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Hiding in Plain Sight

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Mycroft Holmes sat upon a rigid throne behind a fortress of mahogany, diligently attending to the never-ending stacks of paperwork on his desk. He had just released a quiet sigh of discontent when his assistant, Anthea, alerted him to an important incoming call.

"It's Dr. Coleman with an update on the vampire situation in Lower Clapton." She informed him as she transferred the call to his desk phone.

"Ah, yes." He replied curtly before answering.

"Dr. Coleman," The eldest Holmes brother greeted with a false tone of light cheer. "I do hope that things are being handled rather discreetly regarding this infestation."

A pause from the Men of Letter's head of security, however, alerted Mycroft to trouble. "Well, Mr. Holmes, we did have everything under control. That is until..."

Mycroft drew in a sharp breath and held it.

"...apparently, two or more of them were involved with an official police murder investigation that Sherlock was assigned to."

Mycroft didn't bother trying to conceal the frustrated groan that emanated from him upon this revelation. "He chased them off, then." He supplied, from simple deductions of his little brother's boringly predictable habits. Mycroft ran a hand over his facial features before posing a follow-up question. "Did he manage to capture or kill any of them at least?"

"No." Was the simple reply. "And now, the entire nest has been alerted. They've scattered into the wind, I'm afraid."

"I see. Do put Ketch and his team on it, then. It will take longer and require more resources, but we will still be able to exterminate them all."

"Yes, sir."

Mycroft swiftly returned the phone to it's receiver and then stared at it with scrutiny for a few moments, before turning to his assistant. "Anthea, I need you to do a pick up and then meet me at the old warehouse in precisely ninety minutes." He ordered.

******************************************************************

"What in the bloody hell do think you're playing at? Do you have any idea who I am?!?" A gentleman with salt and pepper hair barked as he exited the sleek black car in the middle of the warehouse. The sound of the passenger door slamming echoed through the building. Anthea quickly and quietly guided him over in her bosses direction, before returning to the vehicle.

Mycroft was standing with one foot crossed over the other ankle, leaning into his umbrella for balance. A bright overhead light lit him nicely from above in the abandoned warehouse. It was all quite theatric, which Mycroft throughly enjoyed. A genuinely pleased smile presented itself before he opened his mouth to speak.

"Yes, my apologies, Detective Inspector Lestrade. But it was imperative that we met as soon as possible."

Upon hearing his name and title the other man's body relaxed ever so slightly. "I'm sure you're aware that I do, in fact, possess a mobile phone." Greg snarked.

Mycroft tried not to smirk, though he was amused at the sarcasm. "I prefer to meet with persons-of-interest face to face." He explained.

"Ay, but I could have you arrested for kidnapping. And a detective inspector, no less." But his voice quickly dropped it's anger as he took in his surroundings.

"With all due respect, it may very well be an intriguing endeavor on your part. I certainly might get a thrill out of you putting me in handcuffs, however." Mycroft speculated boldly. The D.I.'s eyes went wide at that statement, but then his whole demeanor shifted to one of flirtation. The older man was so expressive and his devilishly handsome good looks had Mycroft's thoughts in an unusual place. Not that he never...well, anyway...He cleared his throat to ground himself back to reality. "We need to talk about Sherlock."

"Ah, bloody Christ!" Lestrade threw his whole body into the statement. His body tensed, he dipped his head, and his hands shot up. "I should have known. What with all the drama and the craziness that this," Greg gestured around the room and back towards the car, "whole meeting puts off. Geez, Is everything with Sherlock this obnoxious?"

Mycroft smiled lightly and dipped his head to try to hide his amusement. "Yes. I'm afraid that you've only just begun to uncover the eccentric nature of all that encompasses my little brother."

"...brother..." Greg said the word quietly and thoughtfully, like he was testing it out. "Alright." He stated, steeling himself a bit more and looking directly at the eldest Holmes brother. "What is it that you want to talk about?"

"Well, Detective Inspector Lestrade, as the elder brother it is my utmost responsibility to ensure Sherlock's safety, general well being, and to clean up his messes. However, because of the minor position that I hold in the British government, Sherlock's...escapades...tend to often interfere directly with my line of work." Mycroft sighed heavily and the D.I. took the opportunity to speak.

"You don't have to use my full title, it's a bit of mouthful, yeah? Greg is fine. Also, I didn't catch your name."

Mycroft found himself a bit stunned by this. Perhaps it was because the Inspector's attention was so obviously on him and not on the consulting detective they were meant to be discussing. After a moment of recovery, he replied. "Oh my. Do excuse my manners. The name is Mycroft Holmes."

"Mycroft. Seems fitting. An unusual name for an unusual gent...with an unusual brother." Greg smiled widely.

Mycroft blushed slightly under the D.I.'s gaze. He paused for a moment to fully read the man in front of him; The way he held himself, leaning in towards him slightly. The smile radiating confidence, but there was also the way he grasped one hand loosely in the other across his body, as though still guarded. The smile didn't completely reach his eyes: Nervousness. Speaking of his eyes, they were a beautiful shade of dark brown. Bagged underneath from sleepless nights, at the office, no doubt. He must spend most nights there, what with the state of his suit. Being a detective inspector doesn't pay as well as one might think.

He quickly wondered just how many suits the man owned. It seemed that the one he was in was worn rather frequently. Then there's the matter of that dastardly ring on his finger. Unhappily married though, as indicated by the tan line not standing out as much as it should if he never took it off, and the indentation not as prominent. No, it seemed this man was married more to his work than his spouse, and was not always faithful to either. The one thing he couldn't quite figure out is why the other man seemed to have an interest in him.

He must have been staring a bit to sharply because the Inspector seemed to clam up a bit under his scrutiny. "Right. My brother. The matter that we're discussing." He said, mostly to remind himself what he was supposed to be doing because this damn gorgeous flirt in front of him was disrupting his thoughts.

"Right." Greg's smile grew impossibly larger and he chuckled.

Despite himself, Mycroft returned the chuckle. "I really do need to have this discussion with you."

"You DO know that, while yes, it's your job to worry about your little brother, it's not actually your job to take on the full responsibility of his well being and you don't have to clean up his messes. In fact, you probably shouldn't. Sherlock has to learn how to do those things for himself."

Mycroft utilized a few seconds to internalize Greg's words. "I suppose you are correct, for the most part. However, Sherlock is a bit of a special case. And, again, his messes usually end up disrupting my most exceedingly crucial work. Not to mention, as with all addicts, he needs a bit more support to ensure that he's taking proper care of himself."

That shut Greg up spectacularly. Enough so, that Mycroft raised an eyebrow in question at the older man. "Surely, you knew about Sherlock's condition?"

"I...I had suspected." He confessed, rubbing the back of his neck with one of his broad hands. "Just...I was just hoping that I was wrong, is all."

"Oh, Gregory." Holmes despaired. Greg's eyes shot up to hold his gaze at the sound of his name on Mycroft's lips. "My brother has a brilliant mind, as you've witnessed, but unfortunately he does not handle 'feelings' or 'emotions' very well. I'm sure you'll come to learn this."

"Alas, the work that he's begun recently is good for him, as well as your police force. I don't wish to discourage it, only to monitor it." He finished.

"Monitor it." Greg parroted.

"Are you aware how often you repeat others?"

