Actions

Work Header

Fast & Loose

Chapter Text

Greg was just polishing off a vaguely sinister tuna salad sandwich from the break room vending machine when his mobile rang. 'God Save the Queen' blared tinnily, alerting him that the one and only Mycroft "Hot-Arse" Holmes was calling. Wiping his fingers hastily, Greg swiped, fumbling to answer. Brushing at his mouth--as if Mycroft would be able to sense crumbs through the phone--he answered, "Hi, Mr Holmes."

"Detective Inspector," came not Mycroft's crisp voice, but the cut-glass tones of his PA. 

With an uncomfortable twist in his gut, Greg sat up from his comfortable lunchtime slouch, senses on alert. Mycroft was the only one who had ever phoned him from his private mobile number. "Anthea," he asked, "what's wrong?"

"We have a...situation." Situations, in his experience, were never good. "Where's Mycroft?" he all but barked, dropping his feet from his desk blotter and standing to reach for his jacket and keys, ready to race out the door.

"I currently have him stashed in a broom closet at Whitehall."

Greg stumbled, pausing, "Sorry? Did you say broom closet?"

"Yes," Anthea sounded very nearly agitated. "It has been a...trying few weeks, what with that, that cretin taking office." He heard the sigh she released. "Mr Holmes has been on edge for months now, and only getting worse, and since his schedule was clear I urged him to take a Xanax for his impending panic attack and go home."

Greg hadn't known Mycroft--Mr Holmes--was subject to panic attacks. It was such an intimate thing to know about the normally self-possessed man. He ignored the tender squeeze of his heart and focused. "I take it something derailed that plan?"

"Quite. An emergency meeting was called, which he was obliged to attend. Unfortunately it ran rather long and he became...susceptible."

"Anthea, what happened?"

There was a terrible silence. Finally, "He called the PM a pimple on the arse of British democracy."

Greg let out a strangled sound which landed somewhere between appalled and hysterical. "Urg," he managed.

Anthea sounded almost amused, "I agree. Unfortunately this did not go over particularly well. Fortunately the PM himself was not in the room at the time, and I think I smoothed things over, but now I have a dilemma."

"Which is?"

"I've stashed him in the closet and smoothed feathers, but I have to get back in there and represent Mr Holmes."

"And you need to do something with Mr Holmes." It wasn't a question.

"If he were fully in control of himself, I know Mr Holmes would be comfortable with knowing you were looking after him." Anthea's tone was solemn, "He trusts you."

Hearing it put into words made Greg warm. He'd long known he was useful to Mycroft, but he figured it was more a matter of necessity than trust, for the most part. "Lunchtime traffic will be a hassle," Greg was thinking out loud as he left his office, signing to Dimmock that he was leaving. "It will take a quarter hour to get there, but I'll put the lights on and book it. Can you hold on until I get there?"

"I'm attending to the traffic lights now. Expect them to be green in your favour all the way." 

"Anthea, I love you," Greg said, and she actually laughed.

"Just get here, Inspector."

"Done." Greg hung up the phone and ran swiftly down the stairs, bypassing the lift; it was too slow and time was of the essence. Between the whirling police lights, Anthea's able assistance with the traffic signals, and perhaps a touch of Divine Intervention, Greg made it to Whitehall in less than five minutes. He flashed his warrant card, barking in his best DI style and was admitted to the corridor Anthea had indicated. He found her pacing in short motions outside an unremarkable door, every hair in place, but a palpable air of anxiety about her. Her expression lightened when she caught sight of him. "Thank God."

"Got here as fast as I could," Greg said, slightly out of breath. "He in there?"

She nodded. "I've commandeered his mobile as he was sending rude Tweets to Trump and tried three times to order two hundred anchovy and pineapple pizzas to be delivered to Number 10."

Greg grinned, "Ruthless."

She actually smiled back, a real smile, light blue eyes warm with laughter, "He's a terror." Her tone was fond. 

"Is there a back way I can get him out of here?" Greg asked. "Only, I don't suppose it matters, as I've left my car out front."

"I've a car waiting at the back entrance, you can trust Raoul, he's discreet. Take Mr Holmes directly home, please, and see he stays there?"

