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all the time, i'll know

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-1-

 

When Greg walks out of his bedroom at nearly noon on a Sunday to find Mycroft Holmes waiting for him in the lounge, he is so accustomed to unimaginable shit happening to him that he doesn't even pause. 

“Tea, Mycroft?” he asks, using his given name for the first time. Before now it was always Mister Holmes, or, a couple of times when Greg was particularly pissed off at him, just Holmes. Greg’s not in the mood to be professional, though. Besides, professionalism implies one has a profession, and here in the post-Sherlock world, Greg decidedly does not have that. 

“No, thank you, Detective Inspector.”

Greg snorts. “You can call me Greg. I’m not a DI any longer.”

“Apologies,” says Mycroft smoothly. 

Greg thinks he must’ve called him by his old title on purpose. Mycroft Holmes doesn't do faux pas. 

Greg makes his tea, taking his time about it, then goes back into the lounge. He sits on the coffee table, because it’s across from Mycroft, and because Greg sold his armchair - the only other piece of furniture meant for sitting other than the ratty sofa Mycroft is currently occupying - a month ago. 

“What is it you want, Mycroft?” Greg asks, blowing across the surface of his tea. “What could I possibly do for you, at this point? Or did you come to rake me over the coals a bit more?”

Mycroft shifts in his seat, and Greg takes the chance to really look at him. Suit, of course, and briefcase on the floor beside his feet. No coat. Greg checks, and it’s hung on the hooks by the door to the flat. He looks the same as ever. The suit is immaculate. Hands folded. He’s placid and cold, thin-lipped and unimpressed. He’s broken into Greg’s flat and waited for Greg to haul himself out of bed for god knows how long, and he doesn't look the least bit nervous or guilty about it. 

Greg would like nothing more than to punch him in the nose. 

“I don’t believe I have ever personally done anything to you which could be classified as raking over coals,” Mycroft says calmly. “If you are referring to the inquest—” 

“Do you think I don’t know,” Greg says through his teeth. “Your fingerprints were all over everything. It was all so perfect. It all lined up so seamlessly.”

“I’m sure I don’t know what you mean.”

Greg rolls his eyes and sips his tea. It’s too hot, but he drinks it anyway. If he sets it down he’ll forget about it, and he can’t waste milk. He doesn't really have any desire to get into this right now. Or ever. Whether Mycroft Holmes helped along the death of Greg’s career in any way is actually irrelevant. Without him, it still would’ve died. And that’s Greg’s fault. 

And Mycroft’s brother is dead, so. If he did make sure that Greg paid dearly for his role in that… it was probably fair enough. 

“You are about to be evicted,” Mycroft says after a lengthy silence. 

Greg shrugs. “Yeah.” 

“You have sold most of your things.”

Greg looks around the mostly-empty flat. There are spaces where art used to hang; where a telly used to be; there is furniture missing; he no longer has an extensive and lovingly curated collection of records, tapes, and CDs. Greg hadn’t ever been one for luxuries, but the ones he had are gone, now. 

“Well spotted,” he says, and goes back to sipping his tea. 

“You are in quite a lot of debt,” Mycroft continues, as if Greg hadn’t said anything at all. “From your divorce, mostly. And from your recent attempts to use credit cards a stop-gap while you tried to find employment.”

Greg huffs. “What,” he says, “is your point, exactly?”

“You are on the verge of homelessness, Lestrade.”

“It’s Greg.” 

“You could take a menial job,” Mycroft suggests calmly. 

Greg scoffs. “Do you think I haven’t tried? I’ve been all over the papers for months. There isn’t a job in this city I could take and not be recognized. I’ve been recognized at every interview. No one wants to hire someone who just got fired for gross negligence.” 

Mycroft nods, and shifts in his seat again, uncrossing and recrossing his legs. “You are bisexual, is that correct?”

This - now, this pulls Greg up short. He blinks. “What in the fuck does that have to do with anything?”

“Is that correct?”

Greg pulls a face and shakes his head. “Fuck off, Mycroft.”

Mycroft’s face doesn't move. He doesn't appear to be concerned or embarrassed by what he’s said. “Is it?”

“Yes,” Greg snaps. “But that’s none of your business.” 

“You also,” Mycroft says, studying his own fingernails disinterestedly, “have a history of involvement in certain sexual practices.” 

At this, Greg simply laughs. Things have tipped firmly over into the surreal now. “What? Been tracking my porn searches? Before I hocked my laptop, that is.” 

Mycroft smiles, thin and humorless. “That,” he acknowledges, “and the very thorough background checks performed both when you began associating with Sherlock, and periodically after.” 

“In other words,” Greg says as he sets his tea down on the table beside him. “You spied on me.” 

Mycroft doesn't bother to confirm or deny that. “You are versatile,” he says, bored. “But with a heavy lean toward submission.” 

Greg shrugs. “And?”

Mycroft’s smile returns, sharp. “Based on this information,” he says. “I may be able to offer you a deal. So to speak.” 

“A deal,” says Greg flatly.

“Mm.” Mycroft rubs one thumb absently over his own lower lip, as if he’s thinking. It’s not absent at all, that motion. Greg knows that Mycroft Holmes doesn't do absent. “You are in need of something,” Mycroft says. “And so am I. It seems fairly cut and dry.”

It takes a moment for that to sink in, but when it does, Greg’s furious. He stands from the table and waffles for a moment, unsure whether he wants to go into the kitchen to slam some cabinets, or into his bedroom where he can just slam the door. 

He settles on saying “Get the fuck out of my flat,” and crossing his arms over his chest. 

“You haven’t heard the terms.” 

“I don’t need to.” 

Mycroft smirks, one side of his mouth curling, his eyes remaining cold and disinterested. “I am not attempting to give you money in exchange for sex.”

“Good.”

“Rather, I would offer you a place to live and anything else you might need, in exchange for your… availability.”

Greg reels, turning away from him and shaking his head, sucking his teeth and clenching his fists. “That’s…”

It’s not tempting. It can’t be. Greg tells himself not to be insane.   

“The accommodations I can provide are more than a step up from sleeping rough,” Mycroft says. “You don’t want to do that, Gregory.”

“I fucking told you, it’s Greg.” 

He refuses to turn and look at him. He refuses to even consider this. 

Mycroft speaks again. “You could, of course, ask me what else I have to offer you,” he says. “But your pride prevents it. Here is the rest of it: if you like, I will offer you now a list of employers, including in the realm of law enforcement, with whom I can put in a good word. They are all abroad. Canada, United States, Norway, Australia. Even South Africa. I can get you work there. All sorts of work. No one will have heard of you. I could even help you change your name, if you like.” 

Greg swallows. “In exchange for…”

“For nothing,” says Mycroft. “What I have just described, I will give you regardless of what you give me or don’t. But I would wager you cannot afford an international move.”

He can’t afford an international move. Even if Mycroft took care of the red tape, Greg couldn’t buy a plane ticket, let alone put a deposit on a flat somewhere. Let alone feed himself once he gets there, waiting on his first paycheque. 

And Greg doesn't want to leave London. His sister lives here. They’re not close, but… still. 

“However,” Mycroft murmurs. “If you agree to my proposal, I will do all of those things for you, if you wish me to do them, in one year’s time, and I would pay for anything you might need to accomplish your goals. In the interim, you would reside in the shelter I provide. Eat food I provide. Enjoy the entertainment I provide. And anything else you might need, which I would gladly provide. And in exchange, you would do what we both know you like to do, and which you have done for complete strangers before in exchange for exactly nothing.”

Greg runs his fingers through his hair like claws, scratching roughly at his own scalp. He turns. “You’re asking me to be your whore.”

Mycroft shrugs. “If that’s how you want to think of it. We both know your pride prevents you asking for help. You would have done it by now, if that weren’t the case. Does your pride prevent you from assuming that title? Something tells me it does. So, let us reframe, shall we?”

Greg’s breathing hard, utterly furious in a way he hasn’t been in the year and some months since Sherlock jumped. The shock of feeling something other than numb has an ironic cooling effect, enough so that he lets Mycroft keep talking. 

“You are under the impression that I in some way accelerated your arrival at this situation.” Mycroft’s gaze is penetrative, almost angry. “I did not. I would never have done such a thing. I had nothing to do with the inquest. If I had, I would not be offering you this. I am offering you this because I am a selfish person. I could help you. I could pay your debts and not feel it. I could buy you a house. But I won’t. I know that you would never accept, and I also know that I can bargain. I can get something that I want.”

“Which is a sub,” says Greg flatly. 

“Yes,” Mycroft murmurs, as if it’s nothing. As if it’s not completely insane that he’s doing this. 

“You want to put me in a position that leaves you as the only thing between me and living on the street.” Greg crosses his arms. “While also demanding sexual favours. You don’t think that’s twisted? You don’t think it throws the concept of consent out the window?”

“You do have other options,” Mycroft says. “Your sister. Friends. Former coworkers. You could appeal to my kinder nature right now and ask me to help you without conditions. You won’t. Your pride isn’t my problem.”

“Your kinder nature.” Greg barks a laugh. “Right.”

Mycroft lifts one shoulder in an elegant shrug. “Turn me down, then.”

Greg hesitates. Why does he hesitate?

God, he’s so beyond fucked up at this point. In a nonstop state of grief for months and months, he hasn’t had anyone else in this flat since just after his divorce. So, almost two years. He hasn’t spoken to another person in three days, as it is. The last time was with a cashier at the shops, stretching his money as far as he could while keeping himself from feeling too hungry all the time. He can’t remember the last time he spoke to anyone who knows him personally, too stifled by shame to let himself call. His number’s different now. No one calls him. Not that he was answering calls before. 

At first it was Sherlock. Guilt and grief and anger. Then, it was the friends he lost in those days before Sherlock’s death, and the ones immediately after. A creeping sense of isolation and loneliness. Then, his job. Utter loss. Devastation. And a sick sense of acceptance. He deserves it. He did this to himself. He should never have got involved with Sherlock Holmes. He should never have let anyone make him doubt Sherlock Holmes. He should have been better. He should have cared more, or less. 

Now, he sighs heavily. “I have to turn you down,” he says. 

Mycroft merely stares him down, unflinching. 

Greg forces himself to stand still, to keep his face under control. Why isn’t he saying more? He should say more. Tell Mycroft to get out again.

“Tell me,” Mycroft murmurs at last. “When was the last time you masturbated?”

“Jesus Christ.” Greg raises and drops both hands, palms smacking the outsides of his thighs. “You can’t be serious.”

“You have not had any sexual partners since just after your divorce.” Mycroft studies him with a glitter in his eyes, and Greg can’t decide if it’s sinister or not. “You have been without pornography or any means of accessing it for months now. And you have clearly been severely depressed. My guess would be at least three months. If not six.”

Greg grits his teeth. “What. Is your point?”

“It’s difficult, isn’t it?” Mycroft’s voice has gone silken and soft. Greg has to step and lean closer to hear him. “Orgasm would at least help. A free dose of endorphins. A temporary hormonal boost. But how can you manage it? How can you push yourself past the strictures of your self hatred? I would wager, Greg, that you could use some help.”

Greg is horrified to feel his blood pooling south, the very implication of another person touching him doing things to his nervous system without his express permission. “And what?” His voice is a rasp, dragged out of him over a bed of nails. “You gonna do it for me, Mycroft? Jerk me off? You can’t be serious.”

“I never said I would do that,” says Mycroft. “I asked you when you last masturbated. Let’s make that today. Shall we?”

Greg shakes his head. 

“Go and get one of the folding chairs from your kitchenette.” Mycroft gives the order and reaches for his briefcase. “Greg? Go get it.”

Greg jolts, his frozen limbs unsure whether they want to move for the kitchen or move to haul Mycroft off the couch and throw him out the door. “No,” he says, but it’s not no. He sees Mycroft’s lips twitch. The bastard knows. Greg’s been read. 

Mycroft has the briefcase open. He removes an object and holds it up. 

 A roll of bondage tape. 

“You—” Greg sucks in a breath. “I can’t do this.”

“No one is forcing you,” Mycroft says gently. “But you don’t even know what this would entail, do you? You’re going to turn me down not knowing? We both know you possess a curious mind. Perhaps it has been to your detriment before. Not perhaps - it certainly has. You want very badly to know what I plan on doing to you.” He lets the roll of tape twirl around his finger, once. “And you need this. You need my help. You need relief. Release. You won’t say no without considering it fully. Let me help you gather all of the data.”

“You think I need data?” Greg shakes his head. “You fuck me, I let you, you keep me like a pet. Got it. And no, thank you.”

Mycroft’s lips twitch. “I never said I would fuck you,” he says, and the profanity echoing back at him shocks Greg all over again, sends a surprising bolt of arousal through him that seems to shoot up from the very ground. “Is that what you need, Greg?”

Greg hauls in a breath, knowing it looks shaky (because it is) and starting not to care. He doesn't need it. There are so many things he needs that he can’t have, that he can’t get. He’s never been wealthy, but he’d forgotten what it was like to be poor. He remembers now, and he is very clear on the difference between a want and a need. 

Jesus, he wants to feel something other than exhausted and hopeless. 

“Do you want me to leave?”

Greg shakes his head. He doesn't want Mycroft to leave.He wants someone to just. Do something to him. Take it out of his hands and… He almost doesn't care if it hurts. Which is different from wanting it to hurt. 

He’s very clear on that, too. 

“Get a folding chair,” Mycroft says again.

Greg doesn't look at him. Doesn't say anything. He goes to the kitchen. 



***



Mycroft tells him to undress. He doesn't move from his place on Greg’s horrible second hand couch. He doesn't seem interested in the proceedings at all. He simply gives the order, and waits. 

And Greg, despite himself and against his better judgment, undresses. He doesn't look up while he does it. It doesn't take long. He’d slept late, got up and forced himself into a shower but didn’t bother to shave, and then put himself into clean clothes again before falling back into bed. He hadn’t even bothered with underwear, and now he isn’t sure whether or not he regrets that. 

Once he’s fully naked, eyes still cast down, he stands and waits, hands clenched at his sides. He’s furious with himself, with the fact that he’s already half-hard, just from the feeling of eyes on him. 

“Sit down,” Mycroft tells him. 

Greg sits, the cold metal of the chair uncomfortable on his arse and the backs of his thighs. He shifts. Spreads his legs, assuming that’s what Mycroft wants. 

“Feet against either chair leg. Insides of your ankles against the outsides of the chair.”

Greg keeps his breathing steady, and does it. It opens his thighs wider. 

“Touch yourself.”

Greg looks up, feeling his face blaze hot. “What—” 

“You heard what I said,” Mycroft says, and it isn’t louder or sharper than anything else he’s said. But there’s a threat there. Greg figures he might just leave if Greg falters and waffles at every turn. 

Part of him wants that to happen. Wants to call this off. 

The other part of him is already reaching for his cock. 

He strokes himself with one hand. He isn’t shy; he’s done this in a room full of people before. He’s done this trussed up in a sling. He’s done this in front of ill-advised one night stands. He isn’t humiliated. He risks a glance up at Mycroft, and finds him watching with cool disinterest. Unfortunately, that works for Greg in a big way. He shifts and opens his thighs wider. He lets one arm drape over the back of the chair, twisting his upper body a little. It’s easy, an old instinct, to put on a little bit of a show. 

Tracy, his ex, had never been into much that could be considered kinky. And when she wanted to mix things up, she mostly wanted Greg to watch her, to focus on her. And that was fine. 

But he won’t pretend he doesn't thrill at this, just a little. 

He isn’t sure where to look, though. He can’t keep looking at Mycroft’s smooth face. He’ll start thinking about how it’s Mycroft Holmes. He’ll start thinking about Sherlock. He doesn't want to. He doesn't want to go down that road now. Just for this one moment, he won’t. 

He closes his eyes and focuses on the fact that he’s hard and hot in his own hand. It’s an old familiar feeling, so rare these days that it’s special. It’s circled back around to being new again. 

That’s funny. 

He used to do this all the time. 

He’s missed having a sex drive. 

“Are you nervous?” Mycroft asks. 

Greg keeps his eyes closed. “No,” he replies. “Having trouble focusing.”

“Hm.” Mycroft shifts in his seat - Greg hears it. “Do not open your eyes.”

Greg can hear him moving then, but he does as told and keeps his eyes shut. It’s hard; he wants to do it, but his eyes want to open - like a reflex. There is a light rustle of fabric, and then something smooth and heavy covers his twitching eyelids. He draws a startled breath, but understands quickly. 

Mycroft’s tie. 

Mycroft knots it around Greg’s head, firm and snug, but not too tight. Greg tries to remember what color it is, but can’t. The fabric blocks out what little light had been making it through the room’s single window, and its weight is nice. His eyes don’t want to twitch open any longer. He tries to tip his head back into Mycroft’s hands, just to find out what would happen, but Mycroft has already stepped away. 

“Do you want your ankles taped?” 

Greg licks his lips, tilting his head in the direction of Mycroft’s voice. He’s antsy, wants to shift in the chair. He’s fully hard in his hand now, the familiar rush of adrenaline and anticipation having jumpstarted other long-dormant systems. 

“Do you want them taped?” Greg replies. “Isn’t that the point of this?” 

A hand lands on Greg’s bare knee. He jumps, tightens his hand around himself. Mycroft Holmes is all of half a foot, at most, away from his cock right now. Just like that, he’s breathless. Mycroft tilts Greg’s leg out, runs his hand down Greg’s shin, circles his ankle, and adjusts its position next to the cold metal leg of the chair. 

“On the ball of your foot,” he murmurs, and Greg obeys, feet no longer flat on the floor.

He tapes Greg’s ankle there, and then repeats the process with the other. 

“Keep your legs open,” Mycroft says from the floor - Greg would love to know if he’s kneeling there, and if he is, how close. “Or I’ll tape your thighs, too.” 

Greg nods, assuming that’s it. But then Mycroft’s hand, cool and dry, is on his arm - the one wrapped around the back of the chair. 

“You like to be on display,” Mycroft says, like a statement of fact. 

“Sometimes.” 

The tape makes a sound as it’s peeled off the roll. Greg’s left hand is fastened to the side of the chair. He has nothing but his free hand able to move. He can’t press down with his feet. There is no leverage to be had. If he squirms too much, he’ll tilt and tip the entire chair over. No way to catch himself. 

It’s clever, and it’s good. It’s simple. Greg always liked no-frills bondage. Had an ex who was fantastic at it. 

For the first time since this started, he’s not just turned on and horrified. Really, the horror - mostly at himself - has faded. He’s… interested. Once upon a time, this sort of thing was old hat. But Greg’s been without excitement, without thrill, without touch, for a long time. And this is Mycroft Holmes. Greg used to know him, a bit. Used to like him, a bit. 

Okay, a lot. Greg always liked him a lot. 

“I’m going to ask you to touch yourself,” Mycroft says close to Greg’s ear, but not touching him. Other than the hand to his leg and then to his arm, Mycroft hasn’t touched Greg directly at all. “I may ask you to speak to me. That is all. If you don’t feel comfortable with something I ask for, would you like to say no, or something else?”

Greg has to clear his throat, because he tries to speak and finds his throat terribly dry. His words get stuck. “Something else,” he says. He likes saying no. Sometimes he can’t help it. “Um. It used to be blue.” 

“Blue is fine,” Mycroft says, and then Greg hears him move away. The telltale squeak of springs places him back on the sofa. “Show me how you do this when you are alone.”

Greg can’t help smirking. “Well, first I tie myself to a chair…”

“Funny,” Mycroft drawls. “Are you going to be difficult?”

He grins, full-on. “Oh, yeah,” he murmurs. 

And just like that, it all falls away. He forgets he’s unemployable. Forgets the flat. Forgets all the things he’s pawned and sold. He just stops thinking about them. He by no means goes down, doesn't float away from it all - though, that would be… suddenly he wants that badly - but Greg has always liked to fight it a little. Has always been a line stepper. A little bit of a brat, according to more than one partner. 

He’s almost fifty, and it’s been years since anyone was in a position to say things like that to him. To do what Mycroft’s doing. He almost wishes he wasn’t blindfolded. He can do a lot with just… eyes. 

He likes this. He wants this. 

“Just do as I asked, please, Gregory,” says Mycroft mildly. 

Greg bites his lip and shrugs his free shoulder, then takes himself in hand more firmly. He works himself the way he likes, a little frustrated right out of the gate that he can’t get his hips into it this way. He likes to tease himself, hold his fingers in a loose ring and push up into that. He can sort of do it just with the motion of his wrist, but…

He lets his head fall back, breathing slowly, trying to conjure up some mental image he can use to get this thing moving. 

“What are you imagining?”

Greg hums. “Nothing, yet. I hadn’t decided.”

There is a soft sound, an amused exhalation of breath. “Would you like to phone a friend?”

Greg barks a laugh, picks up his head. He can’t see, of course, but he thinks he’s got his face turned toward where Mycroft is. “A pop culture reference,” he teases. 

“Shocking, I know,” Mycroft murmurs. “Well?”

“Well?”

“Do you require suggestions?”

Greg chews on his lip and thinks about it. Part of him would like to refuse out of stubbornness. Part of him is simply curious what Mycroft might say. He shrugs that shoulder again. “Go for it,” he says. 

Mycroft hums. “Very well. Take this seriously. No more teasing. Get your hand around your cock and work yourself over.”

Greg shivers into a grin, and does. 

