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What Advantage

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He had decided, yet again, that caring was not an advantage.

Mycroft looked out of the window of his car. The woman on the phone just closed a business contract. The man walking next to her is late to work. The teenager behind them just got engaged and was afraid her parents would be angry. There wasn’t much else he could glean from behind the rain-splattered window in the back of a dark car. At least, not when his mind was on something else entirely.

Detective Inspector Lestrade. Or Gregory, as he now insists he call him. There was something different about him. He had known that there was something different since the first meeting. He hadn’t given much thought to it, as he had been busy. Well, busier than usual. Wars are such a nasty thing.

The car slowed to a stop and Mycroft tightened his grip on the umbrella he had in his hands. The door opened, letting in not only the noise of people and traffic and rain but also a very wet Inspector.

“Good evening, Detective Inspector.” He turned away from the window and gave the man his full attention. He just finished paperwork. Working longer hours than needed again. Hasn’t cut his hair in a month and just finished a horrible cup of coffee. He was, in short, exhausted. That was something that Mycroft could sympathize with.

“Please, Greg, when I’m off duty.” Ah, so the working long hours had finally got to him. Or maybe it was the particularly gruesome murder case he had just finished. Both, he decided.

“I had hoped you wouldn’t be adverse to having dinner together, tonight. If you would like to stop by your flat beforehand, that would be agreeable.” This would be the 11th meal shared between them. Not that Mycroft was counting. Because he wasn’t.

“That would be lovely, thank you. Did something happen? What did you need to talk to me about?”

“How has Sherlock been doing?”

“He’s still an insufferable bastard but that bloke John Watson has seemed to quiet him down a bit.”

“Yes, that’s the conclusion I’ve come to as well.” Mycroft let himself watch as a drop of water slide down the side of the Inspector’s face.

The car came to a stop outside of his building. “Take my umbrella. It wouldn’t do to change into a dry pair of clothes only to get them wet again.”

Gregory laughed before taking his umbrella. Mycroft watched him as the door closed and the man hopped up the steps before opening the door to his building. As so soon as he disappeared, Mycroft let out a breath he hadn’t realized he’d been holding and let his head drop back against the seat.

What was he doing? How could he justify this dinner without sounding like a besotted teenager? It wouldn’t be too off the mark, Mycroft thought grimly. Caring wasn’t an advantage, and yet, here he was, making social calls with no excuse besides that fact that he may or may not be slightly lonely.

Before he could carry on with his wallow through self-pity, the car door opened again and a very dry Lestrade entered the car.

“Cheers for the umbrella.” Mycroft took back his umbrella from the outstretched hand.

“Perhaps you should invest in one for yourself. I believe I have lost count the number of times that you had been in this car soaking wet.” He raised an eyebrow.

Gregory laughed again. It was always such a pleasant thing, to hear his laugh. “You’ve got a point there. Where are we going to dinner, then? Hope I didn’t dress too casual. Although, whenever I’m with you, I always seem to be dressed too casual.” The smile on his pleasant.

“It’s a small French restaurant near my place of residence. What you are wearing now should suffice.”

Lestrade nodded and they sat in companionable silence until the car stopped in front of the restaurant.

Mycroft should not have been surprised when Gregory ordered in almost perfect French. When Mycroft raised an eyebrow in question, he simply said, “You of all people should know my dad is French,” and shrugged innocently.

The conversation was good, as usual. He listened while Lestrade talked about a case at work that Sherlock had helped on. Mycroft, in turn, told him what he could about his day and the possible impending war. They gave each other a name of another album for the other to listen to. Mycroft enjoyed classical while Gregory liked classic rock. They had both found that they enjoyed each other’s music.

Dinner came and went, dessert was gone, and Mycroft felt relaxed and, dare he say it, content. This was his usual mood after dining or drinking with the Inspector.

“I wondered, Inspector, would you care to come to my house for a drink before you head home?” Mycroft wanted to cringe at the suggestiveness of the question. That was not its purpose and hopefully, the Inspector isn’t put off by it.

“Sure, I’d be glad to. Do we walk or take your car?”

“We can walk if that is alright.” He said he would be glad to. Mycroft was absolutely infatuated. He paid for their dinner and held the door open on the way out. They walked side by side, the easy swing of the umbrella out in front of him every other step, just enjoying each other’s company. Speaking was not necessary. Neither were the glances that Mycroft sent his way, wishing that there was something that could be done without destroying their tentative friendship. Gregory was one of the very, very few people in this world that did not exhaust him.

“This is your house? Not exactly what I was expecting but it is very… you, I supposed.”

“What, pray tell, were you expecting?” Mycroft put his hand under the scanner and unlocked the door.

“Good evening, Mr. Holmes. Is there anything I can assist you with, sir?”

“Evening Darius. Would you pick out a good scotch and set it up in the drawing-room? Thank you.”

