. “No. But when I was a kid, it did snow at Christmas.”
Sherlock winced. “It's not Christmas! It's not even close to Christmas!” And who cared if it snowed then or not? How old was John – five? Would he be waiting for Father Christmas to come down the chimney, holding a plate full of biscuits, ready to tell him he'd been a good boy?!
“Barely more than three weeks, Sherlock. They'll go by like nothing. Bobbie made me an advent calendar. Rosie got one, too, of course but she also made one for me, you know, twenty-four tiny bags on a cord with cute little treats in them. I can't wait to open the first one tomorrow!”
Sherlock silently counted to ten. Yes, 'Bobbie' Roberta Connors, a tough lawyer with long, red hair, frighteningly big breasts and lots of chutzpah, had been John's flame for about eight months now. Sherlock did know a few things about being in love even though John had no idea about it. Yes, she was great with Rosie. He had not met her more often than three times but he could say she seemed to be very decent and surely John loved her a lot. But talking about advent calendars! Little treats in tiny bags! A grown, rough man like John! This silly grin! And Christmas… It was not even December for God's sake! As if it wasn't enough that the stores had started selling Christmas sweets in September already… “I wonder where this client is…” he mumbled. Someone save him from this nonsense.
“She'll be there in a minute I'm sure.”
Sherlock hoped so. She had written a request under John's blog (which wasn't getting updated anymore but he still got notifications about comments) and since John only had to work in the afternoon, he had been free to come over. It was nice. Things between them were good again. John had apologised for his violence and they were good. They were not the same as before The Fall and Mary's death. Probably they would never be; none of them was still the same man he had been before all those troubles, losses and difficulties. But they were still good.
And things between him and his brother were even better. They hadn't seen a lot of each other lately but life would probably calm down on Mycroft's side now. It usually did in the last month of the year. But Sherlock would have enough cases probably. People got insane because of Christmas… Sherlock did understand them in a way…
Would Mycroft have a Christmas tree again? Would he put grinning little angels everywhere again? Would he play those appalling songs again? Who would have known his brother was so sentimental about a festival for children? It was sweet in a way of course but still…
At least they wouldn’t have to drag themselves north to visit their parents again. Thank God for small mercies…
“I hate to know you'll spend Christmas alone this year.”
John shrugged. “Last year I had to work on Christmas Eve and the next day you were gone to your parents. And this year I'll be away for a week.”
Speaking of small mercies… Sherlock wondered how he would have got out of an invitation to spend Christmas with John and his two girls. The sheer thought made his toes curl. Mrs Hudson had given up throwing Christmas parties and preferred spending it elsewhere. There wouldn’t have been anyone to party with anyway. Molly had a nice, harmless, boring boyfriend now (she had said this 'I love you' torture in Sherrinford had somehow freed her from her pining for him and sociopaths in general; he hadn't understood that but welcomed it nonetheless) and wouldn’t be available. Lestrade had reconciled with his wife and would go on holiday with her, too. So Sherlock would spend the whole time with Mycroft. Which was very nice. More than nice. Excellent! Exciting! If his brother just wasn't so fond of all this Christmas nonsense…
“I'll be fine,” he assured John. “You know I like to ignore this childish bullshit as much as I can.”
John sighed. “You're really not a romantic.”
Sherlock snorted. “What did you expect? From me?” It wasn't even true. Sherlock could be very romantic. With Mycroft. If it wasn't Christmas…
The doorbell rang and ended their conversation. Sherlock was glad to have something to do.
And when he got a text from his brother right after he had solved the easy but not totally uninteresting case and quickly arranged a meeting for the evening, his mood got even better, and thinking of an experiment he had wanted to do for ages and had finally got the last missing ingredient this morning so he could throw himself into it as soon as the mixture was ready was the icing on the cake.
“Sorry for the delay. A tiny explosion, Mrs Hudson being annoying because of it, traffic, stupid people - you name it.”
Mycroft smiled. “No worries. And you look good with the half-eyebrow.” He took Sherlock's coat and hung it up and then patted Sherlock's arm when the younger man embraced him from behind and nuzzled his face against Mycroft's neck. “I missed you, too, little brother, and I'm very glad you didn’t manage to blow yourself up. Shall we have dinner first though?”
Sherlock rolled his eyes good-naturedly. “I'm supposed to eat again? I've got other things on my mind…” It had been way too long since they had met. Four days! It was appalling.