"I'm on it." Greg spared a thought for the shit he'd face for abandoning work without warning. It wasn't the first time he'd faced official reprimand for a Holmes and he didn't suppose it would be the last. As if reading his mind (maybe she had), Anthea assured him she'd taken care of his spontaneous leave of absence and directed him on the most unused corridors to see them out the back, before opening the closet.

Mycroft, when the closet door opened, blinked owlishly at them. "Greg," he greeted the other man, not at all surprised to see him there, "Darling!"

"Um--"

Anthea, half turned away, faltered. She chanced a glance at Greg, who was gaping at Mycroft. "Oh dear..."

"I've been trying to reach you," Mycroft pouted, reaching for a stunned Greg, who didn't resist. Mycroft snuggled against his chest, "Mm, you're here now, anyway."

"Yeah I am," Greg agreed hoarsely; he shot a frantic, confused look at Anthea over Mycroft's shoulder, trying, and failing, to ignore the nuzzling going on. So help him...

"I lost my phone," Mycroft mumbled, tugging at the neck of Greg's checked button-down. "You smell like fish, have you eaten without me?" 

"Uh...yeah. Sorry."

Mycroft gave him a chiding look, tone fond, "I wanted to order in a curry and snuggle." His expression went coy, "Maybe wile away the afternoon upstairs..."

Greg's brain shorted out. 

Anthea sounded strangled, "Sir...sir, did you have more than the one pill?"

"Hm? Oh, two," Mycroft said dreamily, smiling into Greg's bewildered eyes. He smoothed his hand over Greg's chest, fond, slipping sly fingers in between the buttons.

"You took another after the one I gave you?"

Mycroft glanced at her, "I had one this morning," he corrected, "then the one you gave me didn't seem to be working, so I had another with my whisky and soda."

"Dear God," Anthea said faintly.

Greg held Mycroft's face between his hands, looking into his eyes, "Mycroft," he said as calmly as possible. "I think you've had a bit too much. I'm going to take you to the hospital."

"Nonsense," Mycroft dismissed, putting his hands up to cover Greg's. He smiled at him, "I'm simply...loose."

Greg sternly tried to banish from his thoughts the idea of a loose Mycroft, one who was touching him so softly and smiling at him with intimate promise. "I'm worried about you."

"I'm fine, sweetheart, truly." Mycroft kissed him, sudden, soft and sweet. Greg's breath caught. "Take me home and take care of me."

"Inspector," Anthea said, glancing over her shoulder as there came the sound of voices nearing a door down the hallway, "I think you'd best take Mr Holmes home. If you become worried, I've texted you the contact details for his personal physician."

"Right," Greg said, still reeling from the press of Mycroft's lips on his. How had such a brief, chaste kiss felt so electric? "Um, let's go, M-, um, Mycroft." Pressing himself to Greg's side, winding a long arm around his waist, Mycroft went along willingly. Greg tried to ignore the thundering of his heart. None of it was real. Once the drugs wore off, Mycroft would go back to the distant man who kept himself well removed from human affairs. Greg would go back to the lackey who could be trusted to clean up after the younger brother. 

It was a good job Raoul was trusted and discreet, because despite the mask of professional disinterest he wore, there was a startled look in the man's eyes when he saw the two entwined men emerge into the alleyway. Mycroft clung like a limpet to Greg. If he'd seen the game of grabby hands that followed in the short drive to Mycroft's home, Raoul would have been astounded. Greg grew tired of repositioning Mycroft's hands and begging him to behave and finally let Mycroft cozy up to him. Maybe it was wrong to let the man kiss him when he was under the influence of drugs, but Greg was weak. Weak-kneed, as well, by the time the car pulled into the garage.

Swallowing hard, Greg pried Mycroft off of him, "Time to go inside," he said gently. Unable to resist, he kissed Mycroft's pouting lips, "Just let go for a minute, love." The endearment fell naturally from his lips. Christ. He was doomed.

Taciturn, Raoul held open the door and offered assistance, "getting Mr Holmes settled," but Greg waved him off. "I've got it, mate, thanks." Steering the other man through the door, Greg couldn't help but look around in curiosity. They had entered into a small mudroom cum laundry room which led onto a large, sterile kitchen. Everything was impeccably clean, modern, and utterly lacking personality. "Tea?" Greg asked. Mycroft backed him abruptly into the stainless steel refrigerator. Without answering, he wrapped his arms around Greg and proceeded to snog him senseless. Greg gave a helpless whimper, trying to turn his head nobly away, to manfully resist returning Mycroft's hug, his kisses.