Greg ignored that comment. "What exactly are you asking of me?" He questioned instead.

"I can monitor my little brother quite well on my own," Mycroft assured. "However, it would be immensely helpful, were you to relay information and perhaps even steer him away from certain cases or situations."

"You're asking me to be Sherlock's handler, aren't you?"

Mycroft looked down at Greg's shoes as one corner of his mouth turned up in smirk (He seemed to be doing a lot of that in Gregory's presence.) before redirecting his gaze back to Greg's dark chocolate eyes. "I suppose if you really must put a word to it, then yes."

"No." Greg said defiantly.

Hmm. Interesting. Not that Mycroft couldn't just force his way, but he would much prefer not to. Besides, he only needed to invoke more favorable words of reason in order for Gregory to agree to his ways. "I would have to ask that you reconsider. For Queen and Country, and for the sake of the world itself."

Greg scoffed. "You really are a drama queen, Mycroft Holmes."

"I won't deny it, but my previous statement is true. There are things that you are unaware of out there, Gregory. Things that, if exposed, could destroy our entire world. I'm simply asking that you play a part in not allowing that to happen."

"What kind of things?"

"I'm afraid I can't indulge."

Greg’s confusion and hesitation was written across his features.

Mycroft sighed. (He was doing that a lot today too.) The lanky man then raised his left hand above his head, signaling his assistant. "Gregory, please." He practically whispered. "The sake of the world aside, I know you're fond of Sherlock and I suspect that you would like to see him reach his full potential as well."

Greg looked deeply into Mycroft's eyes for some time, searching for something. Seemingly having found what he was looking for, he nodded. "Yeah. Alright."

"Good. Anthea! Please escort our guest, here, to his location of choosing."

Chapter Text

Dean sat hunched atop an old wooden table in the abandoned barn, twirling his knife into the structure beneath him. An exasperated sigh left him and he rolled his eyes in annoyance.

"You sure you did the ritual right?" He whined at Bobby. The older man glared daggers at him, and Dean immediately apologized. He knew it wasn't Bobby's fault. He was just tired of waiting. "Touchy, touchy, huh?" He added sarcastically, because that's his default position.

In an instant, the old metal shingles on the roof of the barn started clanging and knocking heavily.

Dean and Bobby were immediately up and ready, on high alert. "Wishful thinking, but maybe it's just the wind." The younger man voiced as the noise continued. Bobby just shrugged his shoulders in response.

Suddenly, the lightbulbs above the hunters began to blow out, shooting cascading showers of sparks. A shadowy figure, that Dean couldn't quite make out because of the fluctuation of light, sulked into the barn. The figure approached slowly but surely, walking right past all of the sigils and wardings that the hunters had laid for the being.

Bobby and Dean shared a glance with each other, perplexed. As the thing came forward, it was obvious that it resembled a man. He was shorter than Dean, with dangerously dark spiky hair and unnaturally piercing blue eyes.

Both hunters seemed to be backed into a corner now, and so they started shooting. The ammunition penetrated the chest of the man over and over as he continued to walk towards them, unfazed. 'Shit, shit, shit.' Was all Dean could think, and it was written plainly across his face. The unknown being stopped a few feet in front of Dean.

The young hunter scrambled to grab the demon knife off of the table behind him, and held it behind his back. "Who are you?" He demanded sternly.

"I'm the one who gripped you tight and raised you from perdition." The man answered in an impossibly deep baritone.

"Yeah?" Dean's lip curled up in a sneer. "Thanks for that." He said flatly before shoving the knife straight into the man's heart.

The mysterious man swayed with the force of the blow. Then he grabbed the handle, pulled it back out, and dropped it to the floor, completely unaffected.

Dean's eyes went wide and his mouth went slack. What the fuck was he supposed to do now?

Bobby raised an eyebrow at Dean, then he raised the crowbar he had in his hand. As he prepared to strike, however, the being turned around and grabbed the weapon. Fingers were then laid upon his forehead and the old man instantly crumpled to the ground.

Dean swallowed thickly. He was completely out of his comfort zone and he didn't know what to do next. It was an unusual predicament for him.

"We need to talk Dean." The creature announced. "Alone." He added, while looking curiously down at the collapsed hunter.

**************************************************

Dean knelt over Bobby, contemplating checking for his pulse.

"Your friend's alive." The being stated absentmindedly. He was now leaned into the wooden table, flipping through some of the hunter's notes that were left there.

"Who are you?" Dean demanded again.

" Castiel."

"Yeah, I figured as much. I mean, what are you?" He growled, staring coldly at the creature.

The man looked up from his reading to fix his gaze on Dean. "I am an angel of the lord." He responded simply, as though it was obvious.

Dean stood slowly from where he was crouched down. "Get the hell out of here. There's no such thing." His voice was bitter and he was agitated. Angry that this, thing, took him for a fool.

"This is your problem, Dean. You have no faith." Castiel told him condescendingly, his icy blue eyes boring into Dean's.

A crack of thunder made the hunter draw back slightly. The angel proceeded to stand as tall as his vessel would allow. Then lightning crackled and lit up the interior of the barn in flashes. The sharp sound of thunder accompanied the strikes and in the light, two shadows emerged from behind the proclaimed angel. They spread out from both sides, big and significant, unfurling wings from this creature, now out and on full display.

Dean became dumbstruck with awe for a split second, but that instantly melted into rage. "Some angel you are." He spat viciously. "You burned out that poor woman's eyes."

Castiel peered down at the ground and then turned his head to the side before looking back up at the Winchester. Then he sundered over, closer still to Dean. "I warned her not to spy on my true form. It can be...overwhelming...to humans." He intoned. "So can my real voice, but you already knew that."

"You mean the gas station and the motel. That was you talking?" The angel nodded. "Buddy, next time, lower the volume."

"It was my mistake." Castiel admitted. "Certain people, special people, can perceive my true visage. I thought you would be one of them." He explained. "I was wrong."

"And what 'visage' are you in now, huh? What, holy tax accountant?" Dean snarked.

"This?" Castiel grabbed at the trench coat covering him and looked down at it thoughtfully. "This is...a vessel." He peered back up at Dean through his lashes.

"You're possessing some poor bastard?" He asked in disbelief. Uneasy at the thought.

"He's a devout man. He actually prayed for this." Castiel affirmed with a small smile.

Dean's anger erupted. "Look pal, I'm not buying what your selling. So, who are you, really?"

Castiel furrowed his brows slightly, and tilted his head to the side. "I told you." He declared firmly.

The hunter rolled his eyes. "Right. And why would an 'angel' rescue me from hell?" He bit out.

Castiel ventured closer still. It made Dean uneasy. "Good things do happen, Dean." He assured, stopping only when he was within inches of the man.

"Not in my experience." The phrase was hard, but the tone was softer. It caused the angel to recede.

"What's the matter?" Castiel asked, his brows furrowing tighter as he attempted to read Dean's facial features. His head tilted to the side again upon realization. "You don't think you deserve to be saved." He mused aloud.

Dean's lips parted to protest and he dropped his head slightly, but no words came. He tried to steel himself instead and his nostrils flared as he fought back the sting of tears. "Why'd you do it?" He demanded.

Castiel's head righted itself and his lips pulled tight for a moment before he answered. "Because God commanded it." The angel asserted. His eyes locked onto Dean's. "We have work for you."

