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So Close And Still So Far

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Mycroft was busier than ever with preparations for the upcoming International Quidditch Tournament. And now that Greg was named the school's Quidditch Captain, he was just as busy. Mycroft was used to spending time avoiding the Veela descendant but now that he was inaccessible, Mycroft found himself annoyed at the seclusion. Is this how Gregory felt when he dodged him? It was maddening.

Lizzie was immensely pleased with Mycroft’s idea receiving such a warmed and excited response. The tournament did nothing to restrict her time with the Head Boy, if anything it increased it. This just added to the frustration he felt. Lizzie meant well but she was relentless about becoming an official couple before the Yule ball.

Greg was thriving on being the center of attention at Hogwarts. He was a naturally charismatic and charming young lad and he truly enjoyed being surrounded by people. Everyone wanted to chat him up and put in a good word for themselves or a friend. He kindly explained to them that he wouldn’t be biased in his choosing for the school team.

Mycroft managed to catch glimpses of Greg in the classroom and in the halls. He always seemed to be smiling. Mycroft wondered if the other boy was losing interest in pursuing him now that he had something else to focus on. Much to his dismay, he felt his stomach drop at the thought. Perhaps he should do some pursuing. After all, a friendship is a two-sided dynamic, yes? And he wouldn’t be wasting time by going to check in with Gregory. He was a major part of Mycroft’s big plan since he was leading the team for Hogwarts.

The Head Boy retrieved his cold weather gear; a wool packer hat, black leather gloves, and a silk scarf in Slytherin colors. All topped off with a large dark gray wool coat. He wrote a quick note to Anthea in his notebook to inform her that he was heading to the Quidditch Pitch. (Yes, again. No, it miraculously didn’t involve Sherlock this time. Just keeping up appearances for the tournament.) Then he set off for his destination.

Greg was well into a practice match after leading drills, when he spotted Mycroft in the crowd. He was impossible to miss with his commanding posture and dapper appearance. Greg broke out into a massive grin and winked at him. Mycroft’s cheeks were already colored by the nip in the air, but he swore he still blushed. Greg turned his attention back to the game where he continued to instruct novice students and show them some tips on how to pass the Quaffle and avoid Bludgers. Everything he did, he did with confidence and flair, giving Mycroft a show.

Greg ended up cutting practice a bit short, promising to pick it up early the next time. He made sure everyone got off of the field safely, as per his usual post-practice and post-game routine. (Though it was so much easier to keep an eye on everyone on the sparse practice pitch.) Greg was an easy going and kind natured bloke, but he also held authority and responsibility well. That’s why his disciplinary measures with Sherlock and his group of friends was so effective.

Gregory was an intriguing oxymoron to Mycroft. That, paired with his strikingly silver hair and gorgeously tanned skin, made his mind swirl with dangerously addicting chemicals. He watched, entranced by Gregory decked out in full Quidditch gear, as the captain ushered the last few students off of the pitch and then flew over on his broom to meet him on the sidelines.

“Mycroft! I’m so glad to see you! You didn’t come here just to watch me throw an old Quaffle around, did you?” Greg jested with a big smile, hovering on his broom in front of him.

“And if I did?” Mycroft teased with a lift of a brow.

“Well, in that case, why don’t I give you a private show?” He proposed in suggestive voice. “Matter-of-fact, I know the perfect spot to do just that. Hop on.” Greg patted the handle with his free hand and gently touched down to allow Mycroft on.

“Oh, no.” Mycroft replied while raising his hands defensively. “I will go with you, but I am not traveling on that thing.” Mycroft did not fly. It made him uneasy and it seemed an unnecessary risk considering he did not enjoy the feeling of his stomach doing cart wheels.

“Come on, Mycroft. I won’t let you fall. Don’t you trust me?” Greg practically pouted.

Damn his Veela induced charm. “It seems a bit…intimate, to share a broom. Don’t you agree?” Mycroft’s voice sounded unusually small, uncertain. He couldn’t believe he was even considering this request.

“Yes.” Greg agreed, but he didn’t elaborate or try to persuade him into complying. He simply held his hand out in invitation.