Mycroft pulled back, a frown pinching his brow, "Greg? What's wrong?"

Greg looked at him helplessly. "I...this is wrong, you're, you're not yourself. We should stop."

"I assure you I'm very much myself," Mycroft countered. He looked at his hand on Greg's arm, "Is my touch unwelcome?"

"Christ no!" Greg told the truth, half to erase that look from Mycroft's face, and half because why the hell not?  Why not finally confess his dogged crush? "Anything but," Greg told him, looking deep into Mycroft's grey-blue eyes. They were soft and slightly worried. They didn't look fogged or confused. "If I had my way, we'd keep on touching each other and probably not stop for hours. But Mycroft..." he let his eyes soften, brought a tender hand up to cup the younger man's cheek in his palm. "Like it or not, you're flying high on pills right now and you're not yourself. What kind of arsehole would I be to take advantage of you?" 

"I'd counter that I am very much myself," Mycroft told him, "but I know that stubborn look of honour very well. I won't shift your mind, will I?"

"No," Greg agreed smiling. It was a sad smile. Mycroft might want him now but come morning and clarity, and he'd be horror-stricken to think that he'd behaved with so little dignity, had acted this way, and with ordinary Greg Lestrade at that. "Now...tea? Then how about I get you settled in the lounge--or wherever you're most comfy--and I'll order in a curry for you."

"Cuddling?" Mycroft's hopeful look was damned hard to resist. Greg ruthlessly squashed the inner teenager howling to be allowed to indulge in this brief opportunity to have a little much-desired closeness with the man he'd been crazy about for years.

"No cuddling," he said, striving for a tone blending lightness and firmness. Judging by Mycroft's drooping lips, he'd done pretty well. "I'll have lunch with you though."

"Didn't you eat already?" Mycroft asked rather vaguely, wandering over to a cupboard and rummaging within. Greg came up behind him and spied the tea things. 

"I can always eat again," Greg assured him, readying the kettle. "Vending machine tuna sandwich is never going to stop me from having a couple of samosas and some Dopiaza." The words 'vending machine tuna' seemed to sober Mycroft, who gaped at him in horror. Greg grinned. 

Tea and food seemed to steady Mycroft, but he was pleasantly relaxed still. He'd shed his power suit for flannel pyjamas which Greg was very seriously counseling himself to forget about, swathed himself in a blanket, and was half-asleep on Greg's shoulder. There was a certain quiet domesticity to the scene; plates on the low coffee table, an old episode of Vicar of Dibley playing on the telly, Mycroft's head on Greg's shoulder, his soft breathing sliding towards sleep. Greg hated to give it up; it was physically painful to think about leaving. "Mycroft," he finally said, voice soft, "I should go...why don't you go upstairs and get into bed?"

"'ll you join me?" Mycroft mumbled, snuggling closer.

"Can't," Greg whispered, nudging his shoulder, "C'mon, mate, up and at 'em." With some coaxing and a bit of gentle bullying, Greg managed to move Mycroft upstairs and manoeuvre him onto his huge bed. The bedroom, like the lounge, was warmer, more personal than the rest of the house, and Greg avoided looking too closely. This day was going to leave an emotional scar as it was. No use being a masochist. 

Soft, warm and rumpled as a cozy bed on a lazy Saturday morning, Mycroft laid down, eyes huge. His lips were pink, his hair softly disordered, and Greg's heart squeezed painfully. "Will you at least kiss me goodbye?"

Christ. Christ. "Mycroft..." 

"I know this doesn't mean to you what it does to me," Mycroft said softly, sounding sad. "But just one last kiss...please, Greg?"

Greg clenched his hands together, eyes blurring as he looked down at the carpet. Finally he looked up at Mycroft, eyes wet. "I dunno if you'll recall any of this tomorrow...but I want you to know it does mean something to me, Mycroft. It means everything. I wish like hell this was real, that you wanted this, wanted me." He hurried on, not wanting to hear Mycroft's empty assurances. "But I have to tell you now while I have the chance, that I'm crazy about you. Always have been." He laughed wetly, "And yeah, I'll kiss you goodbye. Because I'm weak and sad and I know in the morning if you remember any of this, it will be with disgust." 