**************************************************

Dean sat on a park bench, watching kids run around on the playground in front of him. He felt Cas' presence before he ever saw him. "Let me guess, you're here for the 'I told you so'." He voiced without looking over at the angel.

"No." The angel rasped.

Dean shrugged. "Well, good. Cause I'm really not that interested."

A moment passed in silence before Cas looked over to Dean. "I am not here to judge you, Dean." He tried to assure.

The hunter locked his eyes on Cas'. "Then why are you here?" What other reason was there?

Cas drew in a long breath and glanced back at the playground. "Our orders-" The angel began. "-Yeah, I've had about enough of these orders of yours-." Dean interrupted, but Cas cut back in. "Our orders," He said louder this time, "Were not to stop the summoning of Sam Hane. They were to do whatever you told us to do."

This revelation startled Dean a bit. He leaned forward and rested his elbows on his knees. "Your orders were to follow my orders?" The hunter reiterated.

"It was a test," Cas confirmed. "to see how you would preform under...battlefield conditions, you might say."

Dean took a minute to process this. He shook his head and licked his lips as he gathered his thoughts. He tossed his hands up without them leaving the safety of his knees. "It was a witch." He explained to the angel. "Not a tad offensive." He added sarcastically, and that managed to coax a huff of laughter from the etherial being.

The gesture quietly softened something inside of Dean.

"So, I, uh, failed your test, huh?" The hunter pursed his lips and nodded. "I get it. But you know what? If you were to wave that magic...time traveling wand of yours, and we had to do it all over again, I would make the same call." He stared defiantly at Cas as he finished his words. The angel returned the stare and so, Dean continued. "See, I don't know what's going to happen when these 'seals' are broken. Hell, I don't know what's gonna happen tomorrow." Dean shrugged. "What I do know is, that this, here." He gestures to the playground. "These kids, the swings, the trees, all of it. Is still here because of my brother and me."

"You miss understand me, Dean." Cas objected. "I am not like you think. I...I was praying that you would choose to save the town."

"-you were?" Come on. That couldn't be right, could it?

"These people." The angel stated, leaning forward as Dean had done, and placing his elbows on his knees in the same gesture. "They're all my Father's creations. They're works of art."

A smile pulled at Dean's lips as he watched Cas observe the scene in front of them.

How was Cas such an oxymoron? And how was Dean supposed to build (let alone keep) walls up around him, when he contradicted everything he thought angels were? Maybe Cas wasn't a total dick, like the rest of his command. Maybe.

"...and yet, even though you stopped Sam Hane, the seal was broken. And we are one step closer to hell on Earth for all creation." The hunter cringed at the implication. "Now, that's not an expression, Dean. It's literal." They shared yet another glance. They seemed to do that a lot. "You of all people should appreciate what that means."

Dean roughly swallowed down the panic that intruded his mind along with the horrible memories of hell. The heavy gaze of the angel made him steel himself, however. He would not break in his presence. But then, the angel really managed to surprise him. "Can I tell you something, if you promise not to tell another soul?" Cas' voice was softer now. Unsure.

It intrigued Dean, so he shrugged slightly and tried to keep the inflection out of his voice when he replied, "Okay."

"I'm not, um," Cas dropped his head. "a 'hammer', as you say." He shifted his gaze back to Dean. "I have questions. I have...doubts. I don't know what is right and what is wrong anymore. Whether you passed or failed, here." The confession was raw, honest.

Dean inhaled slowly as Cas continued, "But, in the coming months you will have more decisions to make. I...don't envy the weight that's on your shoulders, Dean." The pity in Cas' eyes churned Dean's insides. "I truly don't."

Dean let out the breath he didn't know he was holding and sat back into the bench. A whoosh signaled Castiel's departure.

Well, fuck.

Chapter Text

Sherlock released the tension in the make shift tourniquet around his arm, the chemical compound now mingling with the red blood cells in his veins. A sigh of relief escaped him and he slumped against the dingy wall of the slum house he was in. Sherlock closed his eyes and began assessing the changes in his body as the cocaine solution took hold. Increased heart rate, an added alertness to his mind, and yet a pleasant buzz from dopamines flooding his brain.

A deep chuckle emanated from him without his permission. The person passed out on the dirty mattress next to his stirred briefly at the noise. Then another noise, this one sharp, filled the air for a fleeting second. It sounded muffled to Sherlock, like he was underwater and the noise came from above the surface. There it was again. Curiously familiar. 'Don't concern yourself with it.' He scolded himself, unsure if he thought it or said it out loud. He came here to get enveloped in the high, an escape from himself and the world around him. But that annoying sound pulled him from it yet a third time.

'Phone.' His subconscious supplied. 'Ah, yes. Of course.' With some effort, he pulled himself back into the current world and fished his phone out of his pocket. Three texts from D.I. Lestrade. A case! And it wasn't far from here! Sherlock briefly wondered if he should go in his altered state, but he was on uppers and he knew they would only sharpen his focus if concentrated.

********************************

Barely twenty minutes after the D.I.'s first text was sent, Sherlock arrived at the address he had been provided.

"You look like shit." Lestrade stated plainly as the consulting detective approached.

Ah. Yes. He had come straight from the drug den, clad in sweats and a hoodie. A far cry from his usual attire of dress wear topped with his Belstaff.

Sherlock halted in front of the other man. "Yes, well, even at my worst I am still worth a thousand times more than your most competent officers at their best." Sherlock retorted with sincere arrogance.

Lestrade eyed the tall man suspiciously. He clasped a firm hand around one of Sherlock's forearms, preventing him from getting any closer to the body lying in the alleyway. It was still swarmed by half of the forensic team anyway. Greg's gaze intensified as he soaked in the sight before him. The raggedy appearance, the dilated pupils, and the buzzing energy overflowing and causing Sherlock to bounce on his heels.

Sherlock tried valiantly to jerk his arm back from Lestrade's grip, but the D.I. refused to be shaken off.

"Sherlock, what in God's name are you doing, showing up to a crime scene high as a fucking kite?" He whispered sternly as his eyes searched to make sure no one else was in hearing distance.

"What are you on about Lestrade? I'm fine. Better than fine, actually. Now let me go." Sherlock growled.

On the contrary, the older man twisted Sherlock's arm behind him forcefully and pushed him forward, effectively bringing him to his knees. "I know you think we're all just worthless idiots, Sherlock. But it is quite literally my job to observe these things." He explained as he proceeded to put him in handcuffs.

"What the hell do you think you're doing? Let me go!" Sherlock shouted. "I need to examine the body! You need me! You need my help!-"

"No. Absolutely not. I'm not letting you fuck up my entire crime scene in your altered state." Greg pulled the young man onto his feet and managed to walk him over to the squad car, despite Sherlock's protests. "You're so-called 'Consulting Detective' job is a privilege, Sherlock. You're lucky I don't have you tried for contempt, among other things."

"Oh, please." Sherlock rolled his blood shot eyes. Lestrade shoved him ungracefully into the back seat, slammed the door, and then locked it. "I'll deal with you after I wrap up here."

"You're making a mistake." Sherlock shouted. "You NEED me!"

'What a drama queen! Just like his brother.' Greg supposed, shaking his head.