Mycroft fetched his notebook from his pocket and sent off a quick note to Anthea. The letters were scribbled with a shaky hand, as Mycroft’s nerves got the best of him. I will be indisposed for the next few hours. Please see to it that all non emergency issues are delegated to the appropriate prefects. Thank you.

Of course, Mycroft. Have fun! Merlin knows you deserve it. The last period turned into a pair of lips that blew a kiss and Mycroft smirked despite himself.

He drew in a deep breath, placed the notebook back into his pocket, and put his gloved hand in Greg’s. Even between the thin black leather of his glove and the thick brown leather of Greg’s, he felt it. A spark. A jolt. Like he had touched a live wire. It made him feel alive in a way that he had never felt before.

“That’s it, just like that.” Greg encouraged after Mycroft lifted a leg over the broom and grabbed tightly unto the wooden shaft in front of him. “I can’t believe I’m doing this.” Mycroft confessed.

God, he was so close. Mycroft was right about this being intimate. Greg wrapped one arm around the other boy’s waist to hold him securely, and then placed his other hand at the top of the broom. “Ready?” He asked into the back of Mycroft’s neck. “As I’ll ever be.” Came the breathy reply.

Greg bent his knees and kicked up off the ground gently. Mycroft tensed immediately. “Relax, Mycroft. I’ve got you.” Greg chuckled lightly. “You better have. If I go down, then I fully intend to take you with me.” Mycroft attempted to sound threatening, but obviously failed since the words pulled another laugh from behind him. At least one of them found this amusing.

The practice field became smaller and smaller as they rose higher and higher. Mycroft took deep steadying breaths and closed his eyes. He focused on the warmth of Gregory’s strong muscular body pressed against him. The feel of his arm around his waist. His breath hot on the back of his neck.

“Okay, here we go. I need you to lean with me as I move. Don’t worry, it’s not far.” Greg assured him. The broom lurched forward at an uncomfortable rate of speed and all Mycroft could do was hang onto his hat with one hand and grip the broom tightly in the other. Greg’s grip around his waist tightened and he leaned forward into him, pushing the broom into what he considered an appropriate speed.

Mycroft considered keeping his eyes closed as they flew over the grounds, but decided against it. Sure, he didn’t like flying but he would be damned if he wasn’t aware of his surroundings. Several hundred feet off of the ground or not.

He watched as the students on the ground (who looked like figurines from this height) whizzed by. He wondered if it was a common sight to see the Hufflepuff Quidditch Captain riding with another person on his broom. If it was, then no one would think twice about it. If it wasn’t, well then, they might be curious about who the Slytherin in Greg’s lap was. Oh Merlin, there was sure to be talk either way.

They rapidly approached the West end of Black Lake, where cliffs above the water jutted up against the cliffside that held the school. It created a sort of pocket. Out of the eye of the school and out of sight from anyone on the lake. It was very private, indeed. They slowed to a halt at a wide expanse of flat rock, touching down gingerly.

“Dare I ask how you found this place?” Mycroft inquired as he gracefully unmounted Greg’s broom. The Hufflepuff grinned mischievously. “Just you wait ’til you see what I’ve hidden here.” Mycroft’s gave him an inquisitive look. Hidden where on this flat rock exactly?

Greg unceremoniously laid his broom down then removed his bulky Quidditch gloves and knee pads. He wore a self satisfied smirk as he tossed them down next to his broom and walked backwards passed Mycroft. Several paces later, he completely disappeared! “Gregory?” He questioned. “What are you waiting for Mycroft? Come join me.”

Mycroft swallowed thickly, then carefully placed one foot in front of the other until he stepped through a magical barrier and into a hidden paradise. He audibly gasped at the sight. Within a twenty foot radius there was plush green grass covering the ground and in the center was a grand old oak tree wearing the beautiful colors of autumn. “This magic is advanced. How did you-“ Mycroft began but Greg cut him off. “You and your brother aren’t the only ones ahead of their studies.” At this, Mycroft broke into a genuine smile. He swiftly removed his gloves and pocketed them while musing aloud, “Not just another handsome face then, are you Gregory?”

“There’s a lot more to me than you might realize, Mycroft.” The Quidditch captain answered smugly from underneath the shade of the tree. “Just as I suspect that there’s more to you than you let on.” He drifted forward and reached a hand out to take one of Mycroft’s. It made Mycroft feel vulnerable. The bare skin now being touched felt exposed. He searched Gregory’s eyes for the intentions behind them. Instead he found himself drowning in a chocolate sea.