Mycroft's objection--if it was an objection, was smothered by the hot press of Greg's lips on his. He whimpered into Greg's mouth, sinking back onto his pillows, dragging Greg with him. Greg retained enough self-control to keep one foot on the ground, to not totally fall into the bed, into Mycroft. Pouring himself, all of his pent-up longing and heartache into the kiss, Greg framed Mycroft's dear face in his hands and drank in the needy gasp, the damp, panted breaths. It was so fucking easy to kiss him, to get lost in the sensation. Finally he eased away, tears glossing his eyes. Mycroft looked wrecked, face flushed, hair standing wildly from the plunge of Greg's hands through it. His eyes were closed, but at last he blinked them open and stared at Greg, dazed, "Gregory..."

"Goodbye, Mycroft," heart aching, Greg let himself out.

Chapter Text

Mycroft woke with a fuzzy headache, the dry, objectionable taste in his mouth as if he’d chewed on a homeless cat in his sleep, and a feeling that he’d done something dreadful. 

 

Groaning like an old house settling, Mycroft managed to push himself up onto one elbow and fumble on the bedside table for his buzzing mobile. Dear Lord, what had he done last night to warrant this beastly hangover? Drinking to excess was not a habit of his--no matter how strenuously Sherlock might push him toward it--and it certainly wasn’t an action he’d take on a Thursday night. Squinting against the glare of the screen, he tapped his passcode in and answered the line; it was Anthea.

 

“Good to know you survived the night, sir.”

 

“Hng,” Mycroft answered elegantly. His mouth was unbearably dry and tacky, and it took some effort to pry his lips apart. Gratefully, he spied a bottle of water on the bedside table. Next to a bottle of prescription painkillers, mild, but effective. “Wha’appened?” 

 

Despite his sticky-mouthed mumble, she understood him. “You unwisely ingested three Xanax along with a quantity of excellent whisky, and insulted the Prime Minister.”

 

“Which one?” Mycroft asked, having unglued his mouth with a greedy gulp of water.

 

“The current one. Sir.”

 

Blessed hell. “To his face?”

 

“Not as such. But there were witnesses.”

 

“How bad is it?” Good Christ, why did they have to make all bottles child-proof nowadays? Let the blighters at the drugs, thin the herd. Resisting the urge to throw the bottle of painkillers across the room, Mycroft gave up trying to open it and laid his heavy head down on the pillow. “Am I still employed?”

 

“I’ve poured oil on the choppy waters, threatened the appropriate quarters and offered several favours for you to fulfill later.”

 

“Glorious,” Mycroft groaned, laying the back of one hand over his eyes. 

 

“There’s more.”

 

Of course there was.

 

“Before I took your mobile away you managed to put a strain on British-American relations, made a prank call to The Sun, and attempted to have two hundred unspeakably disgusting pizzas delivered to Number Ten.”

 

“The Doctor?” Mycroft asked with faint hope.

 

Anthea’s tone was dry enough to spontaneously catch fire, “Downing Street.”

 

“Thank you for absconding with my mobile.” Mycroft paused, brain moving sluggishly. This was why he hated to give in to his need for the assistance of pharmaceuticals. “Why is it here, now?”

 

“I checked on you this morning,” she explained, “thought I’d best make sure you were still breathing and hadn’t decided to put on a spectacle somewhere public, where I would be unable to mitigate the damage.”

 

“Thank you for the painkillers and water,” Mycroft said, “and for saving my arse--though it sounds as if you bought my reprieve at the cost of my future comfort.”

 

“You rather brought that on yourself,” she pointed out, relentlessly cheerful. “You’re the one who thought three Xanax in one day was a jolly good idea.”

 

“I suppose you must be commended for removing me from the danger of doing irreparable harm,” Mycroft allowed, reaching for the bottle again. “Remind me of this when it comes time for your performance review.”

 

“I’ve already submitted my review, and you’ve been most complimentary, and thank you for the generous raise.” Her tone was smug, “Janelle and I are looking forward to using the money to go to The Maldives for our anniversary.”

 

Mycroft closed his eyes, “You don’t actually need me, do you?”

 

“Not as such, no.”