“I would like you to imagine that you are tied like this, but… more. Your legs are open. Your body is completely bared. There is no chair, simply… space. You cannot move in it, but it surrounds you.” 

Greg nods to show he’s listening and wrenches his hand around the head of his cock in a tight twist. 

Mycroft continues. “I could do anything to you in this space. I could let someone else do anything to you. You cannot stop it. You don’t want to stop it. You want to be filled and touched and hurt and enjoyed. Don’t you?” 

Greg’s mouth has fallen open, Mycroft’s silky voice and the images Greg’s calling up working for him. He strips his hand over himself faster. 

“Gregory,” Mycroft says sharply. “I asked you a question.” 

“I—” Greg twitches, and stills himself quickly, afraid of upsetting the chair beneath him. “What? It’s Greg. By the way.” 

“When we are like this, I will call you Gregory,” Mycroft says. “I asked you if you wanted the things I just described.”

“Yeah,” Greg says, trying to get a handle on his thoughts, focus on the words. 

“I didn’t tell you to stop moving your hand.” 

Greg laughs on a breath and resumes his strokes again. “I want that,” he says. He wishes he could let his head drop forward, but his torso is twisted, and all he can do is let it loll to the side, almost resting on the slightly wrenched shoulder of his taped-down arm. 

“Do you like to be fucked?”

“Yes.”

“Hard?”

“Yes.”

“You like pain.” Mycroft’s voice has never sounded even remotely affected during any of this. It still doesn't. “What kind of pain do you like?”

Greg groans, feeling his balls start to tighten. “Slapping,” he admits freely. “Pinching. Nipples. Biting. Suck marks. Discomfort.” He gasps, swiping his palm over the slick head of his cock. “Scratching. Um. Lots of things.”

“Stop,” Mycroft says gently. 

Greg snaps his jaw shut, stopping the flow of words gladly as his hips continue to try to hitch up into his grip. 

“No,” Mycroft says, and this time he sounds amused. “Stop. Hold still.”

Greg gasps and does it, fingers a tight ring around the head of his cock. If he wasn’t strapped down like this, he wouldn’t be able to stop. He’d have his hand still but his hips would just keep going. He’d be coming by now. As it is, he can’t move enough to do that. Nothing would be worse than tipping over in the chair. He holds himself still. 

“You were close,” Mycroft observes. 

“Yeah,” Greg pants. 

“Good.”

And then there is silence. And then the sound of the sofa creaking as Mycroft stands. And then footsteps. Greg can’t really follow them, can’t quite hear over the rush of blood in his ears. He sits there and waits. 

The sound of the kettle clicking back on, that he can pick up. 

“Are you making a cup of tea?” he demands, furious. 

“Yes,” Mycroft answers. 

And Greg can hear that bastard smiling. 

 

-2-

 

By the time Greg makes it to the address Mycroft gave him, it’s the following Friday and he’s already second, third, and fourth-guessed himself. 

But he has to be out of his flat by the end of the next week, and…

Well. This is as good an option as any. 

And if Greg’s honest, the display in his lounge last Sunday had been the best sex he’s had in years, even if technically he did all the work himself while Mycroft watched and dragged it out for longer than Greg had thought was possible. 

Mycroft had left him with instructions: go to this address, speak with security, provide ID, and proceed to Mycroft’s flat. There would be ‘paperwork’ there for him to complete. Beyond that… Greg has no idea what to expect.

He goes with it. It’s fine. The security guard at the little marble stand in the lobby seems to be expecting him. He’s not chatty, just takes Greg’s ID, scans it, makes Greg turn this way and that in front of a camera for facial recognition purposes, and holds out a little pad for Greg to slap his hand on for a fingerprint reading. It’s all very high tech and not all that shocking considering what Greg’s figured out about Mycroft’s position over the years. 

The lift takes his prints, snaps his photo, and opens. The security guard, serious-faced and unflinching with a low, thickly accented voice, had told Greg to press the button for the top floor - the tenth - so he does. 

It’s a bloody fast lift. 

Greg arrives in the flat with nothing but a rolling suitcase full of clothes and books, a couple of DVD’s he hung onto, and a small duffel of personal effects. In the grand scheme of all of this, Greg can at least feel, for the first time, that his life as an orphan with only one sibling is somewhat convenient. 

Would it be nice to have parents to fall back on? Yeah. Though Greg’s parents probably wouldn’t have been any help, had they lived. 

He could crash on his sister Priscilla’s couch if this entire thing goes south, but only for a few days. She’s got kids, and they don’t know each other all that well. Not like most siblings. It would be awkward.

There are things Greg misses. Disappointments. 

But there is also the fact that Greg isn’t weighted down with things. Never really has been. He didn’t get precious when things got bad enough that selling off his things seemed necessary. Other than the music collection, he hadn’t felt much about any of it. 

Now, he feels a little strange, rocking up to this obviously posh place with next to nothing. But then, the flat itself is fairly bare. A blank, modern slate. 

It’s kind of nice not to have to think about fitting his things in or getting used to some cluttered lived-in place. There’s nothing here, and he has nothing. 

This is very definitely not Mycroft’s flat. It looks like no one lives here. 

The place is big, but not sprawling. A couple of front rooms - kitchen, lounge, dining room, powder room. There’s a hall that goes back off the lounge. Down it, Greg finds a boring bedroom, a full bath, and a locked door. There are stairs that lead up to a loft, a master suite with a gigantic, metal-framed bed. An open cube of iron with a slatted headboard and a mattress covered in plush grey bedding in the middle of it. 

Greg raises an eyebrow at it, and puts his things in the nondescript bedroom downstairs. 

On the kitchen table is a manila folder. In it, Greg finds a thin packet of paper, a blood work report for one M. Holmes which lists him clear of all communicable disease, the schedule for the cleaners, grocery delivery, and laundry service pickup, instructions for ordering specific groceries, and printouts from all of Greg’s credit card accounts, listing the amounts paid off since the night before. 

For the first time in over a decade, Greg is debt free.

It makes him dizzy enough that he leaves the folder there and takes a lap around the flat. 

He finds a fridge full of food, cabinets with all the staples, and a ton of kitchen gadgets. Greg loves cooking. He wonders if Mycroft Holmes knows that, along with his particular sexual appetites, his financial details, internet passwords, and what he looks like when he comes. 

That thought takes him to the lounge, where he sits heavily on the soft grey velvet sofa and groans. It’s so comfortable, and he realizes in that moment that he never has to sit on his horrible second hand couch again. The one he bought in some moving sale after the divorce. He flops down on the sofa and stops fighting his grin. 

“This is the craziest thing you've ever done,” he tells himself out loud. 

It might not be true. He did know Sherlock Holmes, after all. 

Greg rubs at the familiar hollow ache in his chest that shows up when he thinks of Sherlock. He misses that mad idiot. And he’s kind of morbidly interested in what Sherlock would do if he found out this was happening. 

He’d throw a fit. 

“Yeah well,” Greg says out loud, beyond thinking he’s crazy for it - he does it all the time lately. “It’s kind of your fault, so.” 

He sighs and, without meaning to, falls asleep. 



***



The next few days are occupied with long naps on that sumptuous velvet sofa, cooking, and watching back to back to back films on the giant television in the lounge. 

Greg had expected Mycroft to be there at some point. After all, wasn’t he meant to be getting something out of this deal? But he doesn’t show. 

It takes Greg all of the first day to work up the nerve to help himself to the kitchen, but once he does it, it’s too soothing to stop. 

He loves cooking. He never learned from his parents, of course, but his grandmother used to let him watch her bake. As an adult, Greg had gone from being the only one in his shared flat who could boil water, to working his way through the cookbook someone left behind in his first place of his own, to the sort of guy who cooked on the third date. Being good at cooking was a real deal-sealer. He’d become a food show fanatic and an avid cookbook collector. He’d eventually charmed Tracy with his roast chicken and creme brulee for dessert, married her, and for a long time had loved to cook her extravagant brunches on Sundays, lavish dinners for no reason at all mid-week. 

It had fallen off at about the same rate as their happy marriage. 

By day three he’s made his grandmother’s crumpets, Gordon Ramsay’s stuffed pork tenderloin, Giada’s Italian wedding soup, Julia Child’s quiche lorraine, the chicken francaise his first serious girlfriend taught him to make, a batch of chocolate biscuits, and Yorkshire puddings. 

He has a haphazard collection of containers by the end of it all, and has to organize the refrigerator to make it all fit. 

Mycroft arrives while Greg’s finishing up and debating whether he wants to get a sourdough starter going. 

“Well, well, well,” Greg drawls, having talked himself into not acting completely terrified by the uncertainty of all this. He snaps a lid on the last container of quiche. “Look who finally decided to show up.”

Mycroft pauses in the doorway, half out of his coat. “You…” his eyes scan the kitchen. “You appear to be settling in.”

Greg shrugs and puts the container atop the neat stack in the fridge. 

He turns and leans against it, waits for Mycroft to say something. He doesn't. He just drapes his coat over one of the stools at the fancy granite island and stands there, eyes sharp everywhere they land. 

“You are not nervous,” he states after a moment. 

Greg rolls his eyes. “I’m over that. Being left to stew in an empty flat for days helped. Plenty of time to adjust to the new reality of my life.”

“Really.”

Greg shrugs again. There’s a low thrum of anticipation behind his ribs now. He’s pissed Mycroft off, he can tell. There’s something narrow about his eyes, something stiff about his posture. 

“Would you rather I be nervous?” He tries, smirking. “You get off on that?”

Mycroft blinks and looks away. “No,” he says. “Did you complete the paperwork I left you?”

Greg snorts, and opens a drawer in the island. He holds up the packet. “This is paperwork?” He slides it across to Mycroft. “Interesting way of putting it.”

What it was, was more or less a contract. Greg had laughed, unable to stop from holding it to his chest, lying across the best sofa he’s ever touched, completely tickled. He’d never seen one of these before now. Sure, he’s negotiated with partners. But this? It was thorough. 

He’d spent the better part of day two alone in the flat going down a list of acts and kinks, indicating his level of comfort with each. He’d written notes in the margins, partly because his feelings were often nuanced, but also because he thought it would drive Mycroft insane. 

Judging by the slowly rising eyebrows, he’d been right. 

Mycroft snapped the top sheet back down and rested an elbow atop the papers, thumb worrying at his lower lip, like it had that afternoon in Greg’s flat. 

Greg wonders if it’s a tell. He wonders if this is it. If he’s about to be strapped to one of those stools or something. 

Mycroft studies him, inscrutable and cool as always. Then, he stands, taking the papers with him. “I have work to do in the study, and can’t be disturbed.”

He turns and leaves the kitchen, and for a moment Greg’s disappointed.

Actually, he’s angry. He follows Mycroft out. 

“Hey—” He smacks a hand against the wall when Mycroft doesn't bother to turn around. “Hey!”

Mycroft turns slowly. His face is shadowed in the darkened hallway. “Yes?” 

Greg isn’t interested in that oily-voiced bullshit now. “Where the fuck have you been?” he demands. “What the hell is this flat?”

Mycroft steps forward. “Excuse me?”

“This is bizarre, Mycroft,” Greg snaps. “What am I doing here? This is like a really nice hamster cage. You’ve put me in a posh habitrail.” 

“A hamster cage.” Mycroft’s mouth is a flat line, his eyes completely unreadable. “Is that so?” 

“What am I supposed to be doing?” Greg demands. “What am I supposed to expect?”

Mycroft’s lips twitch. “Isn’t not knowing part of the appeal?”

“Not in this case,” Greg says through his teeth. “This is completely twisted.” 

Mycroft steps fully out of the hallway. “Is it?” He holds up the packet of papers. “Did you find this difficult to understand?”

“Not particularly,” Greg says, lifting his chin and crossing his arms. “You expect me to be available.”

“Yes,” Mycroft says softly, an edge of the sinister there in his voice. “Does it say, anywhere in here, that I am required to make myself available to you? That I owe you any explanation whatsoever?”

Greg doesn't say anything. Of course that’s not in there. Still. It’s bad manners, he thinks, what Mycroft’s done just dumping him here. 

“What is it you want?” Mycroft asks, and he’s only a foot away from Greg now. “Attention?”

Greg rolls his eyes. 

“No?” Mycroft tosses the papers toward a side table that sits between the entrance to the lounge and the doorway of the kitchen. They skitter across the polished wood. “That’s not what bothers you? Would it have been better, Greg, if I had been here to give you the tour? Did you think I would fuck you to sleep your first night in your new place? Do you imagine that I have all the time in the world to make you comfortable? I don’t think I was in any way unclear about what this is.” 

Mycroft steps in close. Greg can smell his cologne, light and fresh and woodsy. He can see where his hair is fluffing, the product running out of hold this late in the day. He can see the fine lines at the corners of Mycroft’s eyes, the divot between his eyebrows. Greg has a divot like that, too. People who scowl over paperwork late into the night usually do. 

“I am not your boyfriend,” Mycroft says, low. 

“I am very much aware of that,” Greg replies, not letting himself sound in any way affected. “You know, maybe this was a bad idea.” 

Mycroft tilts his head to one side. “Already? We’re at this stage already?”

“Which stage?”

Mycroft smiles coldly. “The stage at which you pretend to have changed your mind in order to make yourself feel better.” 

Greg scoffs. “Fuck you, Mycroft.” 

“Get on your knees.”

The words are like a slap, like a lightning bolt. They’re spoken softly; there is no snap there, no anger. They roll down Greg’s spine like ice. 

“You’re kidding.” 

Mycroft’s smile grows. “I don’t kid.” 

“What about the list?” 

Mycroft’s eyes follow Greg’s when they flick to where the sort-of contract sits. “I will need to read it over more carefully,” Mycroft says, “but I got the gist.”

“You got the—” 

Mycroft steps into Greg’s space. “Knees,” he says. 

And Greg hits the ground, easy. 

“Hands on your thighs. Do not move them.”

And the next thing Greg knows, Mycroft Holmes is unbuckling his belt, clearly planning on taking his cock out mere inches from Greg’s face. 

It’s been more than a decade since he last gave a blowjob. Greg’s mouth waters. 

This is what made him say yes, really. He knows that. This little deal, mad as it is, can give Greg what he needs but also something he’s wanted, something he’s missed, for such a long time. And it gives it to him despite the fact that he’s a disaster. A pariah. Undateable. It gives it to him regardless of the fact that he’s been too depressed to try and find it for himself. 

“Open your mouth.”

Greg shivers and looks up through his lashes before he does it, letting his jaw drop. He expects to be fed Mycroft’s cock. Instead, Mycroft shoves two fingers into his mouth. Greg gags, draws his head back to compensate, sucking on instinct. It’s not what he expected, but he likes it anyway, likes the harsh invasion, the complete lack of warning. He opens his eyes, which had watered and then squeezed shut at first, and watches Mycroft stroke himself hard. 

His cock’s probably average length, but it’s thick. Greg wants it. Immediately. That’s… embarrassing. A little unsettling. This is Mycroft Holmes. Greg’s not sure why he keeps letting himself forget that. 

He firmly ignores the part of himself that’s laughing at him. The part of himself that used to notice the cut of Mycroft’s suits all the time. 

“You’re not having it, Gregory,” Mycroft says, the almost imperceptible catch in his voice thrilling to hear. 

Greg makes a questioning sound around the fingers in his mouth. 

“This,” Mycroft says, stroking his cock a little more showily, slow and indulgent, right in front of Greg’s face. 

Greg curls his tongue hopefully around Mycroft’s fingers. Maybe he can be convincing. 

Mycroft smirks and shakes his head. “No,” he murmurs. “But you will keep doing that. Impress me, and I’ll consider changing my mind in the future.” 

He sighs, presses his tongue flat against the pads of Mycroft’s long fingers. He lets his eyes flutter shut and sucks them further in before pulling back, slicking them with spit and letting it be messy, knowing what he’ll look like all wet and desperate. 

“Good,” Mycroft grunts, and strips his hand over his cock, the movement jingling the buckle of his belt, which hangs by his wrist. He’s still entirely dressed, only very slightly mussed in the process of doing this. “Harder.”

Greg sucks harder, then gags again when Mycroft surprises him by shoving forward when Greg’s bobbing his head to take his fingers in. Mycroft’s fingers press down, hooked in Greg’s mouth, and Greg can hardly breathe for endless moments, eyes watering. 

Above him, Mycroft’s breathing is ragged. It’s the only indicator that he’s enjoying this. His eyes bore into Greg, taking in the tears leaking down his temples, the saliva shining on his lips and chin. He pulls his fingers back and Greg sucks in air, tries to swallow. Mycroft forces his mouth wider. 

Greg moans, knowing what's coming. So Mycroft wouldn’t let him blow him, that’s fine. Greg’s so hard in his jeans it’s uncomfortable. His knees hurt, particularly the right - blew it out playing a casual game of football with a bunch of coworkers years ago. But it’s good. It’s all good. He feels completely unlike himself. He feels twenty years younger and desperate to please. 

Mycroft slips his fingers away, Greg’s bottom teeth scraping over them. He holds Greg by the chin, tilts his face up. “You aren’t having that, either,” he says, thumb hard against Greg’s jaw. “Close your mouth.”

Greg whimpers but does it. He remembers begging, remembers how good it used to feel to be like this and gasping for it, knowing that if he asked prettily enough he’d get what he wanted. 

But that’s not going to work here, he doesn't think. 

“Keep your eyes open,” Mycroft commands, then grunts, a choked-off sound in the back of his throat. 

The first hot stripe of come hits Greg’s left cheek. He shudders. He wants to close his eyes. Wants to smile. God, this is good. He’s basically dripping in his jeans, can feel it sticky and cooling in the front of his pants. He wonders if Mycroft’ll make him edge himself for an hour or so this time. His entire body thrills at the thought. Last time had been… painful, actually, but. Greg had loved it. 

Mycroft tilts Greg’s face this way and that, admiring his work. Greg can’t help it, he grins. 

“What are you smiling about?” Mycroft murmurs, thumb smearing come sideways off Greg’s cheek and across his lips. 

“All sorts of things,” Greg replies. 

Mycroft smiles down at him, and it’s almost not cold. Almost. Greg thinks so, anyway. Mycroft’s hand goes to his hair, fingers carding through. Greg’s surprised, and then those fingers tighten, hard, and yank his head back. 

Greg cries out, and the pain is waves of shock down his neck, down his back. His nipples are hard, his cock twitches, and his hands stay there on his thighs. Greg feels so good he could sob. 

“I have work to do,” Mycroft says, leaning down to press his lips right against his ear. Greg tries to tilt into it, get that mouth on his skin, but Mycroft holds him tightly by the hair. “Do not. Touch. Yourself.”

Greg opens his eyes, shocked. “What.”

“You heard me.”

“For how long?”

Mycroft’s fingers tighten, really hurting now, and then let go entirely. Greg nearly falls over with it. He keeps his hands flat on his thighs. “Until tomorrow.”

Greg stares up at him from his place on the floor. “That’s it?”

“What is?” Mycroft fastens his trousers and starts to do up his belt. 

“This.” Greg swallows hard. “This is what you want with me?”

“At present?” Mycroft scoops the papers up from the table. “Yes.” 

Greg doesn't know what to say. He feels… not great. 

“What am I supposed to do now?”

Mycroft shrugs. “Anything but have an orgasm.” He produces a key from his pocket and lets himself into the locked door Greg found earlier. “Goodnight, Greg.” 

Greg, not Gregory, is all the signal Greg needs: scene over. 

 

-3-

 

Mycroft’s still there in the morning. Greg had stayed up late, first in the lounge with one eye on the hall, and then in the downstairs bedroom, ears open for when that door would finally open. It had to have been at least three in the morning when he finally fell asleep. When he wanders out into the kitchen, still in his pants and half-awake like he always is before coffee, Mycroft’s standing in front of the coffee machine, watching it drip into the pot, and fastening his cufflinks. 

Greg’s never seen him this undressed: no jacket or waistcoat, no tie, socked feet. His hair’s not all slicked down yet. 

Greg blinks and bites the side of his tongue. He can’t be trusted to speak uncaffeinated. Not in the face of whatever all that is.

“I owe you an apology,” Mycroft says to the coffee pot. 

Greg closes his eyes and groans. “No,” he says.”Nope. I need coffee first. Maybe some biscuits. Just. Shut up.”

Mycroft huffs. Greg risks a look at him. He’s almost smiling. “Very well,” he murmurs. 

Greg bites his tongue harder and grabs a mug. 

Once he’s gulped down half a coffee and shoved one of the chocolate biscuits from his cook-a-thon into his mouth, Greg rubs the sleep from his eyes and gestures to Mycroft. “Alright.”

“I shouldn’t have disappeared last night,” he says. “I’m sorry.”

Greg sips at the last half of his coffee. “I was fine,” he says. 

“The fact remains,” Mycroft says, “that I should have waited to read through your answers to the questionnaire—” 

“Questionnaire!”

“Yes.” 

“That was not a questionnaire.” 

Mycroft blinks at him, stymied. “Then what was it?” 

“A contract,” Greg says. ”Obviously.” 

“No—” 

“I think I can tell the difference.” Greg rolls his eyes.

Mycroft gives him a deeply unimpressed look that is so…

“You know,” Greg says before he can stop himself, “sometimes I really do see him in you.” 

Mycroft leans back against the worktop. “Sherlock?”

“Yeah.” 

“Well, we share parents. Shared.” 