“This is the most interaction we’ve had since I almost crashed into you all that time ago. I like it. I like you, Mycroft.” Greg admitted while staring directly back into Mycroft’s stormy gray eyes. “Why?” Mycroft heard himself answer. There wasn’t anything particularly special about him that should gain the interest of this wickedly handsome fellow seventh year. Sure, Lizzie had an interest in him but that was only because it suited her needs and aspirations. What could Gregory possibly hope to gain from him?

Mycroft withdrew his hand abruptly and rubbed it like had been stung. “What are you trying to gain from me?” He quietly accused. “Gain?” Greg reiterated with a slight tilt of the head. “Well, I suppose that I would like to gain your trust, some of your time, and perhaps even your affection.” He managed to answer. That didn’t seem to satisfy Mycroft, who was backing away from him slowly. “No, there has to be something else. Something self serving.” Mycroft turned away with a scowl. “I’m sorry Gregory, I really shouldn’t be here. I have so much more to do before the delegations arrive.”

“No. Mycroft, don’t. Don’t leave. Please. I know that you’re interested in me too. You wouldn’t have come here with me otherwise.” Greg pleaded as he followed Mycroft out of the enchantment. The Slytherin sighed with discontentment. “Gregory, I will continue to be your friend and to support you in this tournament. However, you will be far better off without me distracting you in other less platonic ways.” With that he reapplied his gloves and prepared to apparate.

“That’s just an excuse, Mycroft!” Greg replied incredulously. “This isn’t about me. This is about you. You’re scared. Scared to let-“ A crack as loud as thunder sounded in front of Greg as the other boy apparated. He stood fuming for several minutes, frequently running his hands through his silver locks.

Well, Fuck.

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

Later that evening Mycroft stood in front of the fireplace in his office, holding a glass of red wine by the stem and swirling it thoughtfully. His thoughts, however, were cut suddenly short by a certain tall blonde Head Girl strolling assertively into his office and practically slamming the door shut behind her.

Ah. This ought to be good, then. “Mycroft Holmes!” She admonished. “Elizabeth.” He greeted in monotone, not even bothering to look over at her. He kept his gaze on the flames licking up the bricks in the fireplace. This seemed to further irritate her. Unfazed, Mycroft took a generous sip of his wine.

“I must admit that did not know Greg Lestrade was my competition. As it is, I am absolutely floored that he got you on a broom. You hate flying.” My, how rumors flew between these castle walls. “I wouldn’t have believed it if I didn’t see it myself.” She added. Ah. Elizabeth had been out on the school grounds at that time, then. Mycroft smirked to himself a bit at that mental image. “Elizabeth…Lizzie. You must know by now that I am gay. It is hardly a secret and you are immensely perceptive.”

“What does that have to do with the potential relationship we could portray? I’m not asking you to have sex with me, Mycroft.” The Head Boy almost choked on his drink. “Good Heavens, Elizabeth. Being Straight forward tonight, are we?” He set his glass on the mantle and turned to face her. “Then let me inform you that I am not interested in any sort of romantic involvement, superficial or not, with anyone at the current moment. I am far too busy to even consider the possibility.”

Miss Smallwood thought carefully for a moment. Sharpening her tongue before speaking. “You could make time, if it were to become a priority. I feel I must implore you to reconsider again. Our relationship would be mutually beneficial, and It's not as if it would be a nuisance, seeing as we don’t completely abhor each others company. I think you rather enjoy it occasionally, in fact. As it is, we are starting to run low on time, if we want to make a unified front before the Yule Ball, as I had hoped.” Mycroft pivoted back to face the fireplace, turning his head only to utter a farewell to the bothersome girl. She ended up taking the hint and left.

Mycroft closed his eyes and sighed. The image of Greg, fresh from the Quidditch pitch and relaxed by the grand oak tree, filled his mind’s eye. The boy was right, damn him. Oh, how Mycroft wished to be able to reach out and touch him, kiss him even, perhaps. But his uncertainty stood firmly in the way. He normally ignored his fear, but with Gregory, it was different. He couldn’t ignore it as easily and that scared him even more. Mycroft came to the conclusion that it would be best to continue avoiding Gregory as much as possible. The little broom fiasco was his fault, after all. He would be wise not to initiate anything with Greg a second time.