 

 As he struggled with the bottle cap--and the knowledge of his uselessness--Mycroft felt the nagging sense return that he’d done something regrettable. Hearing about his reckless political hijinks should have quieted that inner voice, and yet he was left feeling out of sorts. “Is that the worst of it?”

 

The slight pause preceding her reply made the flesh on his neck prickle uneasily. “Since I was unable to attend to your compromised state myself, I called in reserves.” Pause. Ye gods, no pausing! “Inspector Lestrade escorted you home.”

 

“Anthea--”

 

“You were...effusive.”

 

Clutching desperately at the wretched bottle, Mycroft asked, “In my praise of the execution of his duties?”

 

“More like praise for his beauty.”

 

“Shit.”

 

Her silence resounded with agreement. For a moment they breathed down the phone at one another. “Did I say anything particularly terrible?” Please say no.

 

“Not terrible as such.”

 

Thank Heavens.

 

“You did call him darling, though.”

 

Anthea! Lead with that, you horrible creature. “I did what?” Mycroft breathed. The gooseflesh had swept his entire body. He was gripped by a fierce desire to remain cloistered in his room until the end of time. He had enough money to become as mad and eccentric as Miss Havisham. Gracious, he could achieve Howard Hughes-levels in the realm of hermits. Anything rather than have to face Greg Lestrade knowing that he’d called him darling.

 

“You may also have intimated that you wished to have carnal knowledge of his body.”

 

“What?!” Mycroft clutched at his head, the sound of his own shriek reverberating painfully in his skull.

 

“More than intimated...you may have outright told him you wanted to, erm, ‘wile away the afternoon’ in bed.”

 

Whimpering, any hopes of one day inviting the Inspector for a collegial drink, purely to spend a little platonic time with the man he’d been quietly yearning after for twelve years, Mycroft dropped his mobile from numb fingers. Hiding under his pillow was not a useful or productive means of dealing with his impending complete and utter humiliation, but right now it felt really, really good.

 

Eventually he emerged, mostly because he really needed the toilet, and ignored his problems further by nudging his phone oh so casually under his duvet on his way out of bed. Anthea, as had been strongly suggested by recent events, was more than capable of carrying on in his absence, and he thought if ever events warranted hooky, this was one occasion on which he was going to pout and brood and hide from the world as flamboyantly as ever his pestilent younger brother had done.

 

Bladder blessedly empty, Mycroft soaked a flannel in cold water for his temples, finally managed to wrangle open the bloody painkillers, washed two down with the last of his bottle of water, and crawled miserably back into bed. If he accidentally-on-purpose kicked his mobile onto the floor, well, there was no one around to call him on his cowardice.



*******



Only well after teatime did Mycroft find it in himself to wander downstairs in search of food. Opening his usually pristinely empty fridge, he was confronted by the unexpected sight of neatly stowed takeaway containers. Blinking, he wondered if in his confused state the day before he had ordered in. What a lot of food he’d gotten; apparently mixing pills and alcohol lowered his usual sensible approach when it came to eating. There was enough here for two people and plenty left over.

 

Wrapping two samosas in a sheet of kitchen roll, he warmed them in the microwave while waiting for the kettle to boil. A strong cup of tea, a bite to eat in front of the telly, and then he’d shower and attend to his emails. His favourite mug was in the draining rack, alongside another, and he paused, wondering. Maybe he had offered Greg tea before suggesting they begin the ravishment. Hot-faced, he stuck the other mug deep in the back of the cupboard and prepared his tea.

 

The lounge was much as usual, but he stopped just over the threshold, aware that something was off. His chenille blanket was crumpled in the middle of the sofa, all of the throw cushions gathered at one end. Had he fallen asleep there and then stumbled upstairs to bed later?

 

Settling himself, Mycroft picked up the remote, which was on the coffee table, not the end table where he normally left it. The television sprang to life, the Blu-ray player was on, and he realized there was a disc in the player. Pressing the menu, he recognized his favourite episode of the Vicar of Dibley was queued up. Looking around the room, vague memories slotting into place, Mycroft abruptly lost his appetite. 

 

Setting aside his plate, he sat cross-legged, cradling his mug for comfort, and closed his eyes, slipping into his memory bank. Sherlock, in typical drama queen fashion, flamboyantly referred to it as his Mind Palace, but Mycroft wasn’t so florid. He preferred to think of it as a vault, carefully curated. It was his habit to weed out the superfluous ephemera that collected, like dust bunnies under the bed. Sweep out the bits of junk and leave room for the truly important. 

