“Was it really your idea to put on that dashing shirt for this evening, or was it your wife’s?”
Greg blinked a couple of times at the government official who looked a bit too casual for what he had just said. That self-indulged expression Mycroft always sported was starting to get a bit tiresome, after all.
Mycroft’s smirk grew even wider as Greg started to fiddle with his engagement ring, and even further complacency from the politician was never something to be considered as good.
“Have I intimated you now, detective inspector? Made you feel uncomfortable?”
Of course he had. Mycroft always did. No matter the time or place, Greg ended up with a mind more confused and out of place than a student looking for a teacher in the staff room. Mycroft was always flirting with him, or at least so Greg thought, but since it was never plainly outspoken he could never be sure. His compliments were always wrapped in an extra layer of indiscernibility that had the policeman wondering if it was just wishful thinking on his own part or if Mycroft actually meant what he said. Then of course there was always the possibility that he was amusing himself on Greg’s behalf.
“Certainly seems like I have.”
This time after Mycroft had spoken Greg at least managed to open his mouth as if to say something, which was a huge improvement from just staring at the other man.
“Perhaps you would want to leave, Lestrade?”
“No. I don’t.”
Mycroft gave him a look that truly seemed to be surprised over his answer. Still he had not moved an inch in his seat in the armchair. “No?”
“No,” Greg answered before clearing his throat. “We still haven’t talked about your offering.”
“That is true,” Mycroft said and gave what Greg supposed was an impressed quirk of his eyebrow. What he was impressed by Greg could not tell. “More whisky?”
Greg nodded and held out his glass for the other to refill. “I’m not saying that I am opposed to it,” he said, “but I’m not for it either. It is a huge risk for all of us, including you, your brother and my team.”
“Not for you then?”
“Of course it is for me too.”
“Yes, but you did not mention yourself.”
With an disapprobatory look in the politician’s direction, Greg then chose to continue without commenting. “What if he causes damage to any evidence?”
“Really, detective inspector?” Mycroft snorted. “Sherlock? He would never do such a thing. It rather seems like your looks are exceeding your intelligence by far.”
Once again Greg was left with his mouth left hanging open. “Excuse me?”
“Didn’t you hear me?”
“I sure did.”
Greg gritted his teeth but chose not to comment this time either. He wanted to get back home as soon as possible and bickering with one of the Holmes brothers was the safest way to lose both his temper and his time.
“I’m doing you a favour, mister Holmes.”
“I am aware, and I thank you sincerely,” Mycroft said with one of those smiles that almost seemed to chink his face. It was just like the smiles Greg’s old aunt had given him, but the difference was that her face had been so full of wrinkles that it looked as if her skin was an old vase cracking into pieces. Mycroft’s skin was far too smooth to cause the same kind of unpleasantry.
“Well, since I’m doing you a favour I’d appreciate it if you didn’t comment on my intelligence.”
“But I am allowed to comment on your looks.”
“No- well, yes, but not in this context!”
“I think the rest of the visitors of the club would appreciate it if you lowered your voice, inspector Lestrade.”
“I don’t care at the mome-”
“You will if the guards decide to throw you out.”
With a long sigh Greg leaned back in his seat and gulped down the rest of his whisky. “Let them. I’m done here anyway.”
“Oh, that’s a terrible shame,” Mycroft said and tilted his head as he looked at the policeman. “I was hoping you could stay for another glass after we had agreed on the matter we have discussed.”
The man’s damned impudence seemed to have no end. “Really now?”
“There is no need for you to sound annoyed, dear.”
The politician looked rather pleased with himself as he put his tumbler on a side table. Then, as if Greg was some kind of piece of art on display for Mycroft’s liking, the politician examined him in earnest. Greg would not be too surprised if that actually was how Mycroft saw him.
After a few minutes of uninterrupted stares on Mycroft’s behalf, Greg then sighed again and shifted in his seat. “I should better get going, wife’s waiting for me...”
Mycroft chuckled. “You know as well as I do that she’s out with the P.E. teacher tonight. Or wait, no...” The politician leaned in to have a look at the collar of Greg’s shirt. “A new lover, it is. She will undoubtedly won't be back for the night, I’m afraid.”
“Really? Do you think that’s the right thing to say at the moment?”
“Detective inspector, you ought to stop using that disbelieving voice. It does little to fortify your counter argument of my idea that your looks are sharper than your brains.”
The urge of punching the government official was almost strong enough for Greg to actually carry it out, but instead he went down the same old road and shut his mouth.
“Your discomfort has turned into anger. Interesting,” Mycroft smiled and crossed his legs.
“If you don’t look out my anger might lead to actions.”
The politician’s smirk grew even wider. “That would be an interesting turn. You see, my curiosity might soon lead to actions, too. Let’s see who gets there first, shall we?”