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

Mycroft received an occasional message from Gregory via their notebooks, but he almost never replied, unless it pertained to Sherlock. There had been a barrage of notes at first, after the flying incident, but then they started to dwindle in frequency.

Anthea noticed his overall mood dipping as time went on. She even tried to talk to him about it. About feelings, if you could believe it. Mycroft Holmes did not have the liberty of indulging in such novelties when all of his attention was focused into running the politics of the school as well as his minor position in the Ministry.

Gregory had a hard time dealing with what had transpired on the cliffside. He tried to analyze it so that he could understand Mycroft’s reaction. From what he could tell, the Head Boy didn’t seem to think he held any personal value. How could he believe such a thing? Greg wanted to show him how wrong he was. He sent several notes to Mycroft through their notebook, but to no avail. He tried to meet with him to talk, but was wildly unable to do so with Mycroft’s active avoidance. After a while he became frustrated and it began to affect his overall demeanor. He poured his concentration into the tournament and blamed his newfound short temper on the stress of the competition. It was an easy cover.

Fortunately, there were a handful of students that could see straight through the bullshit that both boys were hiding behind. Anthea never thought she would see the day that she worked with Sherlock and his group of friends, but none of them could stand to see Mycroft’s and Greg’s mental health declining. They concocted a plan, involving a tricky charm by Sherlock, to get both idiots in the same room together to work out their issues.

It was up to Anthea to determine the best time to put their plan into action, since she was aware of both the boys schedules. It wasn’t easy to find a time that they weren’t both preoccupied with the tournament and all the activities it included. In fact, it was after the first tournament match that Anthea saw the opportunity. Hogwarts had won their first match against the Beauxbatons and the school was abuzz with celebration. Mycroft and Greg’s guards would be down slightly and they wouldn’t feel as pressed for time.

Anthea hastily made her way to her sleeping quarters and texted Sherlock to let him know that their plan was a go. She produced the set of magical notebooks from her robes and set them side by side on her bed. For strategic reasons, she wrote in Greg’s first.

Greg, I’m sorry to interrupt your celebration but I’ve caught wind that Sherlock and his friends are causing mayhem in the room of requirement. Would you be able to look into it, please?

Really, Anthea? I would rather you gave the task to a prefect tonight.

Sorry, we are all indisposed at the moment. I would really appreciate your help with this one.

Yeah. Alright. Give me a few minutes and then I’ll go deal with them.

Anthea smiled down at the notebook. One down, one to go. She placed her quill to the more worn notebook next.

Mycroft, I’m afraid there is a bit of an emergency with your brother. I am unable to handle it right away and unfortunately, from what I’ve been told, it’s time sensitive. He and his friends are in the room of requirement.

Very well, Anthea. I shall deal with it promptly.

That was as easy as expected. Sherlock in an emergency always gave precedence over anything Mycroft was working on.

Greg arrived at the room of requirement first. He tentatively entered, swearing under his breath at the sight of the mess Sherlock, John, Molly, and Irene had caused. The massive room looked like it had been overturned. He was going to have a major talking to with all of them. “Sherlock?” Greg called out. A spell shot out from around a corner and he ducked just in time. It hit the wall and evaporated. “Oi! What in the bloody hell do you lot think your doing?” He cried. “Keep your voice down!” John’s voice angrily hushed from farther in. Greg slid along the wall searching for the kids behind this mess and trying not to be seen or heard in the process. He bloody well didn’t want to get hit by any sort of ill intended spell tonight.

Mycroft followed closely behind, entering the room of requirement only a few minutes after Greg. He took a few steps in before his skin prickled. Something was off. This was trick. He turned around to reach for the heavy wooden door, but it slammed forcibly shut. “No, no, no!” He hollered, banging uselessly at the door. Not tonight.

“Hello?” A voice called. Mycroft lifted a hand and waved it, vanishing the cloaking spell to reveal a sparse room containing none other than Mister Greg Lestrade. Mycroft cursed under his breath. This was obviously the work of his most trusted assistant and his little brother, no less. “Care to explain what just happened?” Greg asked, perplexed. “It was an illusion charm. A very powerful one, it would seem,” Mycroft answered. “This has Anthea and Sherlock written all over it. Why they would possibly collaborate is beyond me.”