Greg can’t look at him anymore. “Anyway. It does kind of look like a contract, Mycroft. You can’t ask someone to sign on a dotted line and not expect they’ll make certain assumptions.”

“I’m not expecting you to adhere to some contract with complete obedience,” Mycroft says. “I only wanted to approach this… pragmatically.”

Greg laughs into his coffee mug. “Alright, then.” 

“You elaborated quite a bit on your answers,” Mycroft continues. “Thank you for the… detail.” 

Greg shrugs one shoulder. “Sure.” 

“I shouldn’t have left so abruptly. You were very clear in your notes that such actions would be negative for you.” 

“Apology accepted. But I really was fine.”

They stare at each other, Greg over the rim of his mug, Mycroft seeming to have forgotten his. 

“I made quiche,” Greg says. “D’you want some?”

Mycroft nods.

Chapter Text

-4-

 

And then Greg’s alone again. Mycroft doesn't come back that night, or the next. Greg cooks, watches films, and comes up with a grocery list. He wishes he still had a mobile with internet, or his laptop. He could look up some really weird, difficult recipe to distract him from the fact that there is nothing to do in here. 

By the third day after Mycroft showed up to wank on Greg’s face, apologize, and leave, Greg’s taking trips down to the lobby for entertainment purposes. 

The security guard’s name is Shaan, and he’s from Bangladesh. He supports Arsenal, and he can’t tell Greg where Mr Holmes is, only that he’s out of the country. No, he cannot tell Greg for how long. 

“Was Mr Holmes out of the country when I got here?” Greg asks, sharing a bag of wine chews between them. 

“Nope,” Shaan says. “Can’t say anymore, Anthea would take my balls off.” 

Greg sighs. “That’s fair, mate, sorry.” 

“Wanna watch last night’s match on my phone?”

“God, yes,” Greg says, though he absolutely loathes Arsenal. 



***



Greg gets bored enough by the fifth day that he takes another tour of the flat, snooping a little more thoroughly this time. He has no idea where Mycroft got that fresh suit last week; there’s not a trace of clothing. Maybe he has a wardrobe in the locked office, which - yep, still locked. 

But Greg does find something under the big iron bed in the upstairs suite. 

It might’ve been there the entire time - he didn’t look there when he first got here, so who knows. 

But Greg doesn't think so, because when he takes the lid off the wide box, there’s a note on top of the frankly shockingly organized collection of sex toys inside. 

There’s also a brand new iPhone, the latest, fanciest one. 

When you find these, text me. I want a photograph. 

And Greg’s grinning. He’s… he feels strange in his chest; light. This is weirdly romantic - intimate - right? Does Mycroft know it is? 

He’s Mycroft, so he must, right? 

Then again… Greg doesn't really know if Mycroft has the slightest clue what the fuck he’s doing. Greg certainly doesn't. 

He’s been in relationships that involved kink - lots of it. He’s gone to casual play parties, even, though that was so long ago it feels like it happened to someone else. 

This is… different. He really doesn't know what he’s meant to be doing. He doesn't want to ask, either. 

But the toys, the note, the phone. Yeah, it’s Holmesian - heavy-handed, presumptuous, weird - but it’s also… fun. It’s the sort of thing you might ask of a person you’re just having a good time with. Greg, for the first time, really does think Mycroft must want this. 

He doesn't know what he’s been thinking. Mycroft doesn't seem the type to do things out of guilt, and he had been fairly insistent that he had no hand in Greg losing his job, so maybe he doesn't have anything to feel guilty about. 

But something about all this has felt a bit weird. It just seems to Greg that someone who wanted what amounted to a sex slave might show up when said sex slave arrived on the premises. Might not fuck off after a really weird - even if it was also really hot - sort of power-move scene in the hallway. 

Greg turns the phone over in his hands. Notes that the box and charger are present among the lube and dildos and plugs and whatnot. Greg turns it on and finds it preloaded with his contacts and email. He rolls his eyes. Mycroft Holmes. 

Still, he chooses a toy and some lube, and decides to take them into the master bath with its giant tub and ridiculous shower, and its floor-to-ceiling mirror. 



***



He showers. He shaves, getting rid of the couple weeks worth of rough beard he’s let grow in. He cleans himself fastidiously and rolls a condom onto the suction cup dildo he picked out of the box. After he sticks it to the glass shower wall, he gets an idea of how the photo will look if he takes it in the mirror just across. Yeah, it’ll be good. 

Greg opens himself up slowly, grinding down on his own fingers at first, then slumping forward on the plush bath mat, arse in the air, reaching behind himself and rocking forward and back. 

It’s… really good. He doesn't know why this never occurred to him before. Not just in the deep, dark hole of his life recently, but ever. Not after his divorce, when he had his own place and a raging sex drive all of a sudden. Not during his marriage, when he could’ve done this when Tracy was away, could have even brought it up to her as something he wanted to do with her. She might’ve been game. Especially early on. 

Greg doesn't know what he’s been doing, really, for a long time. But this feels good. 

He grabs the phone and places it within reach before he slicks up the dildo and starts the slow, uncomfortable process of easing himself back onto it. 

It’s been so long since he felt this stretch. Greg gasps through it, grits his teeth a little, but it gets easy quickly. It feels good with just a little patience, shy little rocks of his hips. He snatches up the phone and opens the camera, takes a few photos in the mirror and then on selfie mode, lifting the phone as high as he can to try and get a good angle. It’s not quite right. He moans as he slides slowly off and catches his breath on the floor for a moment before he sits up and moves the fake cock to the mirror itself. 

There, he can set the phone on the floor with the video running. It captures a decent view of his leaking cock, his rolling hips, and then the reflection of the fake cock disappearing inside him. He gets lost in that for a while, fucking himself a little harder now that the stretch doesn't burn, feeling his thighs and arse ripple with each bounce. 

“Fuck,” he groans, head hanging down between his shoulders, staring down at his hands twisted in the thick bathmat. “Yeah.” 

He rolls his hips, moves them slow, then fast. Shoves himself back and hauls himself forward. God, it’s so good. He lets himself cry out with it. Lets himself forget he’s trying to put on some sort of a show, and takes himself in hand. 

He comes all over the fancy bath mat, grinding back against the thick rubber cock and sobbing with relief. 

After, he snaps a photo of the come all over the floor, and then lays on the cool tile to catch his breath. Runs a hand down his own chest, his stomach. He feels… real. His skin feels alive. He can’t stop listening to his own breath, his own heartbeat. 

He watches the video. 

It’s good. He looks good. 

He pauses it at a good spot and takes a screenshot of that. He sends it to Mycroft’s number, along with the one of the bathmat and the full video. 

Texts him: Can I send the bath mat out with the laundry?



***



He gets a text back that night. 

MH: Thank you. Very good work. 

MH: Yes, send it with the laundry. 

Greg laughs to himself from his place in a cocoon of soft knit blankets on the overwhelmingly comfortable couch. 

Holmeses. Weird. 

He sends a text. 

GL: You know, there’s more to life than watching each other wank. Just saying

Mycroft doesn't answer. 

 

-5-

 

Mycroft shows up a couple of nights later. Greg’s wandering in from the kitchen with freshly made popcorn and grand plans to watch the entire Pride and Prejudice miniseries in one sitting because he slept half the day away and, well, why not?

The sound of the door opening draws him up short, pausing with a handful of popcorn halfway to his mouth. He’s surprised at Mycroft’s appearance when he enters. He looks rumpled and tired. His eyes aren’t quite right. 

“Evening,” Greg says with trepidation. 

Mycroft throws him a surprisingly bitter-looking smirk and drops his keys and briefcase, starts to struggle out of his coat. 

Greg realizes pretty quickly that he’s drunk.

“Mycroft?”

“Yes,” is the reply, like Greg was double checking the identity of the lanky bastard in the foyer. 

Greg backtracks a bit and deposits the popcorn on the kitchen island before stepping back into the hall. “You alright?”

Mycroft, having shed his suit jacket, is trying to get his right cufflink off, and struggling. 

“Here—” Greg steps forward, but Mycroft recoils. 

“No,” he snaps. “ Don’t.”

Greg can’t help taking a bit of a stumble back. That was… venomous. Mycroft looks furious. “Sorry,” he says.

Mycroft ignores him, gets the cufflink off and shoves it in his pocket before starting on the other. “I don’t owe you explanations,” Mycroft says, “just to make that perfectly clear. Is it clear?” He raises his voice. “Well? Is it?”

Greg blinks, lets out a stuttering, nervous sort of laugh under his breath. “Crystal.”

“Good.”

Greg can’t account for what goes through his head next, as Mycroft takes a step toward him with his hand raised. He’s getting his other cufflink off, that’s all, but Greg flinches and steps back again. 

They both freeze. 

He watches Mycroft’s fingers rolling the unfastened cufflink between them. Watches him drop his hands. 

“I’m so sorry,” Mycroft says, speaking haltingly. “I’m—  I have had a horrendous day, and I’m being… unforgivably rude to you. I wasn’t going to—  I would never, out of anger—”

“I don’t think that you would,” Greg says quickly. “Sorry.”

“Don’t.” Mycroft pinches the bridge of his nose. “Don’t apologize to me. I don’t know what I… I don’t know why I came here.”

Greg rocks back on his heels. “Well, why do you have me here in the first place? What’s the point of all this?” He waits for Mycroft to look at him then quirks an eyebrow. “You said, at my flat, when you asked me… when you offered this. You said I needed something, and you needed something. So. I guess I don’t actually get why you would go to all this trouble and never… never take advantage of the little situation you’ve created.”

Mycroft laughs humorlessly, then sighs. “Things are… complex,” he says.

That makes little sense to Greg. He shrugs. “Alright. I was going to put on the Colin Firth Pride and Prejudice. If you're interested.” 

Mycroft only stares at him. 

“Or,” Greg tries, “you could ask me to do something for you. That would be fine.” 

“I don’t think so.” 

Greg shrugs again. “Fine. I mean, you have my entire sexual history, apparently, at your fingertips. Plus a questionnaire that gives you a roadmap. Not my problem if you don’t want to use any of it.”

Mycroft shakes his head. “I’m intoxicated.” He closes his eyes, shoulders drooping. He rubs a hand over his mouth. “I shouldn’t have come here.”

“And yet,” Greg says. “Just… come into the lounge, Mycroft.”



***



Greg wasn’t expecting to see Mycroft this late, so he’s in what amounts to sleep clothes: his boxer briefs and an old t-shirt with a mostly-faded logo from some Met footie league thing. He lowers himself into a corner of the sofa and folds his legs up, tucking one foot under the other and resting an elbow on his raised knee. 

Mycroft does follow him, but he hovers in the doorway. 

“What is it you expect me to do?” he asks. 

Greg laughs, flicks his fingers out. “That matters?”

“I don’t actually want to make you miserable.” Mycroft sighs. “I’ve really… botched this entire thing.”

“Yeah,” Greg agrees. “I mean… I appreciate the flat. The… um. Accessories. But I don’t really know what you’re getting out of this.” 

Mycroft takes a step into the room. “As I said, I don’t need to explain my motivations.” 

“Yeah, no shit.” Greg rolls his eyes. “But come on. What do you want? Why did you come here?”

Mycroft sinks down to the other end of the sofa and sighs. “I…”

“Did any of my answers on your little sex quiz surprise you?”

“No.”

“Disappoint you?”

“...no, actually.” 

“So?” Greg raises his eyebrows. “You could have tied me up or down about six ways from Sunday by now. But you haven’t. You could have had me do all sorts of things. It’s been almost two weeks. You’re… sort of wasting your money, in my opinion.”

Mycroft smiles thinly. “You see… I think most men in your position would happily take the flat and not press about the rest of it.” 

“Would they?” Greg sighs. “Well, I wouldn’t know. Would you? In the habit of acquiring sex slaves?”

Mycroft’s nose wrinkles. “That’s not what this is.” 

“No?”

“No.”

Greg shrugs and lets his legs stretch out. His toes almost nudge against Mycroft’s thigh. He sighs. “Alright, then.”

He watches Mycroft lick his lips. Waits for, and then gets a little thrill at having predicted the thumb against the lower lip. 

“Tell me what I can do,” Greg says, and is almost shocked at how seductive, how insistent his voice sounds when it leaves him. But he can admit it. He wants this. He wants something. He needs to feel like he’s doing anything other than ghosting around this flat. 

He doesn't care at all if it makes him not only a whore but a happy one. He likes that. Oh, well. 

Mycroft’s fingers are light on Greg’s foot.They’re gentle, barely there, slipping softly over the fine bones at the top, then to the knob of his ankle. Greg remembers the way Mycroft had moved his ankle in order to strap it to a chair. He bites his lip and waits. 

“Touch yourself,” Mycroft commands. “Do not—” 

Greg snaps his mouth shut on the comment that had been nearly ready to spill out, and nods. He wants to mime locking his lips, but… Mycroft’s eyes have gone over all dark and intent. 

“Touch yourself,” he says again. 

Greg does it, palms himself through his pants. He lets his outside leg fall to the side, foot planted on the floor so Mycroft can see him getting hard under the fabric. He tilts his hips up, rubbing himself against his own hand. He sighs, rucks up his shirt with his other hand, scratches his nails idly up his belly to his chest. He teases at his nipples and watches Mycroft through his eyelashes, watches his mouth fall open and his tongue dart out to wet his lips.

“I could touch you,” Greg suggests, reaching down his pants to hold himself in a loose grip. “Like this, or…”

Mycroft shakes his head, then seems to pause and consider. He shifts sideways, sliding closer to Greg, then turns his body. He faces Greg, one leg half drawn up onto the cushions. He strokes his thumb over the inside of Greg’s ankle, then picks it up, lifts his foot. 

“Oh.” Greg grins, squeezes his cock, and lets Mycroft place his foot in his lap. Mycroft’s cock is hard against Greg’s instep. His hands cup Greg’s foot, holding it close. After a moment his hips hitch in tiny movements.

It’s weird, Greg thinks. But sexy, too.

Then, Mycroft says “Let me see you.” 

And Greg ends up wanking rather furiously, the waistband of his pants tucked up under his balls, with Mycroft Holmes humping the sole of his foot and telling him what to do. 

“Pinch it,” Mycroft says, low and urgent. He means Greg’s nipple, currently being rolled between two fingers. 

Greg does it, pinches and gasps. 

“Harder.”

Greg pinches harder and swallows a groan. 

“Now stop.”

This time, Greg knows what Mycroft means and gets his hand off his cock, even though he hates to do it. He was barreling close to the end, there. He hadn’t even realized it. His hips hitch uselessly, pushing his cock through a grip that isn’t there any longer. He flexes his foot, feels the suggestion of Mycroft’s balls, the rigid line of his erection. But Mycroft won’t let him do anything. Won’t let him control any of it. 

Greg lets his head fall back against the arm of the sofa, smiling to himself. He waits. 

“Go on,” Mycroft says, his voice a little rougher now. 

Greg takes himself in hand again and strokes, slowly at first, but then - just to see what will happen - harder, faster. Ramps himself back up right away. 

Mycroft huffs. His fingers dig hard into a spot on Greg’s foot that has him gasping, shocked by the pain, and stopping. His hands fly up, and his cock twitches against his belly, the direct line between Mycrot’s harsh fingers and his balls zinging with it. 

“Oh,” Greg gasps.”Okay, ow, but—  Oh.”

Mycroft does it again, digs his thumb in hard, does something to the top of Greg’s foot with his long fingers, too, and grunts as he thrusts hard against Greg’s arch. 

Greg squirms, breath hitching. His cock leaks precome, and twitches again. 

“Go,” Mycroft says. “Slowly.”

It goes on and on. Greg finds himself panting, watching Mycroft’s eyes go glassy, feeling the movement of his hips going desperate, the way he holds Greg’s foot against him becoming more grind than anything else. Mycroft makes him stop touching himself any time he gets even a little close to coming. When Greg doesn't stop fast enough, or works himself over harder and faster than Mycroft likes, he gets another delicious little thunderbolt of pain that, really, is starting to become a problem. 

“I’m gonna—” Greg shudders. “I can’t. I can’t stop it if you—  If you keep—” 

“You had better stop it,” Mycroft snaps. “Don’t you dare come.”

Greg shudders again. Oh, god, well, that’s not helpful. He whimpers and isn’t embarrassed at all. He scratches at himself with his free hand, pinches his nipple hard to try and draw his attention away from how fucking good it feels to palm the head of his cock while Mycroft murmurs filthy instructions at him. 

“Please,” Greg pants. “Please, please, please.” 

“Now that…” Mycroft’s got both hands holding Greg’s foot now. He’s leaked through the fine fabric of his trousers, Greg can feel it. “That’s good, Gregory. Please, what?”

“Please let me touch you,” Greg says, surprising himself.

He surprises Mycroft, too. 

They’d both been expecting him to beg to be allowed to come. 

“No,” Mycroft says, smirking. “I don’t think so.” 

Greg sobs in frustration. “What—  Why?”

“Because I don’t feel like it,” Mycroft drawls. “Good enough? Or would you like to argue and have me leave you wanting? Colin Firth? That was the plan for the evening? Hmm… could you make it all six hours of the series if I made you keep yourself hard all night?”

Greg clenches his fist against his chest and barely touches his cock, afraid that if he does he’ll go off like a rocket. 

“Then… then please let me come,” he tries. 

Mycroft doesn't answer. He drops Greg’s foot and moves quickly, startlingly so, until he’s kneeling over him. “Get my trousers open,” he says through his teeth. 

Greg gasps, thrilled that Mycroft’s changed his mind. He deals with the belt and the fly, but when he tries to reach inside to finally get his hand around real, hard flesh, Mycroft slaps his hands away. 

“Put them above your head,” Mycroft orders. 

Greg whines but does it, reaching up to hang onto the arm of the sofa. He’s still achingly hard. 

Mycroft takes himself out, shoving his trousers and pants out of the way, and shifts, straddling Greg’s hips but keeping himself up on his knees, not paying Greg’s cock any mind or coming in contact with it at all. Just strokes himself with one hand, and lays the other at the base of Greg’s throat. 

Greg arches. It’s instantaneous. He wants that, yes, yes, please, god. 

“If I do this too tightly, you need to say blue,” Mycroft says, and his voice is ragged. “Understood?”

Greg nods frantically, trying to press himself up into Mycroft’s grip. “Yeah,” he breathes. “Yeah, yes.” 

Mycroft’s hand tightens around his throat, and Greg’s fingers become like claws in the plush velvet of the arm of the sofa. He wants to touch himself so badly. He wants to come like this. Now. But he doesn't. He hangs on. Watches Mycroft watching him. Holds still. 

“You can come after I do,” Mycroft says. His hand is still just a firm pressure on Greg’s throat. “Don’t move.” 

Greg nods again. Mycroft licks his own palm and starts to work himself over. His hair’s come loose from its usual combed-down style, and there’s a lock hanging over his damp forehead. He scratches his nails down from Greg’s throat to his navel, and then back up again, snagging his nipple on the way. Greg whimpers and squirms, but holds still again as Mycroft’s fingers squeeze his throat again, not cutting off his air but making it so Greg can feel his pulse thundering there, giving him a little hint of lightheadedness. 

He’s glad he left such long, thorough notes around ‘breathplay’ on that so-called questionnaire. Mycroft seems to know exactly what works. Doesn't cross the line into too much, doesn't shy away too soon. It feels fucking amazing, and Greg goes pliant under that hand, lets out all sorts of embarrassing noises, and doesn't care. 

“You are so…” Mycroft shakes his head. “Open your mouth.”

Greg does, and he’s thrilled when Mycroft moves further up his body and digs his nails hard into Greg’s shoulder as he comes, painting it in stripes over Greg’s lips and tongue and chin. 

‘Comeplay’ had been another of those items he’d left a lot of enthusiastic notes beside. 

The most perfect thing would be for Mycroft to kiss him now, lick the come off him, shove his tongue in Greg’s mouth, invasive and bitter with his own taste— 

Greg shouts, because instead of doing that, Mycroft gets his hand back around Greg’s throat, shifts around, bends, and sucks Greg’s cock into his mouth as he squeezes just right. 

Greg sees spots and explodes, shouting and sobbing as he comes straight down Mycroft’s throat. 

“Jesus fucking—” he shakes hard with it. “My—  Mycroft, stop—”

Mycroft doesn't stop. He just keeps sucking him, keeps releasing and squeezing Greg’s windpipe, overwhelming, with an edge of too-much that’s just on the right side of scary. 

Greg trembles so hard he doesn't know how he hasn’t accidentally knocked Mycroft off him. It’s too much. Far too much. He loves it, fucking loves it. He takes it because it’s so horrible and so good. 

Mycroft finally releases him, abrupt and shocking. Greg’s body jolts, the suggestion of a second orgasm right there at the edges. He can’t. He c an’t. 

Mycroft doesn't try to make him. He straightens and then slumps, trapped between Greg and the back of the sofa. 

There’s a tiny drop of Greg’s come on his chin. Greg reaches up weakly and wipes it away. Mycroft lets him and looks down at him, lips red and hanging open, eyes surprised, like he forgot Greg was there, somehow. Greg takes it as tacit permission to stop hanging onto the arm of the sofa for dear life and lowers his other arm.

“So,” he says. “This is how we’re gonna do it? You show up here and there and have weird sex with me and then… what? Leave? Did you sleep here last time? In that study? Upstairs in the big bed?”