******************************

Sherlock was a thorn in Greg's side for the entire ride back to the Scotland Yard. He spent the time berating and belittling everyone that had been at the crime scene today. By name. And in great detail. "Shut up, Sherlock." The D.I. groaned when he finally pulled into a parking space. "Jesus, you're insufferable."

"All this energy has to go somewhere, Lestrade. Since I am unable to expend it physically or mentally, verbally is the only option left."

Greg looked up into his rear view mirror to glance at Sherlock, then nodded. He couldn't deny that that made perfect sense. He shut off the engine and sighed deeply. It had been a long day already, and it was about to get even longer. "I'm going to put you in a holding cell to finish riding out...whatever this is." Greg explained.

Sherlock didn't argue. He simply followed where Lestrade lead him. Honestly, he was just thankful for a safe place to crash. The downfall was imminent. He felt it coming on, like a train barreling towards a cliff's edge at high speeds.

In fact, he barely managed to make it to the cell before the world around him was consumed by blackness. Before it completely overtook him, an intangible feeling of respect for Detective Inspector Lestrade registered in Sherlock's mind, then a feeling of warmth, and then there was nothing.

********************************

An undeterminable amount of time later, Sherlock stirred and became vaguely aware of a dull pain shooting up through his left shoulder. His mouth was also devastatingly dry, and his head pounded. He groaned loudly as he readjusted into an uprighted position. A flimsy blanket fell off of him and onto the floor in a pathetic heap.

Another groan left him when he realized he wasn't alone. Lestrade was there, sitting on a bench opposite him, and he was staring intently at Sherlock.

"I found your list." The statement hung heavy in the air, because those four words told Sherlock an entire story. "You've met with my brother." It wasn't a question, just a deduction. Greg simply nodded. "You know, I didn't want to believe Mycroft when he told me you were an addict." The D.I. grimaced on the last word, then brought his left thumb up to scratch absently at an eyebrow. It was then that Sherlock noticed his other hand was occupied with a tiny plastic cup. Greg handed the water to Sherlock, who snatched it up and sipped it down quickly. "I am not an addict. I am a user." Sherlock clarified, as though it made a difference to the other man. "I use to alleviate boredom or to heighten my thinking processes." He tossed the cup back to Greg, who caught it easily.

"Yeah, well, you shouldn't." He voiced sternly. "You can't honestly expect to be allowed to do your 'consulting detective' thing, if you continue to put drugs in your system. I don't care how good you are, there are RULES, Sherlock. Rules that even YOU have to follow."

Sherlock rolled his his eyes and Greg gritted his teeth in agitation. "Jesus, you're lucky you aren't dead right now with what you were on!"

"Luck has nothing to do with it, Gerald. I specifically measured the dosage of each component." The taller man snipped.

"It's Greg. And you're playing with fire, Sherlock. One of these days, if you don't stop, you're going to get burned."

***************************************

Lestrade sat at his desk with his head in his hands. A sharp tapping sound, the tip of Mycroft's umbrella on his office door, alerted Greg to the eldest Holmes presence. The cop gave his face a thorough scrub with both hands before rising from his chair and allowing a warm smile to plaster itself on his face. "Mycroft." The D.I. said, low and soft. "It's good to see you. Sorry that it had to be under such unfortunate circumstances."

"Yes, Well, this event was inevitable." Mycroft stated as he finished entering the small office and closed the door behind him. He chose to stay standing, rather than take a seat. So, the detective swaggered over to the front of his desk and leaned his weight back onto in, not quite sitting or standing. Ever the flirtatious rebel. Mycroft briefly imagined how Greg might look splayed out on top of that desk. He cleared his throat. Perhaps another time. "I am quite grateful, however, for the way you handled my little brother both at the crime scene and here at the Yard. With a firm yet understanding disposition."

Greg wondered exactly how he knew what had transpired, and to what depth. CCTV and Witnesses, he figured (rather accurately). Eyes and ears everywhere.

He shrugged to himself. "Sherlock needs a firm hand and he needs to understand that his actions have consequences. But, he's also brilliant and I'd prefer not to charge him for his offenses today. Don't want him to be deemed unfit to work along side my police force."

"Your a wise man, Gregory. A solid head upon your shoulders, indeed." Mycroft praised. The D.I. blushed adorably. He dipped his head and peered up at Mycroft through his lashes. The Holmes brother would never admit to the fluttering he felt in his both his stomach and his heart at that gesture.

"Please do see to it that Sherlock is not charged with anything substantial. I feel obligated to inform you that your career would be in jeopardy should you ever choose to disregard my recommendations." It was said lightly but with a firm sense of certainty.

"I have a feeling that you hold a much higher position in the government than you've lead on. With the way you just said that." Greg laughed cheekily. Then his demeanor turned serious as his gaze wondered ravenously along the length of Mycroft's lean body. "A true man of power." He mused. "I'm glad the responsibility falls on such deserving and capable shoulders."

"Thank you Gregory. How kind of you to say." Mycroft found himself being pulled steadily toward the other man, like a magnetic force. Another man of power, but wrapped in a nonchalant and charismatic shell. How unorthodox. And lovely.

"I do hope that you find time to relax and unwind from time to time." Lestrade's voice dipped in tone as Mycroft had inched closer to him, and he found himself sitting fully back onto the ledge of his desk. "All work and no play make Johnny a dull boy, after all."

Mycroft now stood impossibly close. Greg could feel his heart racing like a wild stallion. He licked his lips and shamelessly parted his legs to invite Mycroft even closer yet. To his surprise, the other man took it. Mycroft stood flush with the desk, lightly pressed into the other man and he placed his hands on either side of him. Greg almost forgot to breathe. Just a minuscule shift forward would have their lips connected.

Mycroft took this opportunity to study the way Greg looked at him. Eyes dilating rapidly, shallow breathing, and an overall look of want. He felt the heat of the other man's body. So close, and yet so far. He wanted him too, but on his own terms, of course. After all, Mycroft was the one that held the real power between them. He was more than capable of controlling his mind and his body, despite the urges. Something Greg seemed to have a harder time denying.

The taller man leaned in to whisper in Greg's ear, breath hot and tickling the sensitive skin. "I get very few precious hours to do with what I please, Gregory. I assure you that I make the most of that time." Greg gasped and shuddered at the implications, and a smirk tugged at Mycroft's lips. He abruptly pulled away from the D.I and stood up straight. A coy smile now plastered on his face.

The smug bastard, thought Greg as Mycroft retreated cooly back to the office door. What a tease. "Perhaps you'll be hearing from me again rather soon, Detective Lestrade."

Chapter Text

******************************************

"Dammit, Cas! Come on!" Dean barked as he stumbled up the incline to the portal.

With one foot through, he turned to reach out for the angel. "Come on!" He shouted again. Cas reached out and took his hand.

"I've got you, come on!" The muscles in his arm strained to hold tight. "Dean!" Cas shouted.

"Hold on!" But the hunter's grip was slipping. "Dean!" The name sounded like a panicked plea from the angel.

Dean watched in horror as their hands were forcefully pulled from one another by the force of the portal, and in an instant, he was gone.

*****************************************

The memories from purgatory stung deep, bare to Dean's soul. The recent sightings of Cas had increased the frequency and the intensity of the flashbacks.