 

Sinking into his thoughts, Mycroft began to pick through the day before. Drugs (or stimulants or depressants of any kind) certainly had an effect on the clarity of his memories, and it was a major reason he abstained. Sherlock, sadly, did not feel the same, which had always been a major point of contention between them. Not only did it endanger his brother’s health, his continued existence, it also imperiled the brilliant mind which was (nearly) unparalleled. Mycroft shrank from the thought of losing his intellect, which was so very much a part of his identity. Consequently he didn’t normally find his thoughts and memories in a jumble. 

 

Sorting the threads of known facts from possible fabrication, he began to weave a scene which startled him in its implications. 



*******



Contrary to some people’s belief, Mycroft didn’t always wear his bespoke suits and polished Oxfords. On his days off, or while at home, he relaxed his style--and he still considered it style. A cashmere jumper and cords or trousers were comfortable yet smart, and drew a line between home and the world at large.

 

Today, despite being unchained from duty, Mycroft chose to armour himself in his most severe suit, softening it however, with a positively frivolous waistcoat he’d never dared to wear, and a lilac-coloured tie. Avoiding his anxious eyes in the mirror as he adjusted the half-Windsor knot, Mycroft breathed slowly and with purpose, as his long-abandoned therapist had advised. The stress of what he was about to do cried out for pharmaceutical aid, but he staunchly ignored the siren call. Pills, after all, were what had gotten him into this. Well, his abuse thereof, but still. For this he had a strange urge to go in unaided. 

 

As his driver pulled up to the kerb outside Greg’s building, Mycroft curled his fingers around the malacca handle of his umbrella and steeled himself for the encounter ahead. “Thank you, Raoul,” he spoke through the intercom system, “If you’ll wait for me here, I shouldn’t be more than half an hour.” If that, he reflected gloomily, thinking that he could well be departing in short order, tail between his legs, burning with humiliation.

 

With anxiety-fired energy, Mycroft swiftly mounted the stairs to the third floor. He swallowed against the emotion rising on agitated wings in his chest as he approached Greg’s door. If hope was a feathered thing that lived in one’s breast, then his hope was rather wildly trying to escape. Suppressing the desire to flee, he knocked smartly on the door; little point in delaying the inevitable. Man is only great when he acts from passion; Disraeli’s words ran through his head, a reassuring litany he could draw courage from. As he heard the indistinct sound of Greg’s voice from the other side of the door, Mycroft drew in one last steadying breath and squared his shoulders.

 

Greg’s face was a picture of surprise; clearly he’d not expected to see Mycroft. “My--Mr Holmes.”

 

The little stumble over his name made something fragile awaken in Mycroft’s heart. Breathing out shakily, he tried for a smile, “Greg...may I come in?”

 

Mutely Greg stepped back, holding wide the door. The flat was unprepossessing, but not impersonal. An obviously second-hand sofa, a newish flat-screen, a mess of paperbacks and automotive magazines on the coffee table, a trail of socks which Greg was sweeping red-faced under the sofa with one bare foot. Mycroft’s heart gave an affectionate squeeze. 

 

For all his resolve, Mycroft stood mute. It was frighteningly difficult to begin. So much hinged on his words, and how Greg took them.

 

“You...alright?” Greg inquired cautiously, before Mycroft could find it in himself to speak. 

 

“Clear-headed,” Mycroft answered, fingers curling around his umbrella handle. He’d debated leaving it in the car, only he had been afraid he’d fidget, as he was sometimes prone to do. “I...I’ve come to extend my apologies.”

 

Greg’s eyes were hard to read, but his mouth pinched slightly. “Nothing to apologize for.”

“On the contrary,” Mycroft forced himself to say, “I spent some time last night, reviewing what I recall of Thursday, and I owe you an apology for dragging you from your office to look after me.”

 

Greg’s shoulders seemed to sag ever so slightly. “You don’t remember what happened?”

 

“I’ve recovered most of it, I believe,” Mycroft said carefully. Moistening his lips, he continued, “This is...terribly awkward, but I think it needs to be said. I revealed to you--rather unequivocally--my feelings regarding you. If my memories aren’t compromised it seems to me that you...that you might return them?”

