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Unexpected Muse

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“Hey, Greg! What are you doing here? You look great!”

Greg froze at the sound of the voice behind him. It couldn’t be… He turned and there she was: Sally. In a black and sparkly studded shirt, dark grey cloth trousers.

“No, you look great,” he said.

“Thanks, I know. No deflecting though. Tell me what you’re doing here.”

“You first?” he suggested.

Sally smiled at him. “Alright. My cousin is in the play. Not a main role, but nonetheless. It’s at the NT… so I had to come support him on opening night. You?”

“I… someone I know works on the play. Behind the scenes.”

“Someone you know?” she asked in that very special tone of voice. “Don’t tell me it’s your girlfriend.”

“My what?” Greg sputtered.

“You know… the reason you emerged from your holidays much happier than a mere timeout in London could’ve ever achieved.”

“I don’t know what—”

“Gregory! There you are!” Mycroft shouted and just like that Greg was jumped from behind, arms around his shoulders, a kiss on his cheek. “You made it.”

Greg couldn’t help it, even though Sally’s eyes grew wide. His own features softened and he let himself be embraced, kissed softly. There was absolutely no debate now on why and for whom he was here. And somehow, despite his earlier caution, in the face of Mycroft’s joy he found that he didn’t actually care.

“Hey Mycroft,” he said. “All prepared for the show?”

“Well, I don’t actually have to do much anymore, but yes. Just wanted to see you before it starts.”

“You’ll be watching from behind the stage?”

“For tonight, yes. Overseeing if everything works out… I don’t actually have to, since the rehearsals went really well, but…”

“Wouldn’t expect anything else, perfectionist that you are.”

Mycroft gave him another kiss, then looked forward, chin resting on Greg’s shoulder. Greg looked ahead as well, into Sally’s expectant eyes. He sighed.

“Mycroft, this is Sally. She’s my partner at work. Sally, this is Mycroft. He’s… he’s my boyfriend,” he said and even though he said it with conviction, his ears felt hot.

Mycroft extended a hand. “Pleasure,” he said.

“You don’t even know,” she replied. “We had a bet going at the office. Everyone was certain Greg had picked someone up during this holidays. Everyone but me was betting on girlfriend. I bet on boyfriend.”

“You what?” Greg blurted out while Mycroft giggled into his ear. “How did you…”

“Come on. You don’t want to know how many times I caught you ogling the crown prosecutor’s arse over the last years. Not that I blame you. I’ve done so myself on occasion.”

“Oh god,” Greg sighed and put his face in both hands.

“Now that’s interesting information, darling,” Mycroft said. “We should get a drink sometimes.”

“Anytime,” Sally replied with a smirk.

“No, no, no. You’re not forming an alliance against me!” Greg said. “My poor heart can’t stand it.”

“Your heart is fine. You’re getting enough workout,” Mycroft said with a grin and gave Greg another kiss before he turned to leave. “See you at the drinks afterwards? Ah, and take a look at the credits of the play in the playbill, would you?”

“Yes…” Greg said, left behind, mortified.

He stared after Mycroft where he disappeared into the crowd. Then Sally put a hand on his arm. “He’s cute.”

“Please, don’t say anything about his age. I beg you.”

“That’s none of my business. You seem happy.”

“I am.”

Sally smiled. “And that’s all that counts.”

Greg looked at her with clear gratitude in his eyes. He didn’t mind their obvious age gap, but he wasn’t sure how accepted it would be.

“What was that about the playbill?” she asked.

“No idea…” Greg admitted and opened the little program he’d bought at the entrance. He leafed through the pages, past the actors and a small interview to reach the supporter credits, and…

“Stage design: Mycroft Holmes & Gregory Lestrade. Well, I never. Greg! What other talents are you keeping hidden?”

Greg was baffled and he looked it. “I merely contributed a small idea. It was an accident.”

“Well, someone likes you well enough to share the spotlight. What was your idea?”

“Everything that glows in the dark. You’ll see,” he said. “We have to go in now. It’s starting in a few minutes.”

Sally nodded and made her way to the seats. Greg followed her mutely, staring again at his name in the playbill. The bastard. He’d said nothing. These must’ve gone into print a while ago. Had Mycroft been so sure Greg would still be with him until now? His heart did something complicated, which was a cross between aching and jumping. Tonight. He’d tell him tonight.

The play was riveting. Greg’s heart rate shot up when a few audience members gasped at the glowing handprint on the neck of the victim, and the row of prints left on the furniture. He had to admit that it looked quite dramatic. If only actual killers would leave such obvious prints, then his work would be much easier. Mycroft joined him in the break, all shining eyes and bright smiles, looking radiant. Greg was introduced to some of the staff, and Mycroft couldn’t seem to let him go, watching the second half of the play from the audience, hanging on Greg’s arm. After the standing ovation, he led him backstage, where the actors and supporters had already started the small party.

Mycroft had absolutely no problem being seen with him. He introduced him all around as his boyfriend the genius, who had the idea with the glowing paint… and Greg even had a longer discussion about his own screenplay with the playwright. It was a joyous affair, which ended too soon, since the actors were all tired after the long night.

When they walked out of the building, arm in arm, Mycroft didn’t immediately steer them towards his flat, but rather towards the Thames, walking with Greg until they reached the Southbank, standing at the railing over the river, watching the moonlight reflected on the high tide. It wasn’t cold, but it was fresh and Greg had put his arm and part of his jacket around Mycroft, who stood as close as he could.

“Thank you for inviting me.”

Mycroft looked pleased. “Did you have fun?”

“Yes. The play was amazing.”

“Mhm. It was. And you were properly credited too. Just wait for the press night. I’m sure they’ll write something good about the paint.”

“You… you were very sure I’d still be here,” Greg said.

Mycroft looked at him, bright blue eyes shining even in the darkness. “Of course.”

Greg swallowed, then leaned in for a soft kiss, which was received with a sigh.

“Mycroft… I—”

“I love you, Gregory. I’ve known for a while now. I love you and—”

“You bastard, you cut me off! I wanted to say the same thing! I love you, you idiot.”

Mycroft was briefly startled, then he swept Greg up in a tight embrace, in which he briefly lost contact with the ground. Mycroft was much stronger then he looked… a fact, which Greg didn’t mind at all. Especially not in the bedroom.

“I need to take you home right now,” Mycroft said and pulled Greg along. “I have a surprise for you.”

“The filthy kind of surprise?”

“Wouldn’t you want to know?”