In the hotel bathroom, Dean splashed his face several times with stinging cold water. He allowed the clear liquid to cloak the tears he couldn't hold back as his heart quietly broke for what seemed like the thousandth time since he returned.

Standing in the cold silence, his heart continued to sink as thoughts of what-if plagued his mind. It wasn't fair to blame himself. Even Dean knew that. He did everything in his power to get Cas out. That's what hurt the most, though. That he did everything in his power, and yet he still failed to save him.

Dean reached up and grabbed a hand towel to dry his face on. As he was patting his skin, however, he heard it. The unmistakable sound of angel wings fluttering. A light breeze of disturbed air prickled at the hunter's neck. He dropped the towel (and his jaw) and stared wide eyed at the reflection of his angel in the mirror.

His heart throbbed in his ears as it beat erratically. He turned slowly, hoping not to scare off what must be a hallucination. His eyes scanned the figure from head to toe.

"Hello Dean." All of Dean's doubt left him when he heard the deep rich baritone. "C-Cas?" The hunter's voice broke along with the dam keeping his tears held back. He lifted a hand to the angel's face, needing to touch. To know that he was real. His hand cupped Cas' bearded jaw and it was solid. Dean's other hand came up to clasp a shoulder.

Once he was sure that he was indeed, tangible, Dean pulled him in with all of his might for a fierce hug. He buried his head into Cas' shoulder and he sobbed.

Cas let him. The angel's heart broke as he listened to the quiet sobs and felt the tears seep through his coat. He was the cause of this pain. Why did it feel like he was always a source of pain for Dean, when all he wanted was to bring him peace and comfort?

Realizing that he was standing stiffly under Dean's embrace, he forced himself to relax. He even snaked his arms around the hunter's waist and pulled him in closer. Dean sighed, and his tears began to slow.

They stood like this for quite some time. Long enough to draw concern from the other Winchester in the next room over. "Everything okay in there, Dean? D'ja Fall in?" Sam called.

Dean pulled back slightly from Cas to answer his brother. "I'm fine Sam. Just need a minute to myself." His hands swept up higher to wrap behind Cas' neck.

The angel squinted his eyes and tilted his head as he tried to read the reasoning behind Dean's response on his face. He wasn't very good at reading people, However. Human emotions and feelings were still so complicated to him. He found his gaze settling onto the hunter's lips, and he subconsciously licked his own.

He felt Dean's eyes follow the movement, so he glanced up to find the hunter now fixated on his mouth. The angel swallowed roughly. "Dean-" The name came out breathy and low. It wasn't even all the way across his lips before the hunter stole it from him, pressing their mouths together.

Cas' mind went blissfully blank at the contact. His body on the other hand, responded. His hands splayed out across Dean's lower back, wanting to have more of him in his grasp. Cas' lips meet the pressure of Dean's and he even began to deepen the kiss. A moan rose from his throat and it came out in a growl that Dean swallowed up greedily as he slipped his tongue into the slick heat of Cas' mouth.

This was impossible, Dean thought. And yet, here he was. His angel, solid and sturdy against him. Tasting of earth and lightning. So raw and so powerful. How could he possibly hold back any longer?

Cas' beard scraped against his own stubble as they kissed, reminding Dean of the masculinity that should scare him away. It had for a long time, but it just didn't seem important anymore. He loved the angel, and he wouldn't change a single thing about him.

“Cas...” Dean rested his forehead against Cas' and took a moment to gather his breath and his thoughts. He wanted to apologize. He wanted to make his angel understand what he was feeling. But Dean was never any good with words and it sometimes left things awkward between them. Cas already had so little to go on.

“Cas.” Dean tried again, but he couldn’t seem to say anything more. Fortunately, there was enough emotion behind the way he said the name, that Cas seemed to understand the gist of what he was trying to convey. A smirk lifted at the corner of the angel’s mouth. “Dean.” He replied, and the hunter chuckled before returning the smile.

Chapter Text

Greg stood next to the desk in Mycroft's study, his coat and suit jacket tossed over an armchair. He stared inquisitively at the amber liquid in his glass before setting it down gently. "I shouldn't be here, Myc." The words sounded like a thought voiced, more than an actual protest.

Mycroft, also down to his shirt sleeves, mirrored Lestrade by placing his glass down on the desk. He navigated over to the other man and stood directly behind him, chest to back. He pressed into him and gripped the edge of the desk with both hands, trapping Gregory between the inanimate object and himself. "I disagree." He whispered, his hot breath caressing the shell of Gregory's ear before he kissed the sensitive skin just below.

"Mycroft." It was spoken half way between a weak protest and longing plea. The detective made no attempt to move away, and so Mycroft began trailing kisses down the side of his neck. When he came upon his clothed shoulder he bit down over the fabric, drawing a light breathy moan from Gregory.

"I'm a married man." Greg contended when Mycroft's hands moved up to unbutton his crisp white dress shirt. "Doesn't that bother you?" Mycroft's deft fingers made quick work of the buttons and soon the shirt hung open. "No." He answered clearly as he pulled the fiber barrier off. It fell to floor, leaving bare skin in it's absence.

Fire pulsed through Greg's veins as Mycroft's hands gripped his hips firmly. His tongue traced and his teeth scrapped at the skin where neck met shoulder. Greg closed his eyes, sighed, and tilted his head to allow Mycroft better access.

His body responded readily, and despite himself and he almost dropped the subject. Almost.

"Why?" He pushed. Mycroft sighed into the crook of his neck. "Don't do this. Not tonight."

Greg laid his hands atop Mycroft's and he removed them before turning around to face the other man. He allowed himself to stay trapped between Mycroft and the desk, even though the mutual hardness of their erections was deliciously distracting.

The taller man trailed his fingers slowly up over Gregory's well defined torso. His fingertips teased lightly over a nipple, and he rolled his hips forward.

Greg's head tipped back and he swallowed down a moan. "If I can't stay faithful to her, then I won't be able to be faithful to you either." Greg panted. Mycroft dropped his hand and lifted an eyebrow at him. "I don't require you to be faithful, Gregory. We aren't in a relationship."

Greg frowned. "Right. Right, I know. It's...It's just sex." He cleared his throat and returned his gaze to the other man. "But our jobs overlap too, Mycroft. And If we keep going the way that we're going...Well, someone's going to end up catching feelings."

Mycroft's face fell and he backed up a few steps. Once removed from him, Gregory's hands settled backwards to grip onto the edge of the desk as if to steady himself.

After a few moments in thoughtful silence, Mycroft reached over to retrieve his glass of scotch from the desk and took a tentative sip.

He did not have the luxury of indulging in feelings with his line of work. It's not that he was incapable, but he'd had a lifetime of practice keeping them at bay. Besides, the more space in his brain he dedicated to filling with facts and information, the less space he left for his heart and it's ridiculous whims. Therefore, it was Gregory that was worried about having feelings for Mycroft. Which most likely meant that he was already starting to develop those feelings.

Mycroft sighed in displeasure and the grip on his glass tightened slightly. He should just cut it off here. Gregory was right about their jobs being connected. If things were allowed to continue, there could be some detrimental consequences.

“Gregory...” The detective’s chocolate brown eyes locked onto his and the rest of the sentence died in Mycroft’s throat. He found that he didn’t want to push Gregory away. Perhaps he did have some feelings on the matter, but Mycroft told himself it was because he was already worked up and was hoping for a release.