 

Greg’s lashes swept down, shielding his eyes, and his chest rose and fell, revealing his agitation. “Mycroft…”

 

Heart leaping at the inherent intimacy of his given name on Greg’s lips, and all it implied, Mycroft took a half-step forward, hope now beating enthusiastic wings against his ribcage. “Do please, tell me if I’m wrong, and tell me now, before I make even more of an unmitigated arse out of myself than I already have.”

 

“Not sure I’d say unmitigated,” Greg countered, looking up through his lashes and quite devastating Mycroft’s already shaky composure.

 

“No?” Mycroft hooked his umbrella over the back of the sofa and reached for Greg’s hand, which came out to meet his. Optimism was breeding quite unrestrainedly in his heart now. “I suppose my actions might seem excusable if, say, you returned my feelings?”

 

“Can’t you tell?” Greg asked, raising his chin and looking at him directly now, the unconscious coyness melting away. His vulnerability shown through, and Mycroft put both hands around Greg’s, heart pounding. “Can’t you read it on me?”

 

“Emotions compromise my ability, and I’d-I’d rather hear from you. If I didn’t already make it painfully clear, Greg, I have long harboured feelings for you, and it’s my dearest wish that you might feel some measure of affect--” he stumbled, swallowed, corrected baldly, “I’ve fallen rather stupendously for you and haven’t really dared let myself imagine you ever feeling the same. But that kiss…”

 

“Thought it was my one and only chance,” Greg admitted, low and hoarse. His lashes spiked damply, eyes glittering as they searched Mycroft’s face. “Thought you were off your tits, to be honest, just...didn’t imagine you could really feel something for me.”

 

Hands shaking, Mycroft drew him into his arms, heart singing as Greg came willingly, beloved face alight with a blazing smile. The kiss was perfect, a delicate thing that blossomed swiftly into passion and longing. His heart thundered in his chest, matched by the powerful thud of Greg’s beating out an answering welcome. One of Greg’s hands smoothed up his back under his jacket, anchoring him warmly, holding him close. When they finally broke apart to breathe, Greg’s face shone as brightly as the sun, shedding welcome warmth on Mycroft, thawing him to his toes. The last of his reserve melted away and he pressed his forehead to Greg’s, “I’ve spent the last decade imagining this and dear God not one of my daydreams matched the reality.”

 

“Same,” Greg whispered shakily, sliding his other hand up to cup the back of Mycroft’s head. His face was almost shy, “‘s it really been that long for you?”

 

“Almost since the beginning,” Mycroft said, then kicked himself. It would be more romantic, if not truthful, to say it’d been love at first sight. Truly though, he’d thought the man ordinary, tired, overworked, and the sort of handsome which would age well but hardly touch him aside from a sort of aesthetic appreciation. How wrong he’d been!

 

“Not the very beginning?” Greg teased, mouth curving. “The sight of me up for thirty-six hours and bawling your brother out didn’t capture you immediately?”

 

“You did make an impression,” Mycroft parried gently. He wanted to ask what Greg had thought of him, how long he’d harboured feelings, but it felt needy.

 

“Fair enough,” Greg said easily, linking his arms around Mycroft’s waist and pulling him to stand snugly between his thighs as he leaned against the back of the sofa. “I thought you were a posh twat, so there’s that.”

 

“Oh.”

 

“Then I thought you were good-looking, arrogant and probably human underneath all that dignity and cutting words, if only because I saw how much you loved Sherlock.” Greg’s thumb rubbed soothingly at Mycroft’s spine. “Not sure when I started loving you...just knew I was glad to see you when you showed up, ‘stead of annoyed.”

 

“I used to spend the drive to your crime scene or the Yard, lecturing myself not to become lost in your eyes, not to purposefully say things to make you smile.” Mycroft touched Greg’s lips, smiling at him, “Your smile is...calamitous to my sanity.”

 

“This old thing?” Greg smiled at him, slow and mischievous, eyes impossibly sparkling.

 

“Don’t trifle with your power, sir,” Mycroft reproved, smiling back. “All of Whitehall would tremble if they knew the power you wield over me.”

 

“Promise to behave…” Greg murmured, stretching up for a kiss, “Well, mostly…”