Mycroft shoves Greg around, gets himself comfortable with Greg’s legs draped over his lap. Greg’s not sure if Mycroft really wants to be sat like that, but he’s pretty sure neither of them can manage much coordination just yet. So, that’s how they sit. 

“I slept upstairs,” Mycroft says. “But only shortly. I was on the phone most of the night, dealing with a series of crises.” He runs a hand through his mussed hair. He looks younger with it all skewed like that. “Which reminds me - why haven’t you chosen to sleep in that room?”

Greg shrugs. “It looked like the sex room.” 

Mycroft laughs, stifles it with the back of his hand. He shakes his head. “Well.”

“Look,” Greg says after a moment. He struggles up onto his elbows. “It’s a bit weird that you don’t… you could talk to me, you know. Like a person. A person that you know. It’s… I know I fucked up. I know I ruined my own life, and probably helped do serious damage to yours. I… I know I don’t deserve friendliness or warmth from you, but…”

Mycroft’s head lolls back against the sofa. “Do you think that I blame you for Sherlock?”

“I blame me for Sherlock.”

Mycroft looks at him, and for the first time Greg thinks he looks really sad. “Well, then we have something in common,” Mycroft says. “We both blame ourselves. You shouldn’t, though. You were in a terrible position.” 

Greg sighs. Doesn't have much to say about that. “I always thought you were interesting,” he says after a minute. “Just saying.” 

“Interesting?”

“Mm.” Greg sits up, reclaims his legs, gives himself a little space. “Attractive, too.” He smiles wryly. “All things considered, it really does seem like I’m getting the better end of this deal. You don’t look like you want to be doing this sometimes. For all I know, you get off on it, basically pretending we’ve never met before, but...” 

Mycroft averts his eyes again, gazing up at the ceiling of the lounge. “I rather thought you might not welcome… overtures. Pretense.” 

“Oh, you mean human interaction?” Greg scoffs. “Look, Shaan is getting tired of me. He’d thank you for giving me someone else to talk to.”

Mycroft doesn't speak for a moment. Then, “Colin Firth, you said?”

Greg grins. “Yeah. Popcorn?”

“...alright.”

“Mmkay.” Greg stands and stretches. “I, er… I’m gonna wash my face, first.” 

Mycroft lets out one of his under the breath laughs, and Greg takes a chance and shoots him a wink before he goes. 

 

-6-

 

Mycroft doesn't stick around that night, and doesn't show for a couple of days. But he leaves behind a weird little surprise. 

Greg finds, after his shower the next morning, that his underwear drawer’s been tampered with. Specifically, all of his pants are gone, and have been replaced with really nice silky posh ones. They’re all black. And they’re briefs, but not as long in the leg as his old ones. They’re… a bit small. Not uncomfortably so, but revealing. 

Greg pulls them on and goes upstairs to the big master bath and the mirror. He blinks at his reflection. 

He’s in his late forties. He has no illusions about that. He’s thicker in some places than he used to be and his chest hair’s going as grey as the rest of him. The last time he had any sort of sexual excitement… god, had he been different. When he met Tracy he was all of thirty. He’d been in the best shape of his life. He thinks of himself even before that - in his twenties, when he was broke and a little out of control. He thinks of how lithe he used to be, how fragile he used to feel. The way people would look at him. The way men looked at him. He’ll never look like that again, he thinks wistfully. 

But he… he looks okay. He could maybe get back into doing sit ups and push ups in the morning and evening like he used to, regain some of the muscle he lost with a shit diet and a depression-driven sleep schedule. But the pants… they look good. They make his legs look long. Make his waist look nice, tapered down to the line of them. He’ll never look like the wanton slip of a thing he used to be, but looking at himself now, Greg doesn't feel like a shell. Doesn't see an old man, like he has sometimes over the last couple of years.  

The underwear aren’t fancy or anything but… they’re clearly expensive. They make Greg look…

Expensive. 

He laughs at himself, scruffs up his hair with one hand. He needs a haircut, actually, because the scraggliness of it is somewhat ruining the effect. 

He mentally shrugs and decides not to bother with other clothes. It would feel wrong to put his cheap jeans over these, and besides, who’s going to care if he wears clothes at all? 

Of course, Greg’s got himself all flung out over the sofa, some documentary on the telly, and he's messing with a game on the iPhone when Mycroft lets himself into the flat a day later. 

He pauses, eyebrows raised, and takes in Greg’s state of undress, then shrugs and unknots his tie. For a moment, Greg wonders if he’s about to be blindfolded again. He has an urge to hold out his wrists and see if Mycroft will tie them together. He has to bend his knees and close his legs to hide the fact that he’s already getting hard. 

Mycroft’s eyes flick over him again and he shakes his head. “Are you attempting to initiate something?”

Greg hadn’t been. But. 

“I’m just keeping comfy,” he says cheerfully. “If something happens as a result...” He gives Mycroft a thumbs up, then pointedly returns to his game of Candy Crush. 

Mycroft disappears into the study for a while. When he returns, it’s been a couple of hours and Greg’s got on an apron he found in the pantry to protect his more delicate bits while he heats olive oil in a skillet on the stove. 

“I’m making carbonara,” he says without looking up. “Want some?”

Mycroft takes a long pause.”That would be nice,” he says. 

Greg’s dropping pancetta into the pan when he feels Mycroft’s presence at his back, and then a hand tracing the top edge of the posh underwear from the centre of his back to his hip. 

“Do you like these?”

Greg shivers. Mycroft’s mouth is right there in his ear. “Yes.”

“Good.” 

And then Mycroft isn’t close to him anymore. When Greg turns to grab the container of parmesan cheese, he sees that Mycroft’s scrolling through his phone at the island, shirtsleeves shoved up to his elbows, tie and waistcoat gone. He looks tired. 

They eat quietly, and then halfway through, Mycroft sets his fork down carefully and says, “I… Something you said about Shaan stuck with me. I wanted to clarify—  You know that you can leave the flat any time you like, don’t you?”

Greg blinks, pausing with his own fork ready with a bite of pasta in front of his mouth. “I… did not know that,” he says, and takes the bite. 

Mycroft sighs and rubs at his eyes with the heels of his hands. “You aren’t a prisoner.” 

“I don’t—” Greg winces. “I mean, I didn’t feel like a prisoner. Just sort of… nothing. It’s not your fault, Mycroft, my head’s a mess.” 

Mycroft leans his chin on his hand and seems to study Greg for a moment. “Mine isn’t much better, I’m sorry to say.” 

“You look… stressed.”

“I am always stressed.”

“More stressed.”

Mycroft nods. “Yes, well… it can’t be helped.”

Greg laughs and takes a bit of his pasta. “It can be helped, Mycroft. I’m… game, you know? You do know. I… I could use the endorphins, too, to be honest.” 

“I think we should talk about it first,” Mycroft says. “It’s… long overdue.”

Greg pushes his mostly-empty plate away. “Alright,” he says. “Let’s talk.”



***



Mycroft leaves that night without laying a hand on Greg. 

Greg lays on the sofa and stares up at the ceiling, letting their conversation turn over in his mind. 

Mycroft thinks Greg should do something with himself. Courses (he would pay) or volunteering or continuing to try to find a job if he wants. Greg had been surprised. 

You said you wanted my availability, he’d said. 

Mycroft had groaned. I didn’t mean twenty four hours a day. 

Greg had given him a hard time about that. He knows he wasn’t off base to have taken it that way. Mycroft had sat in Greg’s flat with the tape and the eyebrows and that voice. What was Greg supposed to think? 

He should have asked more questions, probably. Mycroft should have been more forthcoming. 

They’re both… scrambled. 

Greg more so than Mycroft, maybe, but still. The man isn’t holding up well, anyone can see that. 

Greg doesn't get it. Why isn’t Mycroft keeping him chained to that big ridiculous bed upstairs, having his way with him whenever, getting all that stress out every single night?

Greg really wouldn’t mind, honestly. He had thought, when he decided to go through with this, that he would simply live with his brain switched off for a while. That had been stupid and unhealthy to expect. To want. Had he really thought he could spend a year in blissfully numb subspace?

Yeah, kind of. 

It had been a bad week. He could cut himself a break for being completely irrational about all of this. Now that he’s gone and agreed to it, he doesn't regret it. The flat is gorgeous, he’s comfortable and well fed, and now that he and Mycroft have actually used their words, he’s pretty sure he’s going to get regular orgasms out of this after all. 

He still can’t figure out why Mycroft won’t just… do something. They sat in the kitchen for an hour, going over the things Greg had written in the contract - questionnaire - margins, the things he’d be alright with and the things he wouldn’t. Then Mycroft had produced a bottle of scotch from the locked study and they’d each had a glass on the fancy sofa, talking about it all some more. 

Greg had been practically naked the entire time. Mycroft’s eyes had lingered on his legs, his belly, his cock, which was half-hard just from discussing what he might do if only Mycroft would ask him. Would make him. 

Greg can’t sleep, and he can’t wank, because before Mycroft left that night, he’d leveled Greg with a look and said, “No orgasms until I give the go ahead.”

And that… 

It’s a start. 

 

-7-

 

Greg texts Mycroft the next day. 

GL: Are you planning on stopping by anytime soon? Don’t get me wrong, anticipation’s great. Just curious if I should make extra for dinner tonight. 

MH: From what I have observed, you never cook for less than a party of twelve, even when you are the only one eating.

GL: Excuse me, you have a very small sample size from which to extrapolate that conclusion. 

MH: Did you need a thesaurus for that?

GL: Ha. Ha. Everyone is terribly stupid, yadda yadda. Heard it before, immune to Holmesian insults. Do I need to put out a plate for you or what?

MH: Fine. Do that. I may be late.

GL: Shocking

Greg has plans that have very little to do with dinner. He moved the box of sex toys to the small bedroom that first week after he found them. He spends the afternoon cooking, and then spends a really long time in the shower getting meticulously clean, and even longer shaving his face and trimming everything below his neck. Once he’s more groomed than he’s been in years, Greg pulls the box of toys out from under the bed and gets to work. 

By the time Mycroft arrives, Greg’s had the medium-sized stainless steel plug in for over an hour, and he’s started to sweat a little. His knees hit the floor the second he hears rustling on the other side of the door to the flat, and he waits, hands on his thighs, eyes on the floor, for it to open.

Mycroft freezes before he sets foot in the foyer. Greg bites down on his grin, and keeps his eyes down while Mycroft puts away his things, sheds some layers. 

Cool fingers press under Greg’s chin, tilt his face up. Mycroft’s eyes are dark.

“What, may I ask, do you think you are doing?”

Greg shifts his weight up and then back down onto his heels. “Attempting to inspire you to action?”

Mycroft smirks. “Oh?”

“Mmhmm.” 

“What have you done?”

Greg tilts his face into Mycroft’s hand, which has slipped up the side of his jaw to his cheek. “Just… uhm. I made chicken tikka masala.” 

“And do you plan to sit through dinner like this?”

Greg’s hard as a rock inside the snug black underwear, and there’s no way he could sit on one of those kitchen barstools. Or a hard dining chair. Still, he nods. “If you want.” 

Mycroft’s hand steals into Greg’s hair, tugging lightly. “Interesting,” he muses, then steps away to pick up his case before stepping around him. “I need to take some files into the study,” he says. 

Greg shudders, swallows his disappointment. 

“Go upstairs and wait for me on the floor at the end of the bed,” Mycroft adds.”I will be there shortly. We can eat later.”

Greg grins where he can’t be seen. 

“Did you hear me?”

“Yes,” he says quickly. “Yes, I’ll do that.” 

D’you want me to call you something? He’d asked the night before. Sir or… um. Master? Something like that?

Please, no, Mycroft had said. 

A little bit of a shame. A heartfelt yes, sir would’ve been good there. 

“Good,” Mycroft says. 

Greg waits until he hears the study door shut to struggle to his feet, panting and flinching through the shifts of the plug as he does. 

He has to breathe for a moment, steady himself. But once he does, all he feels is the low thrum of anticipation. It builds with every step up the staircase. 



***



Mycroft doesn't keep him waiting long. Greg’s only been back on his knees for a few minutes when he hears the tread of expensive italian shoes on the stairs.

There’s a bench at the end of the big bed, and Greg hadn’t really registered before that it’s sturdy, made of iron like the bed, and upholstered with leather. Mycroft sits on one end of it, still in his waistcoat and tie, but with his sleeves pushed up. Greg likes that. He thinks it’s a good look on Mycroft, who has fantastic forearms, lovely wrists, and elegant hands. It’s a shame he keeps it all covered up most of the time. Mycroft slips his shoes off and sets them neatly beside the bench. Greg watches avidly.

He realizes he’s fixating when Mycroft clears his throat. Greg forces himself to stop studying the man’s hands and drags his eyes up to his face. 

“I didn’t come,” he says casually. “So.”

“This is a liberal interpretation of what I meant when I said no orgasms until I say,” Mycroft replies, amused. “This attempt at forcing my hand could backfire on you spectacularly, you know. I could simply leave you like this.” 

“If you were gonna do that,” Greg says, “I doubt you would’ve told me to come up to the sex room.”

“The sex room,” Mycroft repeats drily. “Indeed.” 

“So? Have I been good or bad?”

Mycroft’s lips twitch. “Six of one, a half dozen of the other, I think. Come closer.” 

Greg crawls over, upright on his knees. Mycroft’s legs fall open to let him between them. Greg’s hands itch to run over his legs, the soft fabric covering them. 

Mycroft’s fingers are in Greg’s hair in a flash, and before Greg can gasp at that, he’s being yanked in and then down, face pressed to Mycroft’s crotch with no warning. 

Greg groans, thrilled by this. 

“I want your mouth,” Mycroft says, low. “Make it good, and maybe I will be inclined to let you come.” 

Greg nods, hums, and nuzzles into Mycroft’s groin, feeling the way his cock is firming up behind the expensive wool. Mycroft releases him and waits while Greg unfastens his trousers. Greg finally gets to touch Mycroft’s cock a moment later, so eager that he doesn't pull Mycroft’s pants and trousers down first, just shoves the waist of the silky shorts out of his way and gets a hand on him. 

Mycroft’s breath catches; his hips hitch into Greg’s grip. Greg looks up at him with a sideways smile that he can’t control. He gives him a couple warm-up strokes, then goes back to the trousers. “All the way off?” 

Mycroft nods and lifts his hips so Greg can shove them down and off. He peels Mycroft’s socks off his feet and runs his hands over all that leg, sighing with satisfaction. 

“Can I unbutton this?” He asks, fingers tracing down the line of buttons, both the tiny white ones on Mycroft’s shirt, and the round mother of pearl ones on his waistcoat. 

Mycroft nods again. 

Greg does it, leaves them hanging open. His hand hovers over Mycroft’s bared skin. 

“You can,” Mycroft murmurs. 

Greg touches with his fingertips, gentle like a whisper, tracing a line down the centre of Mycroft’s chest and belly, before he flattens his palm to wrap a hand around his hip. The other, he slides further down, to the soft inside of Mycroft’s thigh. He leans in, presses his lips to the base of his cock, nuzzles, then leaves an open-mouthed kiss there before licking down, lavishing attention on his balls. Greg opens his mouth wide to suck on one, grips Mycroft’s cock while he does, and looks up at those glittering eyes as he moans around his mouthful. 

“Good,” Mycroft says softly. He places his hand around Greg’s, tightens the grip. “Harder. Rougher than that.”

Greg hums, happy to have direction, and once Mycroft releases his hand, strokes him hard and rough, squeezing and twisting a little on the upstroke. 

He follows his hand with his mouth, sucks a harsh line up the underside of Mycroft’s cock, then sucks the fat head into his mouth. He lets his eyes flutter closed, moaning again. He loves doing this.

Mycroft’s hand makes its way into his hair again and directs the motion of his mouth for him with a tight grip against his scalp. Greg tries to use his hand at the same time, but Mycroft slaps it away and drives his hips up to make Greg gag. 

Message received.

Greg gets lost in the rhythm of sucking, the sweet-sharp pain of having his hair pulled. He’s almost completely mindless with it by the time Mycroft pulls him away, hard, forcing Greg’s head back, chin up, to look at him. 

“You’re very good at that,” he says. 

“Thank you,” Greg gasps. 

Mycroft slaps him, not hard, across the face. Greg shudders and lets his eyes drop closed. 

“What do you say?” Mycroft prompts.

“Thank you,” Greg says again. 

Mycroft slaps him again, a little harder. It doesn't really hurt. It still makes Greg close his eyes in shocked pleasure. Mycroft pushes him back down onto his cock before he can finish saying thank you this time, and thrusts up into his throat. Yanks him off and slaps him again. 

“Thank you,” Greg says through buzzing lips. 

Mycroft forces his head down, shoving Greg’s face into the base of his cock. Greg licks blindly, frantically, sucks at his balls, rubs his nose against him. He can hear himself making broken little mewling noises as he does it, and he doesn't care. Any time he shifts, he feels the plug inside him. Every time Mycroft slapped his face, his eyes had gone darker. He liked doing that to Greg, liked it even more that Greg liked it. It’s a feedback loop, a symbiosis. Greg is so fucking pleased to be pleasing to him. 

God, he wants to be fucked. So, so badly he wants Mycroft to take the plug away and shove him down and take Greg in whatever way would make him happy. 

Greg would beg for it out loud if he wasn’t having Mycroft’s cock fed back into his mouth. 

He’s happy to let it go. He’ll take what he’s given. Mycroft fucks up into his mouth for what feels like an eternity. Greg gags and moans and drools all over, and when the first spurt of come hits his tongue, he feels so proud for having caused it. 

“Good boy,” Mycroft says to him. 

Greg almost comes untouched then and there. God, no one’s called him that since his twenties. He’d forgotten. He feels inexplicable tears spring to his eyes, and he swallows Mycroft’s come, cleans his cock lovingly with his tongue. 

“You’re being so good for me,” Mycroft tells him. “Very good, Gregory.” 

Greg catches his breath with his temple pressed to Mycroft’s thigh.

“Thank you,” he murmurs, and really means it. He’s so close to that good, drifty feeling he wants so desperately.

Mycroft’s fingers squeeze and release against his scalp, and it makes him shiver. 

“Please,” he says to Mycroft’s thigh. “Please, please…”

“Come here,” Mycroft says, and hauls him off the floor and onto the bench. 

Greg stumbles, practically falls onto it, let’s Mycroft yank him into place. He ends up sprawled across Mycroft’s lap, catching his weight on his elbows, knees under him but only barely. He’s going to slip sooner or later. Mycroft presses his head down, makes him keep his forehead down, right up against the leather of the bench. Greg’s breath heaves, on the verge of hyperventilation as anticipation gets the better of him. 

Mycroft’s fingers close roughly around his balls and tug - Greg groans - and then move further forward to squeeze hard around his aching cock - Greg sobs. 

“You think you’re very clever,” Mycroft says. 

“No, I don—”

The smack is a surprise. Mycroft’s palm comes down hard, high on Greg’s left thigh, and stays there, gripping the flesh he just stung. It jostles Greg, knocks him forward enough to get some accidental friction on his cock against Mycroft’s leg. The plug is so heavy in him now. 

“You thought this was provocative,” Mycroft murmurs, fingers brushing the base of the plug. “I suppose you were right, but… I didn’t ask you to do this. Perhaps I had other plans for you tonight, Gregory.”

Mycroft’s hand leaves him and comes down hard again on Greg’s right arsecheek. It doesn't even touch the plug, but oh god, it shifts it. Mycroft’s other hand is firm on the back of Greg’s neck, holding him down as he gasps into the bench. 

“Can you handle this?” he checks, nails scraping over what Greg is sure is a red handprint across his arse. 

“Mmhmm,” Greg confirms, rocking his hips a little. He wants more, so very badly. 

“If at any time—” 

“I’ll say blue,” Greg says. “Promise. I’m sorry for… for trying to be clever.”

“Are you really?”

“Yes.”

Mycroft’s fingers tighten on Greg’s neck. “I don’t believe you.”

He spanks Greg again, switching sides, and then again, landing this one at the top of his thighs. He presses the heel of his hand roughly against Greg’s perineum, and Greg feels himself dripping as the pressure of the plug and of Mycroft’s hand milks drops of precome out of him. Mycroft slaps him, left side, right side, thighs, glancing off the plug. He scrapes his nails over Greg’s hot, sensitized skin; he pinches at the soft inside of Greg’s thigh when his knees nearly slip out from under him and Mycroft has to save him and hold him steady. 

“I am sorry,” Greg pants. “I am.” 

“You could always be sorrier,” Mycroft says, disinterested, and gives Greg three hard smacks in quick succession. The last one feels glorious, like Mycroft’s hand is inside his skin. Mycroft leaves his palm there, grips Greg’s arsecheek in a manner that’s proprietary and rough, his thumb right next to the base of the plug. “Your skin looks very good like this.”

“Yeah?” Greg arches, trying to press his heated skin into Mycroft’s palm. 

“Lovely,” Mycroft murmurs. He grips the plug and twists it, nudges it in and out incrementally. 

Greg dissolves. He tries to just let himself collapse, mindless, wanting to rut against Mycroft’s lap. 

Mycroft lets go and grabs his hip instead. “No,” he snaps. “Did I tell you to move?”

“N-no.”

“No, I didn’t.” 