“Great.” Greg gritted out. Then after an awkward few seconds, “You mean to say that we’re trapped in here?” Mycroft nodded solemnly. Greg tried the door unsuccessfully. His anger boiled over and he kicked the object of his frustration repeatedly. “Tonight of all nights, Anthea!” He bellowed at the heavy wooden door. Mycroft was taken slightly aback by Greg’s outburst.

“You have your notebook on you, don’t you?” Greg asked, rounding his heated gaze to the Head Boy. He didn’t go anywhere without it. Mycroft reached into his robes and produced the notebook and a quill. He looked at Greg and lifted an eyebrow in question. Greg snatched them up and began to write furiously.

Anthea, you better have a marvelous explanation for this!

Yes, I do. You two are utter imbeciles and your avoidance of one another is making you both unbearable. Work it out, please.

And if we don’t?

I’ve got all night…and all day tomorrow. Better get to it.

Greg sighed miserably and shoved the notebook back into Mycroft’s hands. The Slytherin boy looked it over and then tucked it away. He watched curiously as Greg retreated to slump against a wall and ran both hands through his silver hair, gripping it tightly at the sides.

“Gregory? You appear extremely unpleased to be stuck in here with me.” Mycroft observed easily, though he was puzzled by it. Shouldn’t he be delighted? “You think?” Greg snarled, snapping his attention to the other boy. Mycroft paled under the scrutiny. It was so unlike the Greg that he knew. “Look, I like you, Mycroft. But I know when the feelings aren’t reciprocated and I don’t fancy having a conversation with you about why you don’t want to date me.”

Mycroft set his jaw. “I don’t like seeing you upset, Gregory. I’m sorry. That was never my intention.” Greg just huffed and crossed him arms over his knees, resting his head on the bridge they created. He looked so small. Defeated. He shouldn’t look so defeated for a guy who had just won a Quidditch match. Mycroft drifted over to Greg and joined him, sitting cross-legged against the wall. He let his head tip back to the hard bricks, then swallowed roughly and closed his eyes. Several minutes passed in silence as Mycroft attempted to build some courage for his next words.

“Gregory.” His voiced came out hoarse so he leveled his head and cleared his throat. “Gregory, I…” Mycroft didn’t often find himself at a loss for words. He glanced over at Greg, who was now staring at him intently. He took a deep breath. “You were right, about me being scared. I…well, I like you too. And that scares me. Immensely. I don’t allow anyone to get close. Not that anyone has really tried. Anyway, there’s just too much at stake.”

After several moments Mycroft turned his head to look at Greg, only to find him looking right back. The anger had faded from his features and it was replaced by something else. With this encouragement, Mycroft continued to explain. “I carry a lot of responsibilities on my shoulders. I don’t want to burden anyone with them and I don’t want them to be used against me either. I had written off romance a long time ago. It just doesn’t suit the lifestyle of a man in power. Too messy and unpredictable.” Mycroft’s eyes wondered to Greg’s nearest hand and he reached out to cover it with one of his own. He felt a jolt at the contact again, and then another when Greg’s hand turned over to cup his. A smile tugged at his lips.

“Then I met you. I knew I was in trouble the day that I helped you brew the Amortentia potion. There was nothing wrong with it, the smell had simply changed to include the smell of your Quidditch jumper and cologne.” Greg smiled sheepishly. “Yeah, I ended up figuring out that the smell that changed for me was your hand cream.” They both laughed lightly. “Anthea was right. We’re both a couple of imbeciles.” Greg chuckled. “Indeed.” Mycroft mused.

“So, about that date, then.” Greg inquired playfully, his demeanor now back to it’s normal fun loving default. “What, you don’t consider being locked in an empty room with me a date?” Mycroft teased. “I mean, unless it ends with a kiss…” Greg hinted. Mycroft’s heart leapt at the implication. He lifted his free hand to gently cup Greg’s face. “I suppose that could be arranged.” He replied before leaning in and pressing their lips together. The kiss was tender and filled with a promise of better things to come.