“I'm sure you do but humour me, please.”
“That was exactly what I had on my mind…” Sherlock gave him a peck on the cheek.
Mycroft laughed. “Cheeky boy. We'll get there, I promise. But first we both need some fuel.”
“Right, Mummy. Ow!” Sherlock rubbed his arse, delighted. Was Mycroft in the mood for some naughty play tonight? It did happen once in a while – nothing exceptionally dirty but extra exciting nonetheless.
But his brother raised his eyebrows. “Insolent brats don't get rewarded by kinky sex, Sherlock.”
“This particular insolent brat could get on his knees and suck you off.”
“He could. But before, he'll get something more substantial between his teeth.”
“Oh, I think your cock is impressively substantial.”
Mycroft laughed before he plastered a stern expression on his face. “Dining room. Now.”
“All right, all right. Feed me, oh omnipotent big brother of mine.”
“Potent I am.”
“No doubt about it.”
And finally Mycroft kissed him and damn, his brother was a great kisser. Sherlock's knees got all weak and shaky while their tongues were dancing this irresistible dance of love, passion, and desire. Yeah, and incest…
Mycroft looked decidedly flushed when he broke the kiss eventually. “You're ruining my cooking efforts.”
“Ah, I'm sure you've included this in your calculation.”
Mycroft gave him a smug smile. “In fact I have.”
Of course he had. Mycroft was smart. And Sherlock was completely crazy for him.
His brother was a great cook, so much was sure. Not that this had ever surprised Sherlock. His brother was basically great at everything if it didn’t involve being nice to the masses or annoying relatives.
In any way the fish was melting on his tongue and tasted delicately spicy, the delicious sauce engulfed perfect potatoes and the green salad was fresh and crunchy. Sherlock realised he was a bit hungry and caught himself eating with good appetite, which pleased his brother, naturally.
“More sauce?” he asked with a smile that was rather fond than smug.
“Yes, please. You should quit your nasty job and own a restaurant.”
Mycroft grinned. “I only like to cook for you and me, little brother.”
They sat in silence for a moment before they both started to speak simultaneously.
“There's something nice I thought about doing for and with you until Christmas…” said Mycroft.
“Can you believe John's girlfriend made him a sappy advent calendar for him?” said Sherlock. Mycroft's cheeks flushed and Sherlock opened his eyes widely. “No way…” Mycroft had made him an advent calendar?! Nothing so embarrassing like sweets in little bags. It would be something completely different but still an advent calendar…
Mycroft cleared his throat. “Forget it, Sherlock. It was a stupid idea.”
He was avoiding his look, going on eating, but Sherlock could see he was hurt, and he cursed himself. He knew how much Mycroft fancied this Christmas stuff. He should have seen this coming! And what now? “It's okay.” No, that sounded ghastly… “I mean I don't mind…” Dammit!
Mycroft got up and grabbed his empty plate, his face a mask of almost believable indifference. “I'll get the dessert.”
“Really, Mycroft, I…”
“Never mind, little brother.” And with this he left, and Sherlock felt very bad, his thoughts whirling.
The moment his brother returned with two little bowls with chocolate mousse, Sherlock's phone rang and he cursed himself even more. He fumbled for it to turn it off and saw that it was Lestrade.
His brother read it from his face. “Answer it, Sherlock. It will be a case.”
“I'm not taking it.”
“Yes you are. We can meet again tomorrow if you have time.”
Sherlock didn’t like this at all. But he also didn’t know how to deal with a Mycroft feeling bad about something he had done unintentionally. Sure, he had insulted Mycroft almost all his adult life as things had been very complicated between them and it had been his way of dealing with it; a bad way that was over for good. They loved each other. They were lovers in every sense of the word. And now Mycroft was hurt because Sherlock couldn’t share his adoration for Christmas and nothing Sherlock could say would make him believe he had miraculously changed his mind about it. He had acted like an idiot and he didn’t know how to make up for it so as horrible as it was, a part of him was glad Lestrade would need him tonight…
He took the call and yes, his presence was required in South London where a rich man had found an untimely death in an area he shouldn’t have been in.
“I'm sorry,” he said, getting up, and he didn’t only mean the fact that he had to leave.
Mycroft smiled at him. “No worries, dear. Everything is fine.”
But it wasn't, and when Sherlock kissed him goodbye, holding him extra close, he knew he had to make it better.