Then another thought struck him. “You’ve never felt bad about cheating before. What’s different now?” He inquired.

Greg brought a hand up to rub sheepishly at the back of his neck. “My wife and I are on the cusp of a divorce. She’s...she's been working on cleaning up her act. I should too." He shrugged. "Should at least make an effort.”

”Oh please, Gregory. Don't be so dull. She’s off right now having an affair as we...speak.” Mycroft laid the last word on thick, a bit of a devilish look in his eyes. Gregory's face contorted into a grimace. Mycroft might as well have slapped him with the words. Despite this, he continued. “Which means that what’s actually changed is the way that you feel about our arrangement.”

“Arrangement.” Greg repeated in disbelief. He bent over quickly to snatch his shirt off of the hardwood floor. “Huh. Guess I was wrong about her, and about you.” He snapped.

”You knew what this was from the start, Gregory." The politician accused, his cold demeanor now settling in. "Don’t get agitated with me because I haven’t been swooned by your charms like you may have hoped. While I admit that I've enjoyed our time together, I am unable to become emotionally involved." He took another, more generous sip of his liquor. "That would be a risk of national security. My work is of the utmost importance, and therefore, will always come first before anything, or anyone, else.”

The D.I. huffed out a bitter scoff and shoved his shirt back on. He felt over-exposed. Mycroft's words hurt, because Greg actually had hoped that he could sway the man. That he could be an exception to the rule. He thought that he was getting somewhere with the elder Holmes brother. Turns out he was wrong.

Wrong about Mycroft. Wrong about his wife. Wrong about his own damn feelings.

Fuck.

***********************************************

Maybe he was crazy for confronting his wife at her work place, but it wasn't like she was gonna be home anytime soon.

Greg's anger had built substantially on the drive over from Mycroft's flat, causing him to come in hot. The office doors ended up swinging wildly behind him, his over coat flapping behind him in the same frantic fashion. The receptionist startled almost comically.

"Where is she?" He demanded boisterously. "I need to see her!"

The receptionist sat there staring dumbfounded at the detective with her jaw slack. It caused his anger to surge. He hammered his fist down onto the desk top and she jumped about a foot in response. "...she...she doesn't work on Wednesdays, Mr. Lestrade." The woman finally stammered.

Her eyes were wide and they kept darting to the phone on her desk. Greg took a steadying breath and ran a hand through his hair, trying to reign his rage into a deadly calm. "No. She always works on Wednesdays." He countered, his voice rough. The receptionist stared at Greg and slowly shook her head. "She hasn't worked a Wednesday in months, Greg. I'm sorry."

Greg bit the inside of his cheek until he tasted blood. This new information seeped in like hypothermia, permeating his bones with an icy chill. She's been lying. He thought that she was honestly trying to fix things, but here was the proof that she wasn't. That she couldn't change. Maybe Greg couldn't change either.

Sod this. Sod his reputation as a husband. It had been ruined long before today. As much as he didn't want a divorce, he couldn't live like this any longer.

He nodded solemnly at the receptionist who gave him a pitying look in return. Greg didn't like it, but he supposed he'd have to get used to seeing it on everyone's faces soon enough.

**********************************************

A week later, Greg had filed for a separation. He just couldn't bring himself to file for a divorce. Sure, his wife had drug him through the mud, but Greg wasn't exactly innocent himself. So after a serious discussion with her about taking time away to mend what was broken, he moved into a small flat closer to the Yard.

He buried himself deep into his work, and tried to resist calling on Sherlock unless absolutely necessary. Greg found that the mad genius was acting differently towards him since the blow out with his brother. It was a headache he'd rather do without.

Things finally started settling down for him several weeks later. The distance from his relationship problems made his emotions much easier to manage.

There was one feeling, however, that the D.I. still struggled with: Loneliness. Greg couldn't stand to be alone in his flat. The silence was deafening. He spent longer hours at the office and more nights out at the pub. His flat only seemed to serve a purpose when he needed to sleep.

**********************************************

One late night at the office, after a long day of endless paperwork, Greg's infamous bad luck hit again. He shuffled through the next stack of papers and cursed under his breath. "Ah, Fuck."

He thought he'd had this mess of a case sorted, but there it was mocking him. He had forgotten to have Sherlock fill out the one thing he needed to wrap up the case and it was going to court in two days. It couldn't wait. He sighed miserably as he stuffed the papers into a spare folder and stood up to grab his coat and keys.

A cabbie dropped Greg off at Sherlock's apartment building. He walked inside and up three flights of stairs to the door that read 307. He prepared to knock, but he caught two voices from behind the wooden barrier. Sherlock and Mycroft.

Greg's heart sank. They were arguing about something. They were always arguing, those two. Greg pushed his ear lightly to the door to hear better. Sherlock was loud, as per usual, but he only caught parts and pieces of Mycroft's sentences.

"This is your fault, brother mine." The younger brother spat viciously.

"Hardly...but blame...When...take responsibility for your own actions?"

"You used him for your own pleasure and then pushed him away. Now he doesn't want to call me in because of you! I get bored Mycroft!"

"There are other options besides shooting up, Sherlock!"

Greg's heart dropped all the way to his feet. He hadn't considered that consequence when he decided not to call Sherlock in. He should have. The D.I. lifted his hand to finally knock, but then something else was said that confused him. Mycroft had moved inside the flat and he could hear him clearer.

"Being passed out in a drug den is already dangerous enough without the added danger of the vampire uprise we're currently fighting. Do you not value your life? Do you wish it drained away by fangs ripped into the flesh of your throat?"

Vampires?...

"Oh please, Mycroft. You and your band of monster-assassins have everything well under control. You are immediately alerted when a monster, god, or any other supernatural being enters the country and your men take out the threat."

There was silence for several long moments. Mycroft moved further away again. "Normally, however...few rogue...Ketch has exterminated a great number...but...finding new ways to get passed our security measures...There's no need for alarm, just extra precautions."

Maybe Greg heard wrong. Perhaps there were mafia members that call themselves vampires or something. He clasped the door handle to steady himself, still not sure if he should even really knock, or if he should try to come back later. Monsters, Sherlock had said. gods. vampires. supernatural. That's not possible. But why would these two, with their overly clever brains, even entertain the idea?

"That's why you did it then? To protect him. To protect yourself."

There was more silence. Then the door swung open without any warning and the Detective Inspector fell through the portal. "Shit!" He cursed when he landed, the folder knocked from his grasp and papers flying from it.

"How long have you been standing there?" Mycroft demanded.

"Yeah, I'm doing alright. Thanks for asking." He snipped as he regathered all the stray papers. "Long enough." He answered before standing and all but throwing the folder into Sherlock's hands. "Why in the bloody hell are you two in here discussing vampires and monsters like they're real?"

"Because they are." Sherlock deadpanned. Mycroft shot him a murderous glare. His little brother just shrugged. "He was bound to find out eventually."

Greg released a harsh dry laugh. They were obviously making fun of him. "Yeah, alright. 'Let's make fun of the dim witted cop.' See how stupid he really is. Hilarious."

"Roughly 11% of all your cases involve a supernatural element, Lestrade." Sherlock informed him in his usual condescending tone.

"You really think you're being serious? Are you high right now?" Greg quipped in return.