And then the spanking really takes off, relentless and harsh, peppered all over Greg’s backside and thighs, and then over and over on the most inflamed patches of skin. 

Greg’s in floods of tears by the time Mycroft pauses, the leather under his face wet with it. It feels like the plug can’t possibly be safely situated; Greg could swear that the strikes of Mycroft’s hand have driven it all the way into him. But then Mycroft yanks on it, fucks him with it. 

Greg wails. He needs to come. He isn’t going to be able to stop himself if Mycroft keeps hitting his prostate just right. 

“Mycroft,” Greg chokes. “Mycroft, please.”

“Who do you belong to?”

The words are fire. They go straight to the very centre of him, sinking teeth into his guts. He’s so shocked by their impact that he doesn't answer and Mycroft resumes his relentless strikes against Greg’s thighs and arse, a flurry of stinging slaps. 

“You,” Greg sobs. “You, you, you—” 

Mycroft’s nails scratch him up before his hand closes around Greg’s cock again. “That’s right,” he says, and strokes roughly. Greg’s dripping, wet and sticky. “Now, come.” 

Greg comes, wave after wave after wave of it with Mycroft’s hand brutal on his cock. He clenches around the plug and screams. He sobs and thrashes in Mycroft’s lap, and Mycroft lets him. The hand not relentlessly pulling Greg’s orgasm out of him is no longer there at his neck to hold him down, but is stroking soothingly down Greg’s back. 

Greg comes forever. 

When it’s over, Mycroft removes the plug very, very slowly while Greg quivers and cries, the sounds coming from him animalistic and pained. Mycroft’s hand is gentle on his hot skin. 

“Did the skin break?” Greg thinks to ask muzzily. 

“No,” Mycroft replies softly. “No, of course not. I wouldn’t have done that.” He strokes down Greg’s back again. “You can lie down,” he says. 

Greg’s legs and arms are shaking so hard he’s already almost doing it, but he gives himself permission to go boneless, curling up shamelessly in Mycroft’s lap. 

Mycroft just pets him, fingers raking through his sweaty hair, sweetly tracing the curves of his waist, massaging the tense muscles at the join of neck and shoulder. 

“Thank you,” Greg sighs from far away. “This is… I feel so good.”

Mycroft hums. “I can see that.” 

“Please don’t leave.”

“I won’t leave.”

Greg falls silent, relaxes, and he must fall asleep, because he doesn't remember much after that. 



***



Greg wakes in the dark, in the big bed in the sex room, and Mycroft’s still there. He’s shrugged out of his shirt, which is probably ruined along with the waistcoat. Greg wishes he’d been awake to see his own come splattered all over that fancy fabric. 

Mycroft’s sitting up in bed, naked, mobile in hand, and he’s clearly responding to emails or texts from his assistant. Greg shifts close, careful to keep his head low, not looking at the phone screen. Greg slips an arm around Mycroft’s waist and curls into him, resting his head on Mycroft’s thigh. 

“Do you mind?” he asks softly, not wanting to move away at all, but not wanting to force himself into Mycroft’s space, either. 

“Not at all,” says Mycroft, and one hand falls to Greg’s head, petting at his hair. “Do you need more water?”

Greg doesn't remember drinking any water. “No.”

“Hungry?”

He takes stock of himself. Yeah, he’s starving. “Mmmhmm.”

Mycroft laughs softly and sets his phone aside. “I’ll bring you some of the chicken from downstairs. I had some when I went down earlier, while you were asleep. It’s delicious, Gregory, thank you.”

Gregory. Is this… are they still? Greg still feels floaty and weird, blank and content. So maybe, yeah. 

“Y’welcome,” he says on a yawn. “Don’t have to get it for me, I’ll go.” 

Mycroft’s hand is firm and gentle, pressing him down into the plush mattress, the high thread count sheets. “Don’t you dare move,” he says. “You’re in no state to go down the stairs. I’ll be right back.”

And then he’s gone, and Greg feels… bereft. 

It’ll pass. It’s just how it goes, floods of good chemicals and comedowns and exhaustion. Greg tells himself that, and closes his eyes and tells himself, also, that he isn’t pretending Mycroft’s still there. He isn’t panicking at all, when the man is one floor away. 

He’s fine. 

It’s fine. 

 

-8-

 

Mycroft tells him, this time, that he’s going out of town. Greg wakes up sore and delightfully sated the morning after, and is amazed to find Mycroft in bed with him, asleep and looking unbearably young and vulnerable.

Greg makes him breakfast. 

Mycroft eats it, thanks him, and warns him that he’ll be in Japan for the rest of the week. 

Greg nods, ignoring that he’s upset about that on some level, and Mycroft leaves after thanking Greg again for breakfast. 

He’s still calling him Gregory that morning. 

Greg won’t read too much into that. 

Once Mycroft’s headed out, Greg shoots a text to his sister. It’s time to leave the flat. 



***



It feels bloody weird to be outside after a few weeks hidden away in Mycroft’s posh little oasis. But Greg, despite the stiffness in his thighs and the lingering tightness of the abused skin over his backside, feels great once he gets walking. 

He has to take the tube to get to the coffee shop to meet his sister, but for the first time in months it doesn't bother Greg. He doesn't think of how much he misses his BMW. He doesn't even feel the need to look around to make sure there’s no one he knows around to want to talk to him. 

And he notices all of that. 

You anxious mess, he thinks, almost amused at himself. Existing isn’t that bad, who knew?

He finds Priscilla at a table by the window, and she greets him with one of her good, tight hugs. It’s been months since he saw her, before the decision came down about his termination. She knows about it, but he’s not sure how much she really gets about what happened with Sherlock and the mess he left behind. 

For the longest time he had avoided her, not wanting to explain it all. Not wanting to admit how incredibly screwed he was. But today he feels good, even as he feeds her a version of the truth that glosses over the fact that the “friend” he’s staying with is his… whatever Mycroft is. He makes it sound like he has savings to ‘tide him over’ while he figures things out. 

“You should be like—” Priscilla waves a hand. “I dunno, like a guy who helps people, maybe?”

Greg can’t help laughing. “Oh, no problem, then. A superhero!” 

“Yeah,” she agrees, clapping her hands together. “Right, not Captain America but like —  Captain London.”

“Well that’s all my problems solved, then,” he says. 

“No, but really!” Priscilla reaches across the table and covers his hand with one of her own, soft and paint-stained from the art classes she teaches. “You’re good at that. It’s why you wanted to be a policeman in the first place.You could be a social worker or a caregiver or something, Greg. Something that makes you feel useful, but doesn't expect you to fly out of bed in the middle of the night and work yourself half to death.”

Greg scratches at the back of his head, makes some noises that he hopes sound receptive. Priscilla sighs. 

“Are you alright?” she asks. “I mean, are you feeling better about all this? I know it’s awful. I just want you to be happy. Your life isn’t over.”

She’s a good sister. Greg wishes he had made more of an effort to spend time with her when they were still young. Maybe he would’ve felt better about a lot of things. Maybe he could’ve beaten the shit out of her first few terrible abusive boyfriends. 

“I know,” he says. “I do feel a little better, I suppose. No use in wallowing forever, I suppose.”

Priscilla smiles at him, and Greg has a weird moment. 

He actually believes what he just said. He actually does feel a little better. He really doesn't want to waste time on wallowing. It’s bizarre. He’s never been quite so much of a mess as he has been lately, and if he told Priscilla the truth about what he’s doing with Mycroft Holmes, he has no idea how she would react. 

Greg blows out a breath, shrugs it all away. “So, anyway,” he says. “Tell me about how things are going with the new bloke. What was it, Steven?”

Priscilla’s eyes light up. 

Greg really loves her, and he’s happy to listen to her go on and on about this guy who is definitely, no really this time, the one. 



***



He thinks about it, though, what she said - and he figures there’s no point in pretending he wants to just sit around waiting for Mycroft to show up and do something with him. It’s tempting to do that, but…

Greg needs to do something. Needs to have a purpose outside of that. 

He starts looking at listings on the new phone, swapping between tabs and applications, jobs and volunteering, programs and top-ten jobs lists. 

He doesn't settle on anything, but it feels good to look. It feels good to be interested in his own life. 



***



He would really, really like to get fucked at some point. 

Despite what Mycroft had said - that soft, sinister voice murmuring “I never said I would fuck you” - Greg had sort of assumed that it was on the table. That it was sort of the point of all this. Why wouldn't it be? After all, Mycroft had also said that night in Greg’s flat: “You like to be fucked? Hard?” 

Greg is frustrated and needy, and he doesn't like it. 

When Mycroft shows up the next night, Greg refuses to ask about it. 

He ends up on his knees under the dining room table, Mycroft’s cock down his throat, while Mycroft eats as if nothing’s happening. 

Greg swallows with Mycroft’s fist in his hair, his own hand down his pants after he begged Mycroft’s permission to put it there, and when he’s done Mycroft swipes come and drool off Greg’s chin with a linen napkin and calls him a good boy. 

It’s not like that’s not fun, so. 

 

-9-

 

Greg wakes up in the morning alone, in the big bed in the sex room, having had his throat fucked til he couldn’t breathe for gasping the night before. He’s sore - Mycroft had made him edge himself for half the night, just like that first time in Greg’s flat. 

He wonders if Mycroft was trying to chafe him, trying to make sure Greg has zero urge to touch himself while he’s gone. 

Mycroft had stayed after, for a bit. Hadn’t slept with Greg again, but hadn’t ditched him right after, either. It was nice. 

When he eventually makes it down to the small bedroom, having lain under the hot water in the giant soaking tub upstairs for ages, Greg finds all his clothes are missing. All that’s left are the posh underwear, his sleep clothes, and a couple t-shirts that, after Greg has stood there blinking at them a while, he realizes are the few sentimental ones. Concert tees; tournaments; charities; that sort of thing. 

Greg goes back upstairs and opens the wardrobe there on a hunch. 

Sure enough, it’s full of clothes. 

He’s annoyed for a second, irritation going up like flash paper in his chest. 

But…

It’s all really nice, and it’s not like they’re Mycroft’s type of clothes. They’re definitely more Greg’s style, if he has such a thing. Greg’s never thought of himself as particularly stylish, but these clothes certainly are. It’s like someone took Greg’s old wardrobe and swapped it for a nicer, more thoughtful version. 

Most of what’s there is casual: jeans, soft shirts, jumpers, basic jackets with vaguely military detailing, even a really lovely winter coat. There are a few pairs of nice trousers, plenty of button-down shirts. There are even some ties. It’s all stuff he’d want to wear - the right colours, the right cuts. At the bottom, there is a line of shoes: brown and black dress shoes, two pairs of trainers, and several pairs of casual shoes and even a couple of fashionable non-athletic trainers. Belts hang on hooks on one of the wardrobe doors. 

The dresser is filled with more posh underpants, socks, athletic wear, and t-shirts. 

Greg takes it all in and imagines the sort of man who would wear all this stuff. He can’t quite imagine himself, but he reaches for a pair of slim, dark wash jeans anyway. 

He ends up wearing those, a white t-shirt, and a soft v-neck jumper, with a pair of slip-on trainers that he feels too old to be wearing. 

In the mirror he looks… really nice actually. 

He shrugs at himself. 

Downstairs, there’s a pot of tea in a cosy, his favourite mug from his old flat waiting beside it, and an appointment card for a haircut. 

Greg ignores the part of him that balks at being managed this way, and just enjoys the bloody tea. 

 

-10-

 

Shaan tells him a couple of days later that Mycroft is out of the country again on a last-minute trip. 

So, here’s Greg with new hair and new clothes, with two interviews lined up and a bunch of job and volunteer applications in, and nothing to do. 

“Shaan,” he whines, “Give me something, I’m so bored.”

“Go to the gym,” Shaan says, dismissing Greg with a wave of his hand. “Just because you’re old don’t mean you can let yourself go.”

Greg scoffs. “I’ll have you know I’m in good shape for my age, and I am not old.”

Shaan shrugs and keeps his attention on the livestream of some football game or another on his phone.

“I don’t even belong to a gym,” Greg grumbles. 

Shaan levels him with a despairing look. “There is a gym one floor below your flat, sir.”

“Call me Greg,” he tells him for the hundredth time. “Is there really?”

Shaan just rolls his eyes and turns back to the match. 



***



So now Greg has working out to add to his days. It’s great, actually - all those morale-boosting nonsense emails NSY liked to send out had been right. Exercise really did improve one’s mood. 

And one’s backside. Greg can admit to noticing the results of his own efforts. He finds himself grinning into the gym mirror, pleased.

Of course, that’s when Mycroft shows up. In lycra. 

Greg chokes on his tongue, freezing in front of the mirror and watching Mycroft in it. 

“Holy shit,” he murmurs to himself, eyes tracking the long stride of Mycroft’s legs in the skintight black and red running leggings. 

“I see you have been occupying yourself,” Mycroft comments, stepping up onto the treadmill. 

Greg raises an eyebrow in the mirror. It’s been two weeks since Mycroft stole all his clothes and fucked off on yet another trip. 

“Bring me anything?” He asks. “From… Morocco or wherever you were?”

Mycroft sets his water bottle down and huffs. “India, actually. I wasn’t aware you required souvenirs.”

“I do now,” Greg replies cheekily, crossing over to the treadmill and leaning against it. “You’ve spoiled me. It’s your fault. Now I’m rotten with it. I’ll start demanding all sorts.”

Mycroft’s lips twitch but he doesn't take the bait. “Noted,” he says. “I’m going to run now, if you aren’t requiring attention at present.” 

“I’m always requiring attention,” Greg says, the words slipping out easily. It’s kind of true. The more Mycroft does this - uses him, ruins him, leaves - the more Greg feels he needs it. The more he wants to demand it, throw an absolute fit just to see what would happen. He thinks it would be amazing, considering the reaction he got for waiting naked and on his knees. 

Mycroft punches a series of buttons on the treadmill and begins to walk as the belt moves. “I’m afraid you will have to wait,” he says. 

“That’s fine,” Greg murmurs, and heads back over to the weights. “I have my own life, you know. I’m not just down here for your benefit.”

“Come now,” Mycroft says, already jogging. “We both know that isn’t true.”



***



Greg watches Mycroft run out of the corner of his eye while he manages a semi-decent leg day across the room. Eventually, he just gives up on the pretense and watches openly, sitting on the floor with his back against the mirror wall and drinking his water while Mycroft runs and runs. 

Mycroft doesn't pay him any mind, and Greg is fine with it for the first couple of miles. It gives him the chance to simply look. Mycroft gets a bit red when he runs, but he’s got great form, good breathing. Before he fucked up his knee, Greg loved to run. Now he pays for it for days, so he sticks with the elliptical when he has access to one. 

Mycroft doesn't appear to be loving it, and yet his feet slap and slap against the treadmill belt.

Greg sighs and shifts, impatient. He amuses himself with a fantasy involving being bent over the weight bench. Then, he amuses himself by idly stroking his fingers over his thigh, waiting to see if Mycroft will notice. 

He doesn't notice until Greg’s got his hands up under the leg of his shorts, teasing himself over his pants. 

Mycroft’s stride stutters, and Greg opens his eyes with a sly grin. He squeezes himself and sighs, lets his thighs fall further apart. 

Come on, he thinks. You know you want to. 

Mycroft smacks a hand down on the treadmill’s stop switch, and slows his stride. 

“You’re very needy,” he says, out of breath, once he’s hopped off and crossed the gym to where Greg’s sitting, idly jerking himself off through his shorts. 

“Am I?” Greg shakes his head. “I don’t think so.” 

Mycroft crouches down in front of him. “You did tell me you were going to be difficult.”

“I did,” Greg says, hitching his hips up against his own hand. “Not being difficult right now, though.”

“No?”

“Nope, just horny.” 

 Mycroft chuckles and covers Greg’s hand with his own, his palm over the slick fabric of Greg’s shorts, Greg’s hand beneath that. Mycroft presses, and Greg grinds up into it with a hum. 

“Did you miss me?” Greg asks, a little breathless. “That was a long trip.”

Mycroft smirks. “Did you miss me?” 

“Maybe.” Greg reaches for Mycroft, planning to tug him in by his shirt or something, but Mycroft catches his hand and pins it beneath his own on the floor. He shifts onto his knees for better leverage, and leans in, his nose brushing the sensitive skin below Greg’s ear. 

Greg tilts his head to the side to give him better access. Mycroft nuzzles down the side of Greg’s neck, all light touch and hot breath. Greg’s heart pounds. Mycroft is guiding Greg’s hand entirely now, his grip over Greg’s showing him how tight or rough or fast he’s allowed to stroke his own cock. His fingers tighten, so Greg’s do too, and then Mycroft bites him right where his neck meets his shoulder, hard. 

Greg gasps, his cock going impossibly harder under his hand. “Yeah,” he groans. 

Mycroft hums and licks over the bite. He stops pinning Greg’s hand, but Greg knows he’s expected to hold still so he does. Mycroft reaches up to tug Greg’s t-shirt aside. He bites him again, just along to the top of his trapezius. He makes a harsh line to the top of Greg’s shoulder, biting and sucking then licking it better, while he shoves his hand against Greg’s in a rough grind down onto Greg’s cock. 

Mycroft runs the fingers of his free hand along the line of red bite marks. “Lovely,” he says. “You look very good, by the way.”

“It’s the haircut,” Greg jokes tightly. “Mycroft?”

“Hmm?” He’s still tracing the marks, seeming transfixed by them. 

“Why won’t you fuck me?”

Mycroft’s fingers still against Greg’s skin. His other hand stops the motion of Greg’s. “Why haven’t you asked me to do so?” 

Greg laughs. “Suppose I am, now.” He makes himself look Mycroft in the eye. “I mean, you said—  that night at my flat…”

“I said many things,” Mycroft says. “None of them were meant to be permanent declarations.” 

Greg swallows. Mycroft’s watching him so intently, so unreadably. Greg can still feel the sting and ache of the bites, and he’s desperately hard. “I really want it,” he forces himself to say. “But if it’s not something you want to do, I mean, obviously I—” 

“All you had to do was ask,” Mycroft says. “You can ask me for anything.” 

“I can?”

Mycroft winces. “Yes, of course.” 

“Then I’m asking you to fuck me,” Greg says quickly, steamrolling over the awkwardness. “Now. Over the weight bench if you want, I don’t care.” 

Mycroft huffs and pushes his fingers into Greg’s sweaty hair. “Not over the weight bench,” he says. “I want a shower. For both of us. Come on, up.”



***



Mycroft tells Greg to eat something, then goes off to shower. Greg forces down a small plate of pasta, unable to manage much with a raging erection and the thrum of anticipation in his belly. He goes into the downstairs bedroom to gather up the box of toys before he heads up to the master suite. Mycroft exits the bathroom a moment later, towel around his waist. 

He hands Greg an enema bottle.  

Greg takes it and bites the side of his tongue. No use being embarrassed. He just nods, unable to come up with a single reasonable thing to say, and goes into the bathroom, shutting the door behind him. 

He tries not to think about how fucking good Mycroft Holmes looks all wet from the shower, and fails. 



***



When Greg emerges from the bathroom, he doesn't bother bringing his towel with him. He’s keyed up to a degree he’s fairly certain he’s never experienced before. The process of prepping had taken some of the urgency out of things - he’s always found it uncomfortable, and he’s never been fussed about being quite so thoroughly and squeakily clean, but he’s more than fine with it if doing it means he finally gets what he’s wanted since he agreed to this. What he’s been missing for years. 

Mycroft has discarded his towel and slipped into a pair of short briefs. Greg would be disappointed, but all that leg is still on display, and Mycroft’s arse looks fantastic in the snug gray fabric. He looks up from where he’s been arranging things on the bedside table, and he looks almost surprised. Almost nervous. 

Greg has the strangest urge to cross the room and draw him in, kiss him, tell him Greg will take anything he wants to give him and it’s all fine. 

Mycroft steps away from the table and crosses to where Greg stands. 

He’s a bit struck dumb by the mental image he’s just experienced. 

“Go to the bed,” Mycroft murmurs, one hand slipping against Greg’s waist, reassuring and warm. “On your front, bent with your feet on the floor. Yes?”

Greg nods mutely and mentally shakes out of that strange little image before he does something daft like lean into Mycroft, like tip his face in to press their mouths together. 

He does as Mycroft asked, noting the pile of leather straps on the bed, the black wedge pillow beside that, and the clips attached to the bed’s frame that hadn’t been there before. He doesn't let his attention linger on them, simply assumes the position - bent over, arse on display, feet flat on the floor. He rests on his elbows. The bed is high, but not high enough that he could drop to his knees. He isn’t quite on his tiptoes, but he isn’t very firmly planted, either. 

Mycroft steps behind him and pulls Greg’s hips back, adjusting him how he wants him before kicking his feet apart wider. 

It isn’t lost on Greg that this way, he can’t get any friction on his cock. He’d lost most of his erection in the process of cleaning up, but Mycroft’s firm hands on him bring it right back. He huffs, letting his head hang down. 

Mycroft’s fingers trace the arch of Greg’s bowed neck, featherlight. Greg sighs and lifts into the touch just a little. It’s so nice…

Mycroft scratches gently down his back with both hands, then back up, fingers digging hard into the tense muscles at his shoulders. Greg groans, lifting his clasped hands off the bed to lean his forehead against. He always has so much tension there. He used to think about going for a massage, try to get some of it worked out. He never had, but this… this is good. It hurts, Mycroft’s thumbs digging into the knots, but once his relentless pressing eases up, so do Greg’s muscles. 

