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The Other Side

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Mycroft sat in a busy terminal, thoroughly annoyed at his current predicament. Not only had he been called away on business unexpectedly, forced to leave his husband and daughter in the middle of the night with nothing but quick kisses to sleepy cheeks as a farewell, but he had then had to deal with perhaps the largest group of imbeciles in the political world for over a week. Mycroft was exhausted by the time he finally made it to the airport, only to find out that his private jet was experiencing technical difficulties and was grounded until they could be fixed, which could take another several days.

Thus, he found himself having to travel on a commercial flight. Mycroft had tried to tuck himself away from the other passengers waiting at the gate, but the constant buzzing of hundreds of voices and the scent of the unwashed masses kept closing in on him until he felt he could scream. Just as he was about ready to stand and walk to England if he must, a heavy weight fell into the seat next to him. He started, surprised that someone had apparently slipped up to him while his mind was occupied, and looked to see an elderly man sitting comfortably next to him, a small grin on his face.

Mycroft looked around for his assistant (he couldn’t remember what name she was going by today) to remove the man, but she was nowhere to be found. Mycroft turned a distasteful look upon the old man, one eyebrow quirked, and said in his most haughty tone, “ May I help you?”

The old man chuckled and settled even further into his seat, causing Mycroft’s frown to deepen, and said, “No, no. You just looked like you could use some company.”

“Thank you for your concern, but I do not want any company,” Mycroft replied, dismissal heavy in his voice.

“Want and need are two very different things young man, and I can tell that you clearly need someone to talk to.”

Mycroft was speechless for a moment. The old man chuckled again and said, “My name’s Frank.”

“Mycroft,” Mycroft replied, taking the offered hand.

“Well, Mycroft,” Frank said, “You don’t look like you’re having a good day. Or week for that matter. Don’t like airports, eh?”

“You would not be incorrect in that assumption,” Mycroft replied dryly, beginning to relax. There was something Mycroft liked about this man.

“Me neither,” Frank said, “But you know what always helps me? Thinking about what, or who, waits for me on the other side. Do you have someone waiting for you at home?”

Mycroft didn’t answer, but he could feel a silly grin spread across his face.

“Ah, I can see you do,” Frank said with a smile. “A family?” he asked.

“Yes,” Mycroft nodded, “My husband and daughter.”

“Do you have a picture?” Frank asked through a small laugh.

Mycroft pulled out his wallet and retrieved the one picture he allowed himself. It was of Gregory and Emma on her last birthday. Emma was sitting at the table, face lit by candles and eyes lit by joy, and Greg was leaning over her shoulder, cheeks pressed together. Both were looking at the camera, happiness etched on their faces.

Mycroft smiled softly at the image and passed it to Frank. He gazed at the picture for a while, saying nothing, but grinning at it. Finally, he looked up and said, “She’s beautiful. And he’s a looker too,” before handing the photo back to Mycroft.

“Thank you,” Mycroft replied as he returned the photo to its home. “And you? Who do you have waiting for you?”

Frank smiled sadly. “No one, now. The kids are all grown and my wife died last year. This was supposed to be a retirement trip. One last hurrah before we settled down. Then she got sick. She still wanted me to go, though. ‘Have fun for the both of us’ she said. She made me promise. So I went. I had adventures, and I’m gonna take ‘em back and tell her all about them. She’ll love it.”

Mycroft was quiet for a moment, unable to speak past the lump in his throat.

“I’m so sorry,” he finally choked out.

“Oh, don’t be,” Frank replied, the grin back on his face. “She’s waiting for me on the other side. I’ll be heading home to her soon enough.”


Mycroft boarded his flight shortly after that, and after a long trip, he arrived in London, where he got in the shiny, nondescript car the awaited him. A short ride later, and he finally walked up the steps and unlocked his front door. A lovely smell wafted from the kitchen accompanied by the sound of music and laughter. Quietly, he made his way towards the noise to find Greg and Emma making dinner and dancing like fools to the oldies blasting from the stereo system. He leaned against the doorframe and watched, a silly grin on his face, until the song ended.

“Bravo,” he said, clapping his hands. “A lovely performance from all.”

Two surprised sets of eyes, one chocolate brown and one the bluest of blues, swiveled towards him. Smiles bloomed across both faces, and Emma rushed toward him, leaping into his arms.

“Papa! You’re home! I missed you,” she said, wrapping her thin arms around his neck.

“I missed you too, my love,” he murmured into her soft, auburn curls, inhaling the scent of strawberry shampoo and crayons that always seemed to hang around the girl.

Emma released her tight grip and slid to the ground, where she began chattering away about her week, running to and fro about the room, thrusting papers and drawings into his hands. “… and then Uncle Sherlock and Uncle John came over and Uncle Sherlock taught me how to use a microscope! It’s so cool, Papa!”

“I’m glad you had an enjoyable week, my dear,” Mycroft said with a broad smile when she had run out of steam. She flashed him a quick grin before pressing a fleeting kiss to his cheek and fleeing to her room to do God-knows-what.

Mycroft finally turned his attention to his husband for the first time since his arrival. Gregory was smiling fondly at him as Mycroft stood from where he had kneeled on the kitchen floor and quickly crossed the room to him. His husband wrapped his arms around Mycroft’s middle and held him close as Mycroft’s hands cradled his face. After gazing into his eyes for a moment, Mycroft began pressing gentle and desperate kisses all over Greg’s face and lips, before resting their foreheads together.

“What’s this?” Gregory asked, pulling back so he could see Mycroft’s face. “What happened?”

“Nothing, nothing. I just missed you is all. I’m so glad that I have you and Emma waiting here for me when I get home. I love you both so much.”

Greg smiled and said, “I love you, too,” before pulling Mycroft close once more and softly kissing him as the music floated around them.