"For God's sake, Gregory. Everything supernatural; vampires, werewolves, demons, they're all real. And they are all dealt with as swiftly and efficiently as possible by a special British task force."

The color drained slightly from Greg's face as his brain struggled to process the information. That could't be real, could it? How come he was only finding out about it now? Shouldn't he be required to know these things? How was he supposed to protect London if he didn't know about the added terrors lurking in the shadows? I mean, fuck, it was bad enough without the monsters.

He stood up straighter and squared his shoulders. "Then I need to know as much as possible about what's out there, and how to kill it."

Chapter Text

“Nothing ever happens to me.” That is what John had told his therapist so recently. Now here he was, swept up in a whirlwind named Sherlock Holmes. Every day after they met proved more interesting than the last.

Though he had befriended and moved in with Sherlock within record time, John was sure he would be unraveling the mystery that was Sherlock Holmes for the rest of his life. And he certainly hoped that would be the case. Sherlock was as intriguing and brilliant as he was irritating and emotionally inept. John marveled at the contrast.

The doctor took his time writing up a blog entry for the first case they worked together. It would have taken far less time if not for the constant interruptions by his new flatmate’s experiments, demanding nature, and his occasional tantrums. However, by the time John was done, he was quite pleased with it.

“I see you’ve written up the taxi driver case.” Sherlock mentioned to John later, in order to deflect from a dispute about body parts in the fridge. John stood with one hand on his hip and the other pressed against his forehead.

“Huh?” He said unintelligibly and dropped his hands. “Oh, uh, yes.” He answered before plopping down ungracefully into Sherlock’s armchair. (It was the closest.)

“A Study in Pink. Nice.” Sherlock’s deep voice proclaimed in monotone from his laying position on the sofa.

“Well?” John asked in return, straightening up in the seat. “You know, pink lady, pink case, pink phone, there was a lot of pink.” He elaborated, thoughtfully rubbing his chin.

Sherlock grabbed a magazine from the coffee table and flipped through the pages uninterestedly.

“Did you like it?” John probed, dropping his hand from his chin to his lap. He gazed intently at the other man's face, trying to gage his reaction.

“Uhhhm, no.” He replied harshly to the paper he was holding.

“Why not?” John inquired, his brows furrowed as he watched his friend. “I thought you’d be…flattered.”

“Flattered?” Sherlock lashed out, dropping the magazine to his midsection and looking pointedly at John. “Sherlock sees through everyone and everything in seconds. What’s incredible though is how spectacularly ignorant he is about some things.” Sherlock quoted before rolling his eyes.

John shook his head. “Now hang on a minute, I didn’t mean that in a…”

“Oh, you meant spectacularly ignorant in a nice way? Look, it doesn’t matter to me who’s prime minister, or who’s sleeping with whom…” Sherlock explained, waving his hands about as he talked.

“Or if the Earth goes around the sun.” John cut in.

“Oh not this again, it’s not important!” Sherlock hollered.

“Not important? It’s primary school stuff! How can you not know that?” John asked loudly, his voice laced with disbelief.

“Well, if I ever did, I’ve deleted it.”

“Deleted it?”

Sherlock sat up, throughly agitated now. “This is my hard drive and it only makes sense to put things in there that are useful. Really useful! Ordinary people fill their heads with all sorts of rubbish and that makes it hard to get at the stuff that matters. Do you see?”

“But it’s the solar system!” John cried.

“Oh Hell! What does that matter?!?” Sherlock argued. “So the Earth goes round the sun. If we went ‘round the moon, or ‘round and ‘round the garden like a teddy bear’, it wouldn’t make any difference! All that matters to me is the work. Without that my brain rots.” Sherlock violently tousled his dark curls, then abruptly stopped and glared at John. “Why don’t you put that in your blog? Or better still, stop inflicting your opinions on the world.” With that Sherlock threw the magazine back onto the coffee table, and then flipped onto his side to lie down facing the couch cushions like a sulking child.

John pursed his lips in thought for a moment, before standing and promptly heading to grab his coat.

Sherlock’s head popped up at the noise. “Where are you going?” He inquired.

“Out. I need some air.” John responded angrily before bounding down the stairs.

 

***********************************

John walked out into the cool London air and headed for a pub on the other side of town. On the way he pulled out his phone and sent a text.

Care to join me for a pint? JW

His fingers moved a bit stiffly from the cold and John wished he'd had bundled up a bit better.

Depends if you’re buying. GL

The doctor smiled to himself and rounded a corner before typing out a reply.

Just the first round. JW

Well, alright then. When and where? GL

That pub near the yard you were telling me about. I’m on my way now from Baker Street, by foot. JW

**************************************

John had been sitting at the bar, nursing a pint, for about forty five minutes before Greg finally showed up. The D.I. sat on the stool next to him and began apologizing profusely.

“I have a hard time getting away sometimes, with such a consistently massive workload. Seems like people are always killing each other and want me to work myself to death too.” Greg huffed but then his face lit up in a smile at the other man. “Speaking of people killing each other, how are you and Sherlock getting on?”

“Ugh. Well, it’s not all bad. I’m certainly never bored.” John sighed before downing the last of his beer.

He flagged the bartender down and ordered two more.

“I don’t know if I should be telling you this, but when I got home today I opened up the fridge to grab something, and there was a bloody severed head sitting on one of the shelves!”

“No! Really?” Greg gasped in an amused horror.

“Yes!” John insisted. “It’s not just the fridge full of body parts, Greg. The bookshelves are lined with odd books, some of the jars of substances he keeps look really strange to me, and yesterday I found an old shoebox full of small animal bones.”

“Yeah?” The detective questioned as he shifted uncomfortably in his seat. He knew full well what Sherlock used those for.

“You know, I asked him the other day what was in one particular specimen jar, because it gave off a certain glow, and he told me that it was just trace amounts of angel grace. Whatever the fuck that’s supposed to mean.” John laughed.

Greg managed to huff out a laugh in return. He didn’t want to reveal too much in case John decided not to stick around after all. It seemed Sherlock was being careless with the truth, but that didn’t really surprise the old copper.

“Well, if he hasn’t driven you out with all his madness by now, I’d say you’re doing just fine.”

John smiled and shrugged. “Guess he’s stuck with me then, whether he likes it or not, the insufferable git.”

Greg practically snorted in amusement. “You’re good for him, you know.”

John raised an eyebrow at his friend.

“What? I mean it. You help him stay grounded and in touch with reality. I was starting to worry that he may never get off that high horse of his. It’s not easy dealing with a high and mighty Holmes.”

John chuckled. “You’ve got that right! You know his brother, Mycroft?”

Greg’s face turned sour and he nodded.

“The bastard kidnapped me right after I had met Sherlock, trying to vet me. Made it to seem like he was all powerful and all knowing. He…” John giggled, the drink loosening his inhibitions slightly. “He offered me money to spy on Sherlock even. Course, I turned him down. He didn’t like that I saw right through his theatrics.”

Greg smirked. “Being kidnapped by Mycroft is sort of a right of passage. So long as long as you don’t fail his test, anyway.”

John frowned as he thought.

After a while he asked, “Are you on the pull tonight?”

Greg almost chocked on his beer. “Sorry?” He sputtered.

“Sorry. No, I just meant…I mean you are very attractive, but I was…I was only wondering if I could crash at your place tonight? M’not sure I’m ready to face Sherlock again just yet.”