“Don’t tense,” Mycroft murmurs. “Relax. Down.” His hand between Greg’s shoulder blades presses him down. “Arms out in front of you.”

It puts him flat against the slippery grey duvet, no way to brace himself, no way to leverage in order to push back or pull forward. Greg twists his fingers in the duvet and shivers as Mycroft’s hands sweep down to his arse and grip him hard, spreading him open. 

He feels it when Mycroft gets on his knees behind him. He spreads his legs wider for the invasive shove of Mycroft’s shoulders between his thighs. 

And he nearly seizes up at the hot, slick slide of Mycroft’s tongue against his hole. 

“Ohmyfuck,” he groans into the mattress, fingers digging hard into the covers. He tries to rock back, but can’t, really. Not with Mycroft holding him still and no way to balance with his arms spread out like this. 

Mycroft bites his left cheek, not too hard, then sucks there, probably leaving a livid mark that’ll turn purple tomorrow. Greg can only moan his appreciation. Mycroft’s fingers tease at his hole, not wet enough by far for anything more than a little hint of pressure. Mycroft bites again, this time at the crease of Greg’s buttock, and then again at the very softest part of the inside of that same thigh. He sucks, hard and brutal, and Greg whimpers, squirming. 

“Mycroft,” He gasps, the name the only thing that comes to mind just then. “Yeah.”

Mycroft bites and licks and sucks until Greg’s convinced both his thighs must be a slick, bruised mess. By the time Mycroft moves back up and laves over Greg’s hole again, Greg is shaking. His cock hangs hard and heavy between his legs, nothing to rub against and no attention from Mycroft. 

Mycroft wets him thoroughly with his tongue and presses in with two fingertips, just catching them on the rim, a little painful and a lot uncomfortable. 

“Tell me what you want,” Mycroft commands firmly, not a breathless request in the heat of the moment but a clear instruction. 

Greg, hanging on to the duvet for dear life, needs a moment to marshal his thoughts. 

Mycroft smacks him, not really hard enough to sting, on the outside of his right cheek. Greg gasps anyway, then groans at the way Mycroft grasps firmly once his hand has landed, the way he shakes his hand, clearly just to watch Greg’s arse move and bounce. 

“I want…” Greg swallows hard. “Want you to fuck me.” 

Mycroft’s other hand comes down on the other side of Greg’s arse, a little harder than the other, and his hands open him up, his thumbs press invasively against the tightness of his hole. 

Greg trembles, wanting and not wanting him to shove his fingers in, rough and too dry. 

Mycroft’s hands leave him entirely. 

Greg pants into the mattress, then turns his face to the side, trying to calm himself, sucking down air while he can. 

Buckles and rings clink together as Mycroft gathers up some of the leather Greg had noticed before. 

“Up on your elbows for a moment,” Mycroft instructs quietly, and Greg does it, glad to rock some weight back onto his heels for a minute, to feel more grounded. Mycroft lifts Greg’s hands one by one and he slips leather straps up and over him. A harness. 

“Yes,” Greg says, utterly thrilled. “Oh, my god.”

Mycroft laughs under his breath as he buckles it in the back, snug but not too tight. Metal rings are cool on Greg’s chest, as is the buckle at the centre of his back. He flexes, loving the pull of the leather strap over his chest. Mycroft hooks two fingers into the back of the harness and yanks, forcing Greg to arch his back, push up to let Mycroft hold him up, one arm around his chest. Mycroft’s teeth press hard to Greg’s shoulder, and Greg writhes in his hold, tossing his head back onto Mycroft’s shoulder. Mycroft trails bites up the side of Greg’s neck - the opposite side this time. He’ll have twin lines of bruises in the morning. 

“I have—” Greg chokes as Mycroft’s hand slipped down to hold his cock, pressing it against Greg’s belly. “I have job inter- interviews in a week’s time. Nothing too deep.” 

“That’s good news,” Mycroft purrs just below Greg’s ear. 

“Mmmhmm.” 

“Get on the bed.”

Greg does, following the guidance of Mycroft’s hands to turn over onto his back when he does. Mycroft reaches for a pair of wide leather cuffs, softly lined.

“I’m going to place these here,” he says, his hand resting cupped around Greg’s thigh. “And there are two others for your wrists.” 

“Yeah.” Greg nods. “Good. Yes. I mean - yes, please.” 

Mycroft buckles him into the thigh cuffs, then the wrist cuffs. He climbs onto the bed with Greg and insinuates himself between Greg’s spread thighs, his hand buried roughly in Greg’s hair to tilt him back and bare his throat. Mycroft kisses over the bruises he made earlier, then nips gently at his earlobe. Greg shudders under him, and has another vivid fantasy - turning his head, catching Mycroft’s lips with his—  

“Gregory.”

Greg blinks. “Yeah.”

“Turn, lie closer to the head of the bed.”

Mycroft’s repeating himself. 

“Sorry,” Greg rasps, struggling up onto his elbows and shimmying the right way around on the bed. 

“You’re alright,” Mycroft says gently, hands sweet on Greg’s hips, chivvying him into place. 

It’s so strange, so unlike everything they’ve done so far - except, maybe, for those shivery moments in the lounge, when Mycroft had cradled Greg’s foot in his lap. 

“I’m going to fasten the wrist cuffs here,” Mycroft says, guiding Greg’s arms up and over his head, pressing his wrists together and hooking a clip through the rings on both. He sits up between Greg’s legs and reaches for the wedge pillow. “Hips up.”

With the pillow shoved under him, the narrow end at the middle of his back, Greg’s basically powerless. His weight rests on his shoulders, his legs having no choice but to open, to raise toward his shoulders.

And then Mycroft produces two last bits of leather - short straps, clips on either end. 

Greg sucks in a breath and does what he knows Mycroft is going to ask, drawing his knees toward his chest. 

Mycroft clips the short bits of leather first to the rings at the front of the thigh cuffs, and then to the ones at the top corners of Greg’s chest. 

It gives him maybe two inches of movement, holds him open and vulnerable. 

Greg can breathe, but it feels difficult, both from the position of his body and the heaviness of anticipation. 

“I know you normally use blue,” Mycroft murmurs, leaning past Greg to snatch up the lube from the side table. “And that’s fine. But I would like you to also use the word yellow in this case, if you need adjustment when your shoulders - or anything else - begin to hurt too much. Do not suffer excessive pain. That is not what I want from you. Do you understand?”

Greg nods. “Yeah, I get it.” 

“Do you want me to use a condom?”

Greg huffs. “No, I think I made that clear in your paperwork.”

“It’s only right to check,” Mycroft says. But he’s already slicked two fingers, and he slips them roughly past the tightness of Greg’s hole the moment the last word leaves his mouth. 

Greg sucks in a breath and then groans, clenching around them. 

“I want you tight,” Mycroft says, and it’s almost conversational. The edge of cool indifference sends Greg’s blood heating, makes him desperate to please and entice, to get Mycroft interested.

“Okay,” he says faintly, body squirming as Mycroft’s fingers screw into him. He can’t do anything; can’t even curl up to see it, can’t get his legs wider or his hips higher. He’s at Mycroft’s mercy. 

“And I want you to come only when I allow it.” Mycroft twists his fingers. “Do you need a cock ring?”

Greg cries out, already clenching and trying desperately to grind onto those long fingers. “Yeah,” he grits out. “Yes, I—  I need it. I want it.”

“Good boy,” Mycroft breathes, fucking him mercilessly with his fingers. They thrust viciously into Greg, pressing hard and sending sick sparks of pain and pleasure up his spine. “I’ll get it in a moment. Do you need anything else?”

“I…” Greg trails off into whimpers as Mycroft pulls his fingers out only to press in roughly with his unlubed thumb. “No, just—  Just want your cock in me, please, fuck, please fuck me, please, Mycroft.” 

Mycroft shushes him, pressing hard with his thumb at Greg’s rim as he withdraws it. He lays his hand gently over Greg’s cock, which Greg would swear to god is harder than it’s ever been in his life. Mycroft just cups him there and murmurs. “Shh, calm down.” 

Greg whines, yanking on the bonds around his wrists. “I don’t want to.”

“I know,” Mycroft says, gentle and sweet. He closes his fingers around Greg’s cock and strokes him roughly. “Calm down anyway. Do it for me. Deep breaths, now.”

Greg shakes and shudders as Mycroft’s hand works in complete counterpoint to the softness of his voice, harsh and unforgiving, jerking over Greg’s cock like he’s punishing him. Greg does his best to drag in deep, even breaths even as he’s being handled so roughly, being pushed right up to the edge already. 

“See?” Mycroft smirks down at him. “Easy.” 

Greg twists his wrists in the cuffs and looks away from him, furious. He keeps his mouth shut and breathes. 

“I know,” Mycroft says, finally slowing his hand, gently stroking his fingers down the shaft of Greg’s twitching cock. “It’s alright, you can get angry. Tell me to piss off. Tell me to get on with it.” 

Greg clenches his jaw tight to stop the flow of words that want to spill out. 

Mycroft chuckles. “You’re doing so well,” he says, then leans over Greg again to snatch up a cock ring from the small pile of paraphernalia on the table. It’s a thin strip of leather, with snaps. Mycroft puts it on him without comment, nice and tight behind Greg’s balls. 

The pressure is a lot at first. Greg breathes, forcing himself to do what Mycroft wants and dragging in lungfuls of air. 

“You look…” Mycroft pushes his clothed cock against Greg’s arse, presses against his sensitive hole. “Well,” he sighs, running his hands down the outsides of Greg’s legs. “It defies description.” 

Greg lets his eyes fall shut. Mycroft moves away, the sound and the shift of the mattress suggesting he’s getting rid of his underwear.

“So lovely,” Mycroft murmurs. He touches Greg’s hips, his sides, his nipples just inches below the strip of leather across his chest, his hands slipping in the scant space between Greg’s chest and his hitched up thighs. His bare cock nudges between Greg’s cheeks, and he rocks there. “Gorgeous.”

Greg shivers.

“You like that,” Mycroft says. “Don’t you? Like to hear how pleasing you look?”

Greg can’t bear to open his eyes. He nods. 

“Look at me.”

He can’t. 

Mycroft’s fingers grab Greg by the chin. “Look at me.”

Greg does it, opens his eyes and blinks drunkenly up at Mycroft’s furrowed brow. 

“Who do you belong to?”

Greg’s breath shudders out of him. He drags it back in, needs it to speak. “Y-you.”

Mycroft releases Greg’s chin and he slicks himself - Greg can’t see it from this angle, tumbled back onto his shoulders with his legs hitched up practically over his head, but he can hear it. 

The head of Mycroft’s thick cock presses against him and Greg wishes he could move, could force himself down onto it. 

“Tell me again,” Mycroft murmurs. 

“You,” Greg gasps, as Mycroft’s cock pushes relentlessly into him. “You, I belong to you. I’m yours, fuck me, do whatever you— Oh fuck—”

Mycroft’s hands press behind Greg’s knees, shoving them flush against his chest, and he seats himself fully inside him, no pause, no gentleness. He takes Greg like he owns him which, Greg supposes, he sort of does. Greg’s agreed to that. Greg wants it. 

He expects it hard and fast right away. He’s already bracing himself for it, holding his breath. 

Mycroft doesn't do it that way, though. He settles there, knelt between Greg’s forcibly spread and raised legs, the front of his thighs pressed up against the high side of the wedge he shoved under Greg’s hips, his cock buried to the hilt. He slips his hands down and around Greg’s hips, yanking him even further into place - hips higher, shoulders lower, body fuller that it was a moment ago. 

Greg’s cock throbs. “Oh god,” he gasps, as Mycroft rocks into him, close and tight, not enough. “Oh, please…” 

“Tell me.” 

Greg wants to refuse. He already asked. But if he does that, Mycroft will just draw this out longer, and besides, Greg wants to be good. Wants to do what Mycroft wants. A tiny part of him hates that. But mostly, he’s just utterly desperate to please, to see what it gets him. 

“Please fuck me hard,” he begs. “Fast. Do it, please, I want it so—”

Mycroft pulls back and thrusts in. “Like this?”

It’s bullshit. He knows it, Greg knows it. The way he spoke, so slick and sly and nasty. Greg groans and shakes his head. 

“Oh?” 

Mycroft does it again, and yeah, the thick slide is good, it’s hot and heavy and good, it’s just… 

“More,” Greg grunts. “Please.”

“Hmm.” Mycroft's fingers steal up to pinch at Greg’s nipples as he thrusts again, harder this time. 

Greg groans, trying in vain to arch up into the rough treatment of Mycroft’s fingers. “Yeah, yeah, harder, please—” 

He’s cut off by a much rougher snap of Mycroft’s hips. 

There’s not enough lube, maybe. That one hurt, the drag was harsher. 

Greg hears himself get high-pitched with the pain, but he doesn't say anything. Not yet. He likes that edge. 

Mycroft fucks into him again, hard but not fast, his fingers mean and merciless at Greg’s chest. 

“Harder?” He asks, and Greg can hear in his voice that he knows it hurts. “Now?”

Greg breathes, debates it. “No—  No, I—  I need— It’s too dry.”

“I told you not to hurt needlessly,” says Mycroft, stern. 

“And I didn’t,” Greg replies. “Swear to god, I didn’t. Please don’t stop.”

Mycroft pulls out and slicks himself, pushes more lube into and around Greg’s hole carelessly, then shoves back in. Greg keens and sobs, wriggling his legs against his own chest. 

“Now,” Mycroft says, conversational, “I’m going to do this the way I want. And you will take it. Understand?”

Greg nods, frantic. “Yes, okay,” he says. 

And then Mycroft shifts, gets his feet under him instead of his knees, and he fucks into Greg with much more leverage, his hands rough on the backs of Greg’s knees now, holding him as open as the straps holding his thighs to his chest will allow. He looks down at where they’re joined, his eyes hooded and hidden from Greg’s view. 

It’s so fucking good. Greg can’t help tugging on the restraints at his wrists, his body desperate to writhe, to thrust down and rock with Mycroft. He hangs off the wrist cuffs, but otherwise lets go, lets Mycroft do as he will, and he doesn't suffer for it. Mycroft gives it to him just as hard as Greg so badly wants. He scrapes his fingernails down the backs of Greg’s thighs and fucks him relentlessly, a steady, unending rhythm that has Greg gasping for air. 

He would’ve come already, if not for the ring. Every other thrust is a punishing graze over his prostate. The sound of Mycroft’s harsh breaths - no moans, no more words, just the huff and gasp of labored breathing - is driving him insane. He can’t speak, though hundreds of filthy things come to mind that he’d like to say - a bottomless well of begging he could be doing if only he could muster anything other than a soft “Ha,” with every one of Mycroft’s thrusts. 

“Beautiful,” Mycroft tells him, shoving Greg’s legs tight against his chest again, folding him in half. “Is this what you wanted?”

Greg nods. The tighter position squeezes all the air out of his lungs. He gasps, too crowded, too pressed down. He feels lightheaded with it, and combined with the deep, hard fucking, he’s seeing spots. 

Just when Greg’s worried he’s going to pass out, Mycroft eases up. Greg gulps down air, twitching and shaking on Mycroft’s cock. 

“I’m going to move you,” Mycroft says, and he pulls out. 

Greg cries out, wordless, and wishes he could draw his legs together just for a second, just to squeeze his thighs and process the overwhelming sensations. He’s bitten and swollen and tied and compressed. It’s terrifying, and the more he thinks about how terrifying it is, the more he throbs with need. 

Mycroft unclips the thigh cuffs from the harness and lowers Greg’s legs carefully. Greg regrets ever wanting to move his legs. It hurts; his hips are sore and his muscles are tight. He whimpers with it and Mycroft runs soothing hands over his legs, first the outsides of his thighs, then the insides, fingers tracing the raised welts Mycroft left there earlier. Greg hisses and flinches, torn between trying to roll away from that feeling and trying to press further into it. 

Mycroft gets the pillow out from under Greg’s hips. He slides between Greg’s legs, his cock right up against Greg’s, which is hot and harder than ever. Greg shudders and twitches. He tries to say something - ‘Oh, god,’ maybe - but he can’t handle words. 

Mycroft pets him sweetly, elbows on either side of Greg’s head, and hands soft in his hair. He rolls his hips against Greg over and over, and Greg stares up into his eyes, stunned by the feel of it. Going from fast and furious to this… it makes Greg’s head spin, makes his ears ring. 

He’s still bound to the headboard at the wrist, but Greg’s more or less forgotten that he has arms at all. 

“Alright?” Mycroft murmurs, tracing a finger idly over Greg’s eyebrows. “Caught your breath?”

Greg nods, though he’s still panting. He’s got himself a little more under control now. “Sorry,” he says. 

“You were perfect for me,” Mycroft soothes. “And you’re not done. Relax. Close your eyes.” 

Greg does it. Mycroft shifts over him, straddles his thighs instead of lying between them. His cock is slick and heavy against Greg’s. Mycroft’s fingers are gentle, tilting Greg’s chin up, exposing his throat. Mycroft leans in and kisses over the hot bruises all along the sides. Greg can’t keep the little sounds in his throat, little whines escaping him with every burning press of mouth to sore flesh. 

Greg keeps his eyes closed, but he feels Mycroft fiddling with the clip on the headboard. His arms are released, but Greg keeps them over his head, waiting. 

“See?” Mycroft grazes one of the bites with his teeth. “You’re so good for me, Gregory.” 

“I want to be,” Greg breathes, and he’s beyond being embarrassed by how he sounds. “Let me be good for you again. I want you to—” 

“I know what you want,” Mycroft interrupts. He climbs off of Greg’s lap and gently picks up Greg's hands where they lay. “Your arms are sore.”

“In a good way.”

“Mm.” Mycroft massages Greg’s knuckles, the palms of his hands, digging his own thumb in. Greg hadn’t realized how tightly he’d been clenching his fists. “Now,” Mycroft says, “I want you to turn over. Hands and knees - no - elbows and knees for now. Edge of the bed.”

Greg moves, but he’s slow, limbs like jelly and nerves jangling. Mycroft is patient, and helps him along, adjusts him where he wants him. 

“Very good,” he murmurs. “You’re so swollen here.” His fingers brush gently over Greg’s hole. Greg twitches with a yelp. “I wonder how much you could take. Size-wise, I mean.” 

Greg lets his head rest on his outstretched forearms. “When I was younger, I could… Well, one time, I managed a fairly ridiculous dildo.”

“How ridiculous?” Mycroft asks, amused. His fingers probe more insistently, two slipping inside. 

Greg hums and grinds back. Mycroft lets him. “I dunno, thirteen inches or so? Way too thick. It wasn’t actually enjoyable, as far as getting fucked goes. But. I dunno. It was my Everest, I guess.” 

Mycroft chuckles. “You were a bit…”

“Oh, I was a slag.” Greg keeps up the movements of his hips, fucking himself on Mycroft’s fingers, which are held still for him. “Still am, I guess.”

“Well,” Mycroft uses his other hand to get a grip on the harness. “Lucky me.” 

He’s taking his fingers away and shoving back into Greg in the next breath, punching the air from Greg’s lungs. And he just… pounds him.

Greg had calmed too much, his body just a little more tense again, had forgotten - maybe, for  just a moment - what he’d been begging for not ten minutes ago. He’s glad he has his elbows to catch himself on. He nearly collapses from the shock of the first slam inside. 

“Tell me what you want,” Mycroft demands. 

“Come inside me,” Greg says instantly. “Oh, god, please give it to me.” 

“Why?”

“Because I’ve been so good. Because I want it. You can… you can… ah!” Mycroft reaches around to fondle roughly at Greg’s cock. “You can fill me up and take me again later,” Greg rushes to say before the shudders take over. “Oh god, stop, stop, I can’t—” 

“You’re going to come first.”

“No.”

Mycroft doesn't bother responding to that, just wraps his hand more firmly around Greg’s cock and strokes him, too dry and too rough, in rhythm with his harsh thrusts into Greg’s arse. He’s got one foot up on the bed, and his free hand grips Greg’s hip tight enough to bruise. 

“You will come, or I will stop.” 

“No,” Greg sobs, sure in the moment that for that to happen would be the worst of all his failures. “Please don’t, please don’t,” he begs. “I—  I can’t—  I can’t Mycroft, take the ring off.” 

“No.” 

Tears drip from Greg’s eyes and roll down his nose. “Please.”

Mycroft swipes over the head of Greg’s cock, spreading around precome. He uses Greg’s foreskin to ease the roughness of his strokes. But it’s not—  Greg is sure that he can’t. Mycroft hauls him back a little, adjusting Greg’s knees, then moves the hand on his hip so it grips the harness again. Mycroft uses that to force Greg back to meet each and every thrust. 

“I’m close,” Mycroft murmurs. “So hurry up.” 

“Ah—” The change in position is doing something. The head of Mycroft’s cock hits his prostate more directly this way. He can do this. He can do it. He tells himself he can do it. “Mycroft,” Greg says through numb lips. “Fuck me harder. I can come, I can, just—”

“I know you can.” Mycroft shoves him forward, knocks him off his elbows. His hand is tight and sweaty around Greg’s cock, and now every savage thrust ratchets up the friction. “Do it. Come for me. Now, Gregory.” 