“I was expecting a butler. That bit doesn’t surprise me. I just figured you would live in a mansion surrounded by high cement walls with snipers posted every 5 meters.”

“Please control your imagination, Gregory. I’m just a small, unimportant, government official.”

“No one would be able to tell with your fancy suits and cars and whatnot.” They both chuckled. “Has anyone ever believed that story?”

“You would be surprised what people believe when the truth is right in front of them.”

“Actually, no, I wouldn’t. It’s just, you cut quite a striking figure in the suit. Sometimes I forget how stupid other people can be. And I deal with them every day.”

“I’d say that we both sometimes take for granted what others do not question.” Mycroft placed his umbrella in the stand. “Would you like a tour or just a scotch for now?”

“That scotch sounds pretty damn good right now. That dinner was fantastic, by the way. Thank you for that.”

“Think nothing of it. It was my pleasure.” Mycroft opened the door to the drawing-room. On the table sat a bottle of unopened scotch and two tumblers and a bucket of ice. Darius had even started the fire.

“I don’t get out nearly enough. I’m either working or at home sleeping it seems.”

“Ah yes, well, it is not something easily avoided in our line of work, making sure that the world does not cave in on itself. Ice or no ice?”

“No ice is fine, thanks.” Lestrade sat down on one end of his large couch. He leaned forward to take the offered glass and sunk into the cushion. “Would you called us friends, Mycroft?”

Mycroft eased himself into the other end of the couch before answering. “I would say that we are, and if not, then this is the closest thing I have ever had to it.” He took a sip of his scotch and looked from the fire to Gregory. “Why do you ask?”

“Just something that your brother was saying the other day.”

“Would you call us friends?” Mycroft rested his glass in his hands, his back straight.

Gregory leaned forward with his elbows on his knees. “Yes. I would.” Mycroft held his gaze, the intensity making him want to look away.

“Well,” Mycroft drew a breath and they both leaned back into the couch. “I am honored to hold such a title.” Mycroft eyed Lestrade’s throat as he took another sip of his scotch.

“I know Sherlock plays an instrument. Do you play anything?”

“I play the piano, on occasion. Do you still have your guitar?”

Lestrade chuckled. “I guess that one would have been easy,” He looked down at his calloused fingertips and Mycroft wondered how they would feel against his skin. “No, I don’t. It’s at the family home. I didn’t bring it with me when I moved to England.”

“Are your parents still alive?”

“Shouldn’t you know? I’m sure you had a file on me made when I first took in Sherlock.”

“I did. It hasn’t been updated since then.”

“Yeah, they’re still alive. Yours?”

“Yes, they are both alive. I make sure Sherlock visits each holiday.”

“With you two under the same roof, I’d hate to see Christmas dinner.”

“It’s never boring.”

“I can believe that.” Gregory laughed and Mycroft could only watch as his face lit up and transformed. Oh, how Mycroft wished he could kiss him. It never did anyone any good to dwell on what couldn’t be. It wasn't healthy.

They talked a little more before Lestrade set down his drink and stood up. “I have work in the morning and I need to get home if I want to get any decent amount of sleep.”

“Of course. Let me walk you to the door.”

“Thanks for the dinner, and the drink, and the conversation. Do it again soon, yeah?” He smiled and started to open the door. “Do I need to call a cabbie?”

It may have been the scotch, the full stomach, or maybe it was just the fact that he just had the best night in over 3 months, but Mycroft felt a surge of courage.

“Gregory.” It sounded like a whine but he couldn’t find it in himself to care. He surged forward and brought his hand up to Greg’s jaw and kissed him. He didn’t hold him in place so he couldn’t get away and he wasn’t demanding. He almost pulled when Gregory kissed him back. With his confidence back, he kissed harder and pushed Greg against the door and it shut. Greg’s hands were on his waist and his hands were in Greg’s hair.

He pulled away, both breathing a bit heavy. “God, Mycroft. It’s about damn time.” A hand moved from his hip and tugged his tie to pull him back into the kiss. His mouth was warm and it tasted like good scotch and felt amazing.

When they pulled away again, they were both panting. “Well,” Gregory started.

“Yes.”

“Bloody terrific.”

“I had hoped that you would consider a romantic relationship with me but that would be unwise on your part. I am always on call, there are things that I will never be able to tell you-”

“Mycroft.”

“I have killed people. I can be harsh and cruel. I can be careless and absolutely thoughtless-”

“Mycroft.” 

“I am not the most attractive man nor am I the youngest-”

“Mycroft.”

“But I would hope that you would consider as a romantic partner, no matter how disastrous it could be.”

“Mycroft.”

Mycroft looked up from Gregory’s mouth, where he had been, avoiding looking him in the eye. “Yes?”

“It sounds like a fantastic idea. I’d be honored to have such a title. Kiss me again, you idiot.”

He smiled into the kiss.

Maybe he was wrong for once. Maybe caring could be the greatest advantage of them all.