Greg blushed deeply. “Thank you? I, uh, yeah. Yeah, you can come home with me tonight. No! Not in that way. I’m not trying to get a leg over with anyone. I just…I mean, you’re a nice bloke and, and you’re easy on the eyes, but you’re not my type…”

“Woah, woah. It’s okay, Greg. I know what you mean.”

After a few moments of followed silence both of them burst out laughing at their mutual awkwardness.

“Good. Good. Oh God.” Greg practically giggled, wiping away a tear of laughter. “Shall we get a cab, then?”

*************************************
The next morning John awoke with a pain in his shoulder. He abruptly came back to reality when he realized that he wasn’t alone on Greg's sofa. They had both fallen asleep there while watching the telly last night.

The television set was still on, News now, and the D.I. was still asleep. He must have shifted closer in the night, because now he was leaned into John’s side. No wonder John didn’t have any nightmares last night.

“Uh, Greg?” John’s voice was rough with sleep.

Lestrade stirred slightly with a small grunt of disapproval. One of his hands wrapped around John's waist, his subconscious not wanting to give up hold just yet.

John looked down at his sleeping friend and smirked. “Greg. You’re on my shoulder you bastard.” He said a little louder.

“Hmm?” That seemed to wake him up a bit more. “Oh. Sorry.” He withdrew his hand and used it to rub his prickly face.

“S’okay. Wasn’t my bad one.”

Greg sat up slowly. “Wow, I must’ve been pretty tired. Hope you still slept okay. Breakfast?” He stood up and quietly padded over to the kitchen.

“Sure. Want some help? I could at least put the kettle on.” John offered.

“Nah. I got it. Thanks though.”

John relaxed into the couch, his shoulder still throbbing dully. The news station was doing a story about some long lost painting that had been recently found. The next story, however, made John bolt upright.

“Greg! Forget breakfast! There’s been an explosion at Baker Street!”

********************************

John and Greg easily pushed through the crowd gathered on the street. Lestrade flashed his badge at the officers manning the police tape, and he and John ducked under the flimsy plastic barrier.

Once inside, they both sprinted up the stairs to 221 B, John leading.

“Sherlock?” John called. The doctor and the detective inspector both come to a halt in the living room. Sherlock was sitting in his armchair, Mycroft in John’s.

They sat there calmly, as if half the living area wasn't in shambles from the explosion.

“John.” Sherlock simply greeted, plucking a string on his violin.

“I saw it on the telly. You okay?” John asked, perplexed by the calm of the two brothers.

“Me? Oh. Yeah. Fine. Gas leak, apparently.” Sherlock explained before turning his attention back to Mycroft. “I can’t.”

“Can’t?” Mycroft questioned, not believing his brother in the slightest.

“Something I’ve got on, It’s just too big, can’t spare the time.” Sherlock rambled absently.

“Never mind your usual trivia, this is of national importance.” Mycroft chided.

“How’s the diet?” Sherlock retorted.

“Fine.” The politician spat in reply.

“Don’t be a dick to your brother, Sherlock.” Greg grumbled.

Both of the Holmes attention snapped to Lestrade.

“Perhaps one of you could get through to him?” Mycroft asked with hope in his voice. “I’m afraid my brother can be very intransigent.”

“If you’re so keen, why don’t you investigate it?” Sherlock retaliated.

“No, no, no. You know I can’t possibly be away from the office for any length of time, not with the career and re-elections, well, you don’t need to know about that, do you? Besides, a case like this, it requires…legwork.” He said, the last word making him grimace.

“I’m sorry John, how was the lay-out?” Sherlock thought to ask, again changing the subject.

“Sofa, it was the sofa, Sherlock.” Mycroft pointed out in a sing-song voice.

“Oh yes, of course.” The detective acquiesced after looking at his friend again.

“How…?” John began to ask. "Never mind." He digressed.

“Oh. Interesting.” Sherlock stated upon his second review of the two men standing in the living room.

“Hmm?” Mycroft took a more encompassing look and his facial features turned to stone. “Quite.” He practically whispered in agreement.

“Well, now, hey. It’s not what it looks like.” John defended.

“I suppose it’s really none of our business.” Mycroft snipped.

“It’s not.” Greg snapped back. Mycroft gave up his right to care who he was sleeping with when he cut things off between them.

Awkward silence hung between the four men.

John cleared his throat. “So…national importance?”

Mycroft directed his angry stare at John for a moment before he steeled his outward emotions. “John, how is it, living with my brother? Hellish, I imagine.”

“Well, I’m never bored.”

“Good! That’s good, isn’t it? Well, with everything that you’ve tolerated so far, it seems that you will be continuing this…collaboration…with Sherlock.”

John sighed. He didn’t like the way Mycroft said that, and he can only be leading up to something dramatic. He tipped his head and raised a brow for the other man to continue with his theatrics.

“I think it’s time then, that you learned what is really going on in the world.”

John smiled his ‘you don’t scare me’ smile at Mycroft. “Oh?”

Lestrade piped up. “You may as well, Sherlock has hardly been trying to keep a wrap on things. John’s just about figured it out himself.”

Sherlock smirked at that. Proud of the increase in deduction skills he'd seen in John in such a short time.

“Alright, it’s settled then.” Mycroft declared, “John, do have a seat please.”

The doctor stared at him defiantly, not moving an inch.

Lestrade strode over next to John, turned his back to the brothers, and leaned in to whisper in John’s ear. “You’re going to want to sit down for this one, mate. It’s a bit of shock.” He clasped John’s good shoulder in camaraderie and gave it a squeeze, before tossing himself on the sofa.

John looked between both Holmes brothers for a moment then reluctantly sat on the opposite end of the couch as Greg.

“Everything evil that you’ve ever heard of, including but not limited to; Vampires, Werewolves, Shapeshifters, and Demons are all real. They live among us, killing, corrupting, and destroying human beings.” Mycroft informed the doctor, watching his fingers as he twirled his umbrella around in his hands.

He shifted his gaze to John’s now inquisitive face. “That being said, Great Britain has the finest reputation for having the lowest numbers of monster induced crime, all thanks to a government run secret society called the Men of Letters.”

John chuckled and looked to Greg, then Sherlock. “Very funny. You honestly expect me to…” John paused as Sherlock shot up out of his chair and rocketed into the kitchen. “…believe that?” He finished incredulously.

Sherlock quickly returned with the severed head from the fridge, and tossed it at John. The solider instinctively caught it, then immediately dropped it on the coffee table with a loud thud. “Christ Sherlock! What the hell?”

“Check the teeth.” Sherlock demanded.

“Are you barking mad?” John yelled at him.

“Oh, just do it.” Sherlock yelled back.

John reluctantly grabbed the head again, opening it’s mouth and checking the teeth. “What am I supposed to be seeing here, Sherlock?” He asked.

“Press on his gums.” Greg supplied helpfully.

John did as told and gasped in disgust as razor sharp fangs revealed themselves. “What…what is it?” John looked up at his friend standing smug in the center of the room.

“Vampire.” Mycroft answered. “We’ve been having a bit of a problem with those nasty creatures as of late.”

“You’re…you’re serious. This is, this is real.” John stammered.

“Buckle up, John. There’s a lot more to cover.” Sherlock told him.