A couple more horrible moments, and it’s happening. Greg feels it in his spine, his gut, his toes. It’s—  it’s wrong, the pressure is so great, the edges so sharp. When Greg finally does come, he almost hates it, sobbing near-hysterically into the duvet as Mycroft fucks him through it. 

“Oh, that was terrible,” Mycroft says unsympathetically, fingers vicious on Greg’s leaking cock. “That sounded painful, Gregory.”

Greg just cries and takes it.

“I’m so proud of you,” Mycroft tells him, then pulls out. “Now turn over.”

Greg does it, unable to look at him, and throws an arm over his eyes. He lets Mycroft wrap Greg’s legs around his hips, lets him shove back inside without trying to lift his hips or grind them down. His body doesn't work. 

“You’re still so hard,” Mycroft pants, and Greg really has no idea how he has this much stamina. “You’re going to come again.”

“No the fuck I’m not,” Greg snaps, removing his arm and glaring up at Mycroft through tear-blurred eyes. 

Mycroft grins, feral. “Oh, yes you are.” 

Greg’s belly clenches, the anticipation more like fear. Mycroft holds him by the hips and fucks him and fucks him, and it feels good and it doesn't. Greg, struggling up onto his elbows, can just barely see where their bodies meet. He watches, barely breathing, as Mycroft traces rough fingers around Greg’s stretched hole. And then Mycroft unsnaps the ring, tossing it aside. He takes Greg’s cock, still wet and sticky with his own come, in his fist, and jerks him ruthlessly. 

Mycroft’s thrusts pause and stutter, his mouth drops open. Greg watches his face, thrilling at the simple fact that he gets to see this, gets to watch this particular man lose it because he’s buried inside of Greg. He wishes life could be like dirty novels, wishes he could feel Mycroft’s come filling him up. 

A moment later, to his own shock, Greg comes again, shouting and sobbing all over again, with Mycroft’s slowly softening cock still inside of him. 




***



Not too long after, Mycroft has gently pressed a small plug into Greg’s arse, shoved the cuffs and straps to the floor, pulled back the come-splattered, lube-stained duvet, and settled Greg between the cool sheets. He produces a bottle of water from god knows where and makes Greg drink it before gulping down his own. 

“Do you want me here?” he asks, seeming unsure of his welcome in the bed with Greg. 

Greg wrinkles his brow at him. “Yes, of course I do. I would hate it if you left. Why would—” he lifts up the sheets. “Get in here.”

Mycroft huffs and does, slips close and lets Greg tug him closer. 

It’s intimate. It’s like they’re normal people who just had perfectly normal, boring, vanilla sex. It’s like they’re a couple, or real friends. 

Greg feels badly for thinking that - they’re friends. They’ve always been friendly enough, and lately…

Greg’s out of it and forgets to bite his tongue. “Do you not like kissing?”

Mycroft blinks. “What?”

“I mean, you just never… Do you not like it?”

Mycroft shifts, adjusts a pillow under his own head. It’s a stalling tactic, but Greg doesn't comment on it. After a while, Mycroft says, “I like it. Not during more intense moments. It… draws my focus. Or, it has, historically. In recent years I have been accustomed to the sorts of encounters that don’t really involve such things.”

Greg can’t really parse all that right now, with a head full of white noise and a body that’s still throbbing. “Well, you should kiss me,” he says, unsure once he’s said it that it’s what he meant to say. 

Mycroft chuckles. “Now?”

“Yeah.”

Mycroft’s smirk softens, and he leans in, nose brushing up against Greg’s. “You’re sure? I rather assumed you wouldn’t be interested in such… intimacy.”

Greg rolls his eyes. He wants to give him shit for that, say how Mycroft’s had his tongue in Greg’s arse but doesn't think he’s welcome to kiss him. 

But really, all he wants is a kiss, so he doesn't bother with all that. He just tilts his face up and presses his mouth to Mycroft’s, soft and undemanding. He waits. 

Mycroft kisses him back, and it’s almost chaste. Just a liplock. 

Something about it, though. Greg thinks: thunderbolts and lightning. 

He keeps his eyes closed and takes one more gentle press of lips. 

“Thank you,” he says. And in the back of his mind, still quite addled from what they’ve been doing, he thinks: very, very frightening.

Chapter Text

-11-

 

For days after, Greg relives that night in snippets of memory. 

He cooks, and his skin breaks out into goosebumps when he gets a flash of Mycroft’s voice in his ear; Mycroft’s teeth in his shoulder after he’d woken Greg in the middle of the night, slipping out the plug and fucking him again, face shoved into a pillow. 

He showers, and thinks about being steered by gentle hands on his upper arms and then being pushed to sit on the side of the tub while Mycroft filled it with hot water and fragrant bubbles. 

He applies for more jobs, and remembers being so sure of his place in the world, so happy to be owned. 

Mycroft has not stayed away. He shows up most evenings, and sometimes they fuck. Sometimes it’s physically intense, other times it’s all psychological, Mycroft’s coolness and his demands doing just as much, if not more, than all the leather straps in the world could do. Sometimes it’s both, and Greg is sure he’ll shake apart. He never does. 

Sometimes Mycroft asks Greg to touch himself, instructing him in that cool voice but with dark, heated eyes. 

Sometimes, he just looks tired, and disappears into the office for long hours, reappearing only to melt into the plush velvet sofa at Greg’s side, watching whatever film Greg’s got going until Greg finally breaks and says something like, “For the love of god, Mycroft, just choke me with your cock or something, you look miserable.”

Mycroft gives him a lot of wry little smiles. Amused chuckles. Sometimes, he seems about to reach out. Something stops him every time. 

He kisses Greg, but only just after sex. 

He stays with him after, sleeps next to him or deals with emails from his phone while Greg dozes plastered to his side. 

They don’t touch much outside of that. 

Still, it’s really great. Greg likes him. Mycroft is sarcastic and haughty the way Sherlock was, but he’s sociable and genteel the way Sherlock wasn’t. Greg can make him laugh, can surprise him into it with dirty jokes or by teasing him about himself til he cracks. They both like costume dramas. Mycroft complains that Greg’s ruining his diet, but he likes Greg’s cooking anyway. 

They go down to the gym together and talk while they exercise. They watch the news while Mycroft’s on the treadmill and Greg’s on the elliptical, and Greg tries to mess up Mycroft’s stride and his breath control by making outlandish suggestions for how Mycroft could fix the world’s problems as they’re reported, or by guessing at what Mycroft did to create this situation or that. 

Once, he almost gets Mycroft to fall off the treadmill entirely with a well-timed dirty joke about Cameron and Clegg. 



***



Greg gets a job volunteering at a shelter for homeless teenagers, and every gangly, angry boy reminds him of Sherlock and makes him want to run in the other direction. But that feeling only lasts for the first two weeks. 

The night he comes home and realizes he’s moved past it, Mycroft shows up less than an hour later looking pinched around the eyes. 

It’s not his work stress face. 

It’s not anger. 

Greg watches him carefully from his place at the stove, where he’s making stew because it’s bloody freezing out, and realizes what he’s seeing is grief. Lingering, exhausted grief. 

He places a bowl and a napkin with a spoon beside it right in front of Mycroft, who is scrolling through emails with an air of misery radiating off his hunched shoulders. Greg adds a slice of crusty bread to the bowl and says, “Don’t tell me you don’t want the carbs. Eat the bread.” 

Mycroft blinks at him, but he nods, and he locks his mobile screen and eats it all. 

“Do you have to go to the office tonight?”

Mycroft shakes his head, wiping his mouth with the napkin after he’s taken the last bite of stew. “No,” he says. “Frankly, the entire country can burn down tonight for all I care. I’m taking the evening off, no matter what.”

“That’s good,” Greg says, smiling until Mycroft looks up at him. With a raise of his eyebrows, he says, “So? What is it you want?”

Mycroft studies Greg from across the island. “Honestly?”

“Yeah.” 

“I want to get very, very drunk.”

Greg grins. “Done.”




***



The ‘questionnaire’ had been full of boundaries and expectations. More than just a list, it had contained several paragraphs outlining what Mycroft would and would not expect of Greg - sexually, of course; had it been a little more detailed it might not have taken him two weeks to find out he was allowed to leave the flat - as well as what Greg could and could not expect of Mycroft. 

But most of that has fallen by the wayside, these days, which is why it’s so upsetting when Mycroft is a dick to Greg in late November, for seemingly no reason at all. 

“All I asked,” Greg says through gritted teeth, “was where you were on your trip.”

“And I informed you that it was not your place to ask,” Mycroft says, cold and emotionless in the face of Greg’s anger. 

“I’ve asked before, and you have either told me or made a joke.” Greg crosses his arms over his chest. He’s dressed nicely today, button-up and tie, the soft wool trousers Mycroft picked for him. The director of the shelter had asked him to come along to some meeting with a company that donates big bucks, said he was the most professionally experienced and mature of the volunteers. It had gone well. Greg had looked forward to what Mycroft’s reaction to the nice clothes would be. Last time, when Greg had polished up for a week of job and volunteer interviews, Mycroft had seemed to delight in ruining his neatness, after. 

Besides, Mycroft’s been out of town for over a week. Greg had assumed he would be pent-up. He’d been expecting to get hung from the bedposts and fucked into oblivion, not whatever this utter horseshit is. 

“I don’t owe you an explanation,” Mycroft says. He’s gathering his things to either leave or disappear into the study. 

“Oh!” Greg throws up his hands. “There it is, a line I’ve never heard before! Entirely new information, thank you so much.”

Mycroft’s eyes narrow at him. “Are you forgetting why you are here, Greg?”

Greg rolls his eyes and shoves past him, making sure to knock their shoulders together. “I’m not your fucking slave, Mycroft.”

“Oh, but you wish you were,” Mycroft spits. 

Greg turns, fingers loosening his tie. Mycroft’s turned around too, and he’s tossed his things back down on the floor by the kitchen doorway. “What did you just say?”

“You heard.” 

Greg yanks the tie out of his collar and throws it on the ground between them. “You’re projecting,” he says. He starts on his shirt buttons. “Because it’s what you want. You want a quiet little fucktoy who never asks questions. Fine.” He shucks out of his shirt and throws that aside too before stripping off the vest underneath. 

“This is childish.” 

Greg lets the trousers drop and steps out of them. He’d forgone underwear, grand plans in mind and everything, and he’d taken his shoes and socks off at the door. He drops to his knees, naked, on the gleaming hardwood floor. “Here I am, sir,” he said. “Punish me for daring to speak to you out of turn. I’m sure I deserve it. Sir.”

Mycroft rolls his eyes. “You are making a fool out of yourself.”

“Am I?” Greg shrugs. “What’s your problem? What’s the goal? Hm? Do you want a convenient fuck or the boyfriend experience? Are you doing it because it’s easy or because you feel badly or because you’re repressed or what? Where the fuck were you that you’re overcorrecting this badly?”

Mycroft’s jaw tightens. 

“I spent thirty years of my life talking to guilty people,” Greg says. “What the fuck is going on?”

Mycroft turns away. “Nothing,” he says. “Please get off of the floor. Put your clothes on.”

“No.”

“No?” Mycroft glares over his shoulder. 

“Make me.”

“I won’t be doing that.”

“Then tell me where you were.”

“India,” Mycroft snaps. “Goodnight, Greg.” 

And with that, he picks his stuff up again and leaves, the door to the flat slamming behind him. 

 

-12-

 

A week later, Greg texts Mycroft a photo of the laptop he’d found on the coffee table that morning with the message: You can’t buy me, you know.

It’s hours before a reply comes. 

MH: Demonstrably untrue. 

Greg rolls his eyes. 

GL: You don’t own me. You’ve said so yourself plenty of times. I don’t want this computer. 

MH: Then do not use it. 

GL: Come to the flat tonight. We need to talk. 

That night, Mycroft shows his face well after 10, when Greg is fusing with the sofa and debating just heading to the downstairs bedroom for sleep. 

He levels Mycroft with the most unimpressed look he can muster, the sort of look he used to give Donovan for fucking Anderson again, or Sherlock for calling him by the wrong name. Mycroft ignores him and goes to drop his things in the study. 

Greg half expects him to stay in there a while, just to be an arsehole. But he doesn't. He returns and stands in front of the dark telly with his hands shoved in his pockets. He’s ditched the suit jacket in the study, too, and he looks a bit rumpled all together. 

“I owe you an apology,” he says, not looking up from the coffee table, where the laptop remains in its box. 

“Yes,” Greg says. “You do.” 

“I… I don’t know what came over me,” Mycroft continues. “I don’t know why I reacted so… I don’t know, but I am sorry.” He clears his throat. “I also want to apologize for my comment this morning about buying you. That is not what I did, or what I want to do.”

“Good,” Greg says evenly. “Because you can’t. This little arrangement or whatever it is? It’s mutually beneficial. And I like it. But I’m a human being, and you can’t treat me like dirt just because you’re in a mood. Just because I like what I like in bed doesn't mean you can just—” 

“I know,” Mycroft says, and finally deigns to look Greg in the face. “I know that, I wasn’t… it wasn’t that. I don’t think less of you because of what we do. I swear it.” 

“Good.”

There’s a brief stare down, which Greg breaks by turning his attention to the box on the coffee table. He nudges it with his foot, right in the centre of the apple logo on the side. “And this? What’s this? And while we’re at it, the mobile? The clothes? Books on the bedside table? The stack of CDs I found in here last week?” 

Mycroft clears his throat. “Well.” He shifts his weight, crossing and recrossing his arms. “They are things that you need. And I did say I would provide for your needs.” 

Greg raises an eyebrow. “Yeah, sure,” he says. “Like food and a roof over my head and a TV license. Whatever. I didn’t ask for the Apple store.”

Mycroft rolls his eyes. “A phone and a laptop are not—” 

“Why did you give them to me?” 

Mycroft sighs deeply. “Because,” he says, a hint of snappishness back in his voice. “You don’t ask for anything. And it feels wrong to leave you here with the bare minimum, waiting for you to realize that you can ask. It would be unkind.”

“Unkind,” Greg repeats, lowering his feet from the coffee table to the floor and leaning forward, elbows on his knees. “That’s what you’re going with.” 

“Fine,” Mycroft snaps. “The clothes were because I thought your body would look pleasing in them. The mobile was so I could ask for photographs and because I thought you might want to be able to text your sister or your friends, perhaps access the internet. You needed a haircut. You need a computer. If you wish to apply for a paying job later, or attend a course or training, you will need it. Watching you do job applications on a mobile was excruciating and I wanted to give you something because I like to give you things. Happy?”

“Yep.” Greg grins. “You like me so much.” He wiggles his eyebrows. “Don’t you, Mycroft?”

“I don’t see how that matters.” 

Greg slaps his hands against his thighs as he stands. He stretches, makes a show of it, then shrugs with his hands on his hips. “It matters,” he says, and steps forward. “Listen, whatever it was that made you so nasty? You could maybe just tell me about it.” He shrugs again at the shutters that come down over Mycroft’s eyes. “Or not, I guess. But. Something’s up with you. And I like you, too, you know. I… I’d like to help. And not just by letting you smack me around. Though, I mean, that’s still on the table.” 

He steps closer still, and for the first time he reaches out and touches Mycroft first, hooking his finger in the loosened knot of his tie and tugging. Mycroft sways forward, takes a step. Greg moves in, bringing them toe to toe, and rests his hands at Mycroft’s waist. 

“I can’t tell you why I was upset after India,” Mycroft says, but his eyes are darting over Greg’s face like he’s racing to catch up on this new data, this new world in which Greg touches him like this without being told. 

“I don’t need you to,” Greg says. “Don’t ever talk to me like that again. Um… outside of bed, I mean.”

Mycroft winces and laughs at the same time, his face folding in on itself. “I wouldn’t speak to you that way in bed, either. I really do apologize. I’m sorry.” 

“Thanks,” Greg murmurs, and slides his hands up and around to Mycroft’s back, nudging him in closer until their chests are touching. Mycroft finally does something with his hands, one slipping around the back of Greg’s neck while the other sits low on his hip. “You know, you can touch me like this whenever. I won’t think less of you. You can still be a stone cold top later, if you kiss me right now.”

Mycroft… shivers. 

Greg smiles and leans in, and their lips meet chastely, like they do sometimes after they’ve fucked, after Greg’s choked himself half-knocked out on Mycroft’s cock, after Mycroft’s spent an hour twisting Greg this way and that. But then it melts, catches fire, turns wet and hot, Mycroft’s tongue slipping between Greg’s lips almost sweetly before it all turns harder and more desperate. 

Greg lets himself go lax in Mycroft’s hold, opens his mouth to him, groans and sighs and hangs on. It’s good, fuck, it’s so good. 

Thunderbolts and lightning. Again. 



***



That night, Greg rides Mycroft as slowly as Mycroft wants - his instructions sounding deliciously close to begging - wrists bound above his head, suspended from the bedposts like he’d been hoping for last week. He comes when Mycroft demands it, Mycroft’s fingers tight at Greg’s throat. 

And Greg, as full of every good chemical a body can be full of without black tar heroin involved, almost says something really, really fucking stupid. It’s lucky Mycroft shoves his fingers into Greg’s mouth just in time.

 

-13-

 

Things go well after that, no more confrontations in the hall. No more one step forward two steps back. Mycroft relaxes more around him. They talk more, joke more. Greg keeps Mycroft in the loop on all of the gossip at the shelter, as well as on his favorite of the many lost kids who pass through. There are regulars, of course, and a few have endeared themselves to Greg with their utter weirdness and intense, vulnerable personalities. 

Mycroft smiles indulgently, sweetly, when Greg talks about how much he wants to see them do well, see them get to a better place. He doesn't say he’s going to donate a small fortune to the shelter, but Greg hears about a sudden windfall from an anonymous benefactor, and he knows in his bones that it was Mycroft. 

He provokes Mycroft into taking him over his knee that night, unable to think of a better way to thank him. 



***



Things settle into a routine, and it involves more sex than Greg’s ever had in his life. He can’t complain. 

Mycroft presents him with coils of soft black rope, and Greg’s never done any of that intricate Japanese rope stuff but Mycroft has, and the results… well.

Greg is a fan. 

The morning after that, Greg wakes to the feeling of Mycroft’s lips on his thighs, tracing patterns where the looping ladders of rope had been the night before.

“I loved that,” Greg says, hushed, which draws Mycroft’s eyes up the length of Greg’s body. They’re so blue, and Greg’s caught him off guard, so they’re incredibly soft, too. Open. Lovely. “Last night,” Greg clarifies stupidly. “I loved it.” 

“Good,” Mycroft murmurs against Greg’s thigh. 

He proceeds to give Greg a long, luxurious blowjob, which is a new thing - Mycroft doing that for him. He teases him mercilessly, tells Greg he’ll spank his arse black and blue if he comes before he’s been told. 

It’s glorious. Greg’s so glad he agreed to this deal. He’s made nothing but good choices. He’s sure of it, just then. 



***



The director of the shelter, Brendon, thinks Greg should put himself forward for a paid position. It’s nothing fancy, just coordinating other volunteers for a pretty scant paycheque. Greg’s only been there two months, but he likes it a lot, had more or less decided he would pursue something that would let him keep doing this sort of work. He tells Brendon he’ll think about it, and goes for a walk instead of heading directly back to the flat. 

He’d agreed to do this thing with Mycroft for a year. It’s been three months, and Greg knew within the first week that he wouldn’t ask to have Mycroft fix a move to Canada or anywhere else. If Greg’s willing to exchange his body for a way to stay in London, there’s no way he’s going to just up and leave a year later just so he can keep being a copper. 

The craziest thing of all is that he doesn't miss it. He doesn't feel the need to tell himself he’s had the one thing he’s good at taken away. Not anymore. 

Greg’s good at cooking. Could’ve gone to culinary school or got a job as a line cook or a nutritionist or who knows what. He’s good at talking to people. He’s good at giving a shit. 

For the couple of days he’d sat around his empty old post-divorce flat debating whether he should take Mycroft up on his offer, Greg had constantly, repeatedly wondered if doing it would make him worse. Make him think all he was good for was…

But that’s not what’s happened. Greg can’t help laughing at himself as he sits on a bench in St. James’ park, staring out across the winter-bare trees but not really seeing them. Greg’s always felt vaguely like a fuck up, no matter how well he was doing. Leave it to him to agree to whore himself out only to discover that the real journey was the self acceptance he found along the way. 

He rolls his eyes at himself. 

“It’s going to rain,” says a voice from just behind him. 

Greg doesn't know what to do with the wave of gladness, of tenderness that hits him as he turns his head to take in Mycroft, standing there in his gorgeous long coat, his driving gloves, with his umbrella in one hand. Who knows how Mycroft tracked him here. Best not to ask. 

“And,” Mycroft continues, “it’s freezing. Are you quite alright?”

Greg shrugs. The coat he’s wearing was bought for him by Mycroft, and is the warmest thing he’s ever had on his body. He’s fine out here. 

Mycroft joins him on the bench, not close enough for their thighs to touch, but enough that Greg can knock their knees together in greeting. 

“I might have a paying job on offer,” Greg says after they’ve sat there quietly for a while. “At the shelter. It’s full time. Won’t pay much, but it’s something.”

“Excellent news,” Mycroft says mildly. 

Greg knows that Mycroft knows what Greg’s thinking. May as well come out and say it. 

