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The first time Lestrade met Mycroft, it was after a particularly harrowing day trying to get a gangly fresh-thirty year old in a (fake, yeah, don’t think he didn’t notice) sergeant’s uniform away from his crime scene. The meeting had been simple. “Let him stay, let him help, and I’ll pay you whatever you like.”

“I’m not crooked,” he’d said, and the man had actually looked pleased.

“Neither am I,” Mycroft said, “but family does do strange things to people.”

Lestrade’s never had any siblings, but he’d spend all of his adolescent years adopting as many underclassmen as possible. “If he mucks anything up, it’s not going to happen again.”

“Very well, inspector.”

The first time they had a proper conversation Lestrade was in an all-hours surgery clinic, holding an ice-pack to his swelling ankle and another to his bruised temple while Sherlock was in the other room, getting a bullet plucked out of the back of his left thigh.

“He’s in surgery,” he said with a shrug, eyes fixed on the well-dressed man. Mycroft merely smiled, sitting beside him, and struck up a conversation while they waited. Of all things they ended talking about rugby- no fancy wonder the man enjoyed it, posh that he was, but Lestrade preferred football himself. The other man had looked confounded upon not having enough information to continue a proper insightful conversation, and Lestrade had laughed. Mycroft had smiled back, and Lestrade had thought ‘not bad for a posh government pup.’

The first time Lestrade rode in the man’s Big Black Car (yes, granted, more than one existed) it was with the man’s young and pretty assistant in the next seat, and he realized something was wrong when he caught himself thinking of her as a chaperone.

The first time Lestrade went to Mycroft’s flat, his own had just been burnt up magnificently. Too tired to give a damn, he collapsed face first on the couch and woke midday next in a nice, comfortable bed, covers tucked around him.

The first time he decided to bring up the possibility for more, they were at a social function- a charity event for the MET, something they both had legitimate reasons to attend apart from each other, he lost heart at seeing the other man smile that same amused, private-joke smile he had thought their secret to an aging beauty in an expensive dress. He never got a second chance, because less than an hour later Mycroft cornered him in a hidden corner behind large, plastic greenery and asked him to accompany him back to his flat for a nice tea with an absolutely wicked gleam in his eye.

The first time they kissed, Lestrade had just said ‘yes’ to tea and licked the edge of his mouth at the insinuation. He hadn’t expected Mycroft to swoop down and kiss him square, but he was game all right.

The first time they had a proper snog was that same night in the back of Mycroft’s Big Black Car. He wasn’t absolutely how, but by the time they’d stopped they were practically horizontal, Lestrade stretched over Mycroft, absolutely no give as he drove forward.

The first time they slept in the same bed followed as a matter of reasonable consequence, though Mycroft absolutely refused to actually get to the slept with part, since they’d only kissed that evening. Lestrade ribbed him about it, cleverly, teasingly, and simply resumed kissing the life out of the other man until he felt sated. He did, come morning, recognize the bed from the first time he’d woken in the flat.

The first time they officially went on a ‘date’ was the next morning, out for breakfast in a classy uptown place with a roof garden. It felt a lot like several meals they’d already shared together, actually.

The first time they slept together (for real, this time), Lestrade had all but fallen asleep when he felt soft fingers against his hip, a subtle breath against his neck. “You are quite wonderful,” the other man said, and he smiled. The next morning he wasn’t sure whether he’d dreamed it.

The first time they’d talked about moving in together had been after their eighth time sleeping and waking together, when Mycroft had nuzzled into the back of his neck and said something like ‘if only I could wake like this for the rest of my life, I would be a happy man indeed,’ and Lestrade had smiled and twined his fingers with the hand splayed against the skin of his stomach.

The first (and only) time Lestrade brought up marriage, Mycroft had absolutely panicked, a flurry of ‘no, we can’t, we absolutely can’t,’ and urgent mumblings, and had fled the room. He’d been absolutely furious until the man’s pretty assistant had called and warned him to stop trying to paint ‘I AM IMPORTANT TO MYCROFT HOLMES’ signs all over himself, and didn’t he see that it was a concession to him that Mycroft already lived with him, and did he have any idea what sort of danger he was already in?

The first time Mycroft mentioned marriage, he’d told the detective quite urgently that there couldn’t be any trace of it. They’d each bought a pair of rings individually at separate jewellers a month and a half apart, switched a single ring each, added the single ones to Sherlock Holmes’ disguise pile, and worn them on different hands, exchanging meaningful words and urgent kisses.

The first time anyone caught them at it, it was Sherlock, and he’d only called them idiots before wandering off, dragging John in tow. John had smiled knowingly and waved a cheeky goodbye to a flushing Mycroft.

The first time Lestrade thought ‘honest to god, I love this man’ was lost somewhere in between, unremarkable for all its startling purity. He never noticed.