“I think I should move out,” Greg says, like ripping off a plaster. “I know I agreed to a year, and honestly I’d be glad to keep doing what we’ve been doing just… a little differently. I think… I don’t know. I think it’s the right thing to do, if I’m going to be making money.”

“How would you afford a place in London?”

Mycroft doesn't sound upset, but he doesn't really sound like anything. It’s his flattest voice. 

“I’d probably have to rent a room,” Greg admits with a shrug. “Flatmates. Not what I pictured for myself at almost fifty, but. I dunno.”

“My offer was meant to give you the chance to establish yourself again,” Mycroft says. “With my help.”

“In exchange for no strings attached sex, right.” Greg rubs his gloved hands together. “But… I don’t know, Mycroft. It feels… stringy.” 

Mycroft makes a noise in his throat. “Does it?” 

Greg glances at him. “I… like you more than I thought I would.” He winces. “Actually, no. That isn’t true. I’ve always known I would like you. I like all of it. More than I was expecting.”

Mycroft’s cheeks are a little red. “Then why stop?”

“Because…” Greg sighs. “I don’t want to feel guilty for liking you. I don’t want to feel… Wait. Do you? Would you do this with me if it wasn’t an arrangement?”

“Yes,” Mycroft says immediately. “But you won’t want to.” 

“I just said I would.”

Mycroft isn’t looking at him. “What if I told you that you could have your old job back?” 

Greg blinks. “Why—” 

“Not now,” Mycroft continues, “but eventually. What if I told you I could almost guarantee you your old job back within the next year. What would you say?”

“I have no idea?” Greg’s stomach twists. “What’s this all about?”

“Sherlock,” Mycroft says, finally turning to look at him, “is alive.” 

Greg blinks again, shakes his head. “No.”

“He is alive,” Mycroft repeats. “He faked his suicide, and I helped him do it.”

Greg feels… nothing. He doesn't believe what he’s being told, but he can’t even muster up any anger at Mycroft for lying to him. “That’s not funny.” 

“I don’t kid.” Mycroft is expressionless. “Sherlock was in India for months. He is… somewhere else, now. I have had to smooth things over for him several times these past several months, and will have to do it again. Many times. Eventually, he will be able to return to London.”

India.

Greg swallows hard and looks away, panic rising in his chest. “Why would he fake it? Why would he do that?”

“Because the most important people in his life were endangered. Because he was forced to do it.” 

“And why would you keep it from all of us, if you knew?”

“Because there could be no indication that he was alive.”

“And now?”

“It’s slightly safer now, and I trust your acting ability. I feel it would be unethical not to disclose it considering what you’re thinking of doing.” 

Greg can’t help it - he laughs. “Unethical,” he echoes. “Wow.”  

He wishes he could feel angry. He is angry, but he just… he feels empty. He hasn’t felt that way in months, but here it is, that gnawing void opening itself back up inside him.

“When Sherlock does return, you will be exonerated of the accusations of misconduct and will likely have grounds for a wrongful termination suit.” Mycroft turns the handle of his umbrella. “I… I did offer you our arrangement for my own benefit, obviously, and I did wish to help you. I did feel guilty. I wanted to ensure you stayed safe, stayed cared for, until that time. I knew that you had been unfairly treated in all of this, and I knew that you would… I had a very strong suspicion that you would agree to this.”

Greg feels like his lungs have filled with sand. Every breath is harsh, a labor. “I can’t believe you,” he murmurs, standing from the bench. “This is… this is insane. You and your brother. Are insane.” 

Mycroft doesn't argue with that. 

“Do you even like what we’ve been doing? What you’ve been doing to me?”

Mycroft’s face finally displays something that could be termed an expression. “Of course I do.”

Greg scrubs a hand over his eyes. “Can you blame me for wondering if it was all a lie? I thought… I thought I was going to be able to ask you to… that I could just, tell you I—  that I want more than… And this is. It’s too much. I have to go.”

Mycroft stands. “Will you meet me back at the flat?” 

“No,” Greg says, and suddenly his coat doesn't feel warm at all. He’s shaking, freezing. “No, I can’t be there. I don’t know, Mycroft, just. Don’t fucking follow me, I’m afraid I’ll hit you if you do.” Or cry. Or vomit. “Just leave me alone.”

“Gregory—” 

“Don’t.” 

Greg turns and walks away, doesn't look back to see if Mycroft follows or watches him go. 

A few minutes later, it starts to rain. 

Greg calls Priscilla from a bus shelter, asks her if she can come pick him up. 

 

-14-

 

He spends the weekend kipping on her pull out sofa. In a twist of luck, her kids are off with the father this weekend, a bloke Greg’s met exactly once and disliked on sight. 

“He’s gotten a lot better,” Priscilla tells him in the car on the way to her place in Camden. “Good dad, these days.”

“That’s good,” Greg says numbly. “Really, it’s great.” 

At her cramped little townhouse, Priscilla sits him down at her scratched kitchen table and presses a glass of vodka into his hands. 

“I haven’t got anything else,” she tells him. “I’ll go to the off-license later, get us something that doesn't taste like jet fuel. For now, bottoms up.”

Greg drinks and grimaces. “I’m really sorry,” he says. “I don’t want to impose on you.”

“You’re my brother,” Priscilla says simply. 

Greg looks up at her. She’s standing there, arms crossed over her middle, and she’s… so soft, like their mum was. She’s wearing a fuzzy jumper and leggings with big, ridiculous moon boots, and her mostly-grey hair is twisted up on top of her head in a messy pile. Her earrings are their mum’s, actually. Greg doesn't know he’s about to cry until it’s already happening, and he has to dash the tears away with the heel of one hand and look away from her. 

“I’m a shit brother,” he rasps. “I’m sorry.” 

“You’re not that bad,” she says, and steps forward, hands on his shoulders. “Not your fault we didn’t have a real family to keep us close. I love you all the same. And hey, we’ve never cried about boys together before. We’ll do it up right, like teenagers. Ice cream and cheap wine and shitty telly.”

Greg laughs. “How d’you know I want to cry about—  I’ve never said…”

“Greg, come on.” Priscilla holds him against her soft midsection. “ I’m staying with a friend while I get back on my feet? You were red as a tomato. I’m not an idiot.” 

“Pris…” Greg shudders. “I’ve really fucked up this time.” 

“Alright,” she says, soothing, and pets his hair. “Tell me all about it, then.”



***



Greg leaves his mobile off til Sunday night, when Priscilla leaves to go pick up the girls from their father’s place. 

“You’re staying as long as you need,” she tells Greg before she leaves. “So it’s crowded in here, who cares? Call that posh prick and have him bring you your things.”

Greg turns on the phone not really planning to call Mycroft - who Priscilla only refers to as ‘posh prick’ - and finds a series of missed calls and texts waiting for him. 

Sally Donovan (missed call) 

John Watson (3 missed calls) 

Mycroft Holmes (missed call)

SD: Hey boss, long time no speak? You could call me sometime, you know. 

JW: Why is Mycroft Holmes in my flat? 

JW: Do you need a place to crash? Why is Mycroft Holmes arranging your living situation?

JW: Are you alright? 

JW: I never knew you had a sister, by the way. 

JW: Listen, I’m staying at Mary’s all week, got plans with her almost every night so. You can come kip on my sofa if you want. We need to go for a pint. Soon. 

MH: Please call me when you are ready. 

Greg sighs and calls Mycroft, because he really can’t handle explaining himself to any more people right now. 

“Greg.”

He closes his eyes. Despite himself, he’s thought a hundred times that he misses Mycroft already. “Hey,” he says. “You shouldn’t have bothered John with my problems.”

“I…” Mycroft clears his throat. “I rather panicked. Apologies.” 

Greg wipes the smile off his face with a hand. “S’alright.” 

“Greg, I…” Mycroft sighs. “I’m sorry for the way… I’m simply sorry. Nothing about the last year and a half has been easy for you, and it’s entirely the fault of myself and my brother. I understand if you never want to speak with either one of us ever again. But I would like to offer you the flat, until such time as you are ready to leave it. If you ever are. Stay there as long as you like. No arrangement necessary.”

Greg doesn't know what to say to that. 

“I dunno, Mycroft.”

“You would be safer there,” Mycroft says. “Shaan is a highly trained bodyguard, and the building is practically a fortress. Things are safer now. However… twenty months ago, you were within the sights of a sniper rifle, and you had no idea.” 

Greg’s stomach lurches, and he has to take a moment to breathe through. “Right,” he says. “And you would just… what? Not… not want to do this anymore?”

There’s a silence. “I don’t want to put you in that position,” he says after a moment. “I should never have… It would have been better to tell you the truth months ago.” 

“Maybe,” Greg hedges, not sure if that’s true at all. 

“Please stay in the flat,” Mycroft says after a moment. “It’s the least I can do.”

Greg closes his eyes, nods. “Yeah. Fine.”

 

-15-

 

Christmas is a couple of weeks later. It comes and goes. Greg spends it with Priscilla, and wonders if Mycroft is somewhere with Sherlock. 

He texts him, wondering if it’s a good idea even to do that. 

GL: Merry Christmas, Mycroft. 

MH: To you as well.

And that’s all. Greg types, then deletes: I miss you. Types, then deletes: You should come over later. Types, then deletes: I miss you a lot. 

He shoves his phone in his pocket and focuses on his nieces’ reenactment of their school nativity play. 



***



In January, Greg gets hired on as the volunteer coordinator at the shelter, making less than he made as a PC. He likes it, though. He feels good, useful. His coworkers are great. 

He has a pint with Donovan, tells her about it. She’s still at the Yard, of course. Greg had taken the blame for everything, since it wasn’t his team’s fault at all, and they’d never been entirely comfortable with Sherlock. 

Donovan’s smiles are tight. She tells Greg that Phil’s really gone off the deep end on something called the Sherlock Lives Movement. Greg has to end the night pretty soon after that. He feels nauseous with all the lying by omission he has to do. 

He texts Mycroft. 

GL: Wish you’d never told me the truth. I hate knowing this. 

MH: I am sorry. 

GL: Are you in the country?

MH: No. 

GL: Weird that we never texted when you were away before

MH: You are always welcome to text me. 

Greg types, then deletes: Please come to the flat when you’re home. 



***



By March, Greg has a little savings growing in his new bank account. He’s been purchasing things for himself, expanding the music collection Mycroft had started for him, adding things to the flat to make it feel like his own. But for the most part, all his money gets set aside. Mycroft keeps the pantry stocked, pays the bills and keeps Greg’s mobile on. 

Greg hasn’t heard from him since he texted him in January. He had spent much of February finally feeling the anger that had eluded him at first. 

He’d been lonely, in February. He and Tracy’d stupidly gotten married on Valentine’s Day, their youthful romanticism making it seem sweet. Since the divorce - since before the divorce, when things were bad between them and Valentine’s Day and their anniversary felt like pantomimes of a happy marriage - the entire month has been a weird one for him. 

On the day, he’d found himself drinking Mycroft’s fancy scotch alone, thinking about how he could’ve spent it in bed with Mycroft if only all of this hadn’t come to light. And for a moment, his anger was about that. And in the next, it was very much not. 

Greg had broken a glass and thrown all the sex toys in the trash. 

But now it’s March, and he’s alright. He can acknowledge that, lies and fucked up sex exchange aside, this situation is going to help him figure things out. For now, he’s rebuilding his finances, and trying to decide what he’ll do when Sherlock comes back - whenever that might be. Greg doesn't know, doesn't think Mycroft even knows. 

He’s thought about asking him lots of times, but can never bring himself to do it. 

When Sherlock comes back, Greg could maybe be a detective again. He just doesn't know if that’s what he wants. 

He’s not sure of anything. Some nights, he wants his old life back. Others, he wants Mycroft to show up and tell him to get on his knees. And some nights, Greg just wants to not think about any of it. 



***



The sound of the door opening startles him out of his task, and Greg turns, pen in hand, to see Mycroft slipping in, no briefcase, no coat. Greg’s not surprised - who else would be letting themselves into this place? Other than Shaan, Greg doesn't think anyone knows about it. 

“Hey?” Greg tries. 

Mycroft comes to a stop in the entryway to the lounge. He looks awful - dark circles, pale, hair a mess. 

“Mycroft?” Greg puts his pen down on top of the volunteer rotas he’d been trying to work out. “What’s happened?”

“I don’t know,” Mycroft says, then brings his hands up, covers his face. “I don’t know where he is. He’s gone off grid.”

Greg stands from the floor in front of the coffee table and flicks off the telly. “What?”

“I… I don’t know why I came here.”

Greg steps forward. He knows why Mycroft came here. But first… “Explain it to me,” he says. “Tell me everything. Tell me what happened.”

Mycroft looks back at him helplessly. “I—” 

“You owe me that much,” Greg says. 

Mycroft nods. “You are right. Of course. I do owe you that. I… we ought to sit.” 



***



Once the entire awful tale is told, Greg has experienced an uncountable number of feelings about all of it.

“You’ve been killing yourself to keep him alive,” Greg says. “Haven’t you?”

Mycroft nods. He sits on the coffee table, having settled there once he’d finished pacing, unable to sit still while he relayed the danger Sherlock had been in in India, the attention he kept drawing to himself there.

Greg remembers sitting on the flimsy Ikea coffee table in his old flat, staring at a cool and collected Mycroft Holmes who had been about to make him an indecent proposal. 

Now, Mycroft looks done in by it all. Greg, understanding the breadth and weight of what Mycroft has been managing for nearly two years, is frankly amazed it’s only now that he’s beginning to fray. 

“Do you think he’s dead?”

Mycroft shakes his head, staring down at his loosely clasped hands held between his knees. “No, I don’t. I… I think he planned this. He’s been getting… impatient. With the timeline. With me.”

Greg huffs. “Typical.”

Mycroft looks up with one of his wry little smiles. “Indeed.”

Greg wants to kiss him. 

Greg thinks he loves him. 

It’s terrible. Greg makes terrible choices.

“You know,” Greg says. “It might be completely insane, what the two of you have gone and done. But I do understand it, I think. I’m still angry, just so you know, and I might be angry forever.” 

Mycroft nods and averts his eyes. “I do not blame you.”

“But you should know that there’s never been a time that I wasn’t angry at Sherlock, and I still love the stupid bastard.”

Mycroft’s head snaps up. 

“I’m a masochist, after all,” Greg jokes. 

Mycroft laughs, sharp and sudden. “That is not funny.”

“Sure it is,” Greg murmurs. Then, he decides it’s time. Cards on the table. “Mycroft, I miss you.” 

Mycroft’s smile is weak, but Greg thinks it’s hopeful. 

It’s a start. 

 

-16-

 

By October, Greg has been dating Mycroft for longer than he’d been fucking him and not-fucking him. 

Mycroft’s finally had Greg over to his real house. Greg practically lives there half the time, and Mycroft’s at the flat the other half. 

Greg’s in love with him. Hasn’t said it, but he thinks it all the time. 

He has no idea how to explain any of it to anyone. His sister thinks he’s lost his mind, but she says he looks happy. 

He is happy, and it’s so strange. 

Without the pretense of an ‘arrangement,’ Mycroft gets ten times more attentive, his tendency to arrive at the flat with a gift in hand, or to simply sneak them into Greg’s things, is endearing and somehow no longer overbearing. Greg really knows what it is to be utterly spoiled all of a month into it. At first, he feels compelled to argue, to tell Mycroft not to do it. 

“I like giving you things,” Mycroft says when Greg tries. “I meant it when I said that. It… I simply enjoy it.”

“Get off on it, you mean,” Greg teases. 

“Does that matter?”

Greg grins, “I mean, kind of. In a good way, I suppose.” 

And he stops arguing. 

Mycroft takes him to dinner at the drop of a hat. He picks Greg up from work in his dark-windowed cars and surprises him with lunch. He dresses Greg up like his own personal cut out doll, and seems to delight in ripping it all off again. 

Greg is into it. Very into it. When he was young and built for it, it had never occurred to him to make a go of the sugar baby lifestyle. As a man, he’d always been self-sufficient, had prided himself on it. 

But he’d also prided himself on prioritizing a thankless job over everything else. On setting himself aside for everything and everyone. For beating his head against any and every brick wall.

Mycroft doesn't give Greg things because he expects Greg to give him something in return. Not anymore. He does it to make it easier, make it nicer, for Greg to put himself at the top of his own list of priorities. It doesn't make Greg feel owned, not really. Kept is probably a better word. It’s a warm feeling. It’s safe. Who wouldn’t want that? Greg stops telling himself he shouldn’t.

“I don’t want my old job back,” he tells Mycroft at the start of autumn. “Is that… I mean. Does that bother you?”

Mycroft studies Greg over the rim of a wine glass in the low candlelight of another gorgeous restaurant. “Why would that bother me?”

“I… I’m never going to make much doing what I’m doing now,” Greg says. “If I go back to school, you know, maybe a little more, but… I don’t want you to think I plan on just leeching—”

“Gregory,” Mycroft interrupts softly. “Don’t ever say that. It’s fine. Anything you want, anything you wish to do, I support it. I will facilitate it. No conditions.” 

Greg’s heart skips a hundred beats. “I mean,” he says, stopping to clear his throat, to wet his dry tongue with a sip of wine. “I think I know that. I just… it’s difficult.” 

“I understand,” Mycroft says. “Not to worry. Do you want to take courses?” 

Greg licks his lips. “Maybe.”

“All you need to do is say where and how much,” Mycroft says, and his foot nudges Greg’s under the table. 



***



Another night, Greg’s in Mycroft’s lap, rocking himself torturously slow on Mycroft’s cock with his arms draped over Mycroft’s shoulders, his wrists taped together. Mycroft’s licking the necklace of bite marks he placed over Greg’s chest and making desperate little sounds while he does. 

He’d let Greg put a cock ring on him for this. They’ve been at it for hours, fucking and stopping and starting again. 

“Mycroft,” Greg says through the haze of stinging skin and burning pleasure. “Mycroft, Mycroft, you—  I belong to you, I’m yours, I’m yours.” 

And Mycroft shudders, and holds him tighter, closer, fastens his mouth to Greg’s shoulder. Since they started this up again, he’s never asked Greg, never growled those words in his ear. And Greg understands why, but he’s done with that. Done with pretending that’s not all he wants to hear, all he wants to say. 

“I love you,” Mycroft chokes as he comes, fingers bruising Greg’s rocking hips. “Gregory, I love you, you’re mine, mine, mine.”



***



It’s a week after Mycroft left in the middle of the night saying something about Serbia, and Greg’s outside his posh Kensington townhouse, smoking a cigarette because he’s been worried sick this entire time. 

Mycroft left from his own place, where Greg had been spending the night. He’d told Greg to simply stay there if he wanted. No need to go back to his flat. Greg hasn’t left, of course, because for the last two months Mycroft’s been on Sherlock’s scent and they’ve both been waiting for a break in the case, Mycroft having Greg cast a second eye over the evidence he’s been collecting in order to trace Sherlock’s path since he went dark. 

This sudden lead, called in by Anthea at two in the morning, it’s promising, or Mycroft wouldn’t have gone himself. It’s dangerous, too. Same reason. 

Greg won’t know anything right away even if Mycroft’s back in the country. He knows how this is going to go. It’s going to take extensive, careful work to place Sherlock back in the land of the living - if, in fact, there is a Sherlock to put back at the end of it all. Mycroft will have to be wherever Sherlock is, keeping an eye on him and orchestrating it all, likely on a complete communication blackout while he does. 

If Greg were still a DI, he might have been able to argue for inclusion in all of it. He’s not sure how. He would likely have been denied, not by Mycroft but by whatever government entity he’s using to pull this off. But he would’ve put up the token argument anyway. 

Greg lights a second cigarette and thinks about pacing just to work off some of this nervous energy. It’s cold for October, and he could use the movement to warm himself up. 

“Those things will kill you.”

Greg’s lungs freeze, unable to draw the smoke in. He plucks the cigarette out of his own mouth.

“Oh,” he says as he’s turning. “You bastard.”

 

-17-

 

“How was he?” 

Greg stands in the foyer of the Kensington house, unknotting his tie. He’d expected to be out much later, dancing the night away at John Watson’s wedding. Instead, he’s home early and exponentially more exhausted than expected after handing a murderous photographer off to Sally Donovan, hitching a ride with the local constabulary. Someone had to be there to explain the Sherlock of it all to NSY. 

“Dunno,” Greg sighs. “He seems alright.” 

Mycroft steps out of the stairwell that leads down to the kitchen, already handing Greg a tumbler of scotch. “I worry.”

“I know.” Greg smiles, steps in to kiss him hello. “He’ll be alright. Mary likes him, weirdly enough. I don’t think this is the end of the Baker Street set. Maybe they’ve just added a third.” 

Mycroft makes a noncommittal, worried little noise. 

Greg knocks back the scotch and hands the empty tumbler back to him so he can shuck out of his suit jacket. “Molly says you did a really great job choosing my suit. Said I looked edible, made her new boyfriend a little jealous. I think Mrs. Hudson pinched my bum.”

Mycroft laughs quietly. “Ah yes, another success for me. I told you the blue-grey was better than the pinstripe.” 

“I should know better than to argue,” Greg murmurs. 

Mycroft’s eyes spark at him. “Yes, you should.”

“Wanna do terrible things to me then watch Emma ?” 

Mycroft smiles - grins, really. 

Greg’s belly flutters in anticipation. God, he hopes that never stops happening. He doesn't think it will. 

“Get on your knees.”