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The Next Step

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There came a point in your life when living in London meant that you didn’t really hear the rain anymore, where the droplets splattering on the window didn’t rouse you from your slumber. Greg was certain, as a result, that the mild downpour on this April evening wasn’t what had roused him from his sleep.

For several moments, he remained where he was, warm under the duvet, feet gently tangled with his partner’s. His eyes blinked a few times in bleary sleepiness, but he could already feel the weight of slumber slipping free of his body. Nearly silent in his sigh, he slipped from the bed, feet sliding into slippers. He reached for his robe, wrapping it around himself and cinching the belt tightly.

Brown eyes glanced over to his sleeping companion, who did not stir. Good, he wouldn’t want to wake him before such an important day. Greg couldn’t help smiling softly as he looked at Mycroft’s sleeping form, but he restrained himself to a few moments. Being watched was a sure way to wake Mycroft from even the deepest of slumber. Instead, the detective left the bedroom quietly and made his way down to the kitchen.

The process of making a cup of tea was one that Greg could do reasonably in his sleep, waiting for the warm liquid to wake him up, but for now his movements were sure, steady. He waited in stillness for the tea to steep, then took his delicate cup to the window. No more beakers and chipped cups for him. Now he drank from china so thin that light penetrated the sides. The chair he stroked was not the sort of recliner he would usually gravitate towards but an antique- though of what era, he wasn’t sure.

He wasn’t sure about a lot in this house, he realized. Nearly every item seemed so far out of his world that it was just about alien. For weeks, he had found himself reluctant to sit in any of the furniture, hesitant to use any of the items. Mycroft, though. He fit into his own house like the last piece of a puzzle. The building nearly heaved a sigh when he settled in. There, that fits, it would seem to say.

At least the tea was strong, he mused to himself, sipping carefully. His lover, ever consumed in the details, had stocked a few of Greg’s favorite blends and always made sure to have real cream on hand rather than milk. Amazing how he could see that. Frightening how he always seemed to know.

One hand pressed against the cool glass of the window as Greg exhaled, the breath too heavy to be a sigh. Tomorrow was such a big day, something so much more than he could possibly begin to wrap his mind around. No wonder he couldn’t sleep, weather be damned. He watched as the droplets slowly slid down the window and allowed himself that awful moment of wondering if he was doing the right thing.

“Gregory.” Mycroft’s hand settled on his lower back, warm even through the thick fabric of his robe. He hadn’t heard the other man come in at all, yet he was right there, a steady presence.

Greg couldn’t look away from the rain. Not right now, not with all of these thoughts in his head and likely on his face. There was no way he’d show that to the man he loved. “Couldn’t sleep,” he offered instead. “Made a full pot, if you’re interested.”

“I might,” Mycroft agreed, instead stepping closer into Greg’s personal space. “I wonder if there might be something you’d like to talk about. Given what tomorrow is…” He didn’t have to spell it out. The detective knew just where he was going with that thought.

Brown eyes stared hard out the window, taking in the perfectly manicured lawn, the neat rows of flowers, the sturdy brick wall surrounding the property. “You ever get the feeling like reality… isn’t?” he asked softly. “Like in a few moments, you’ll just wake up and find out that the last however long was the most intricate dream you’ve ever had and you’re in that empty flat, still unable to take your wedding ring off.”

Now, Mycroft’s hand slid along Greg’s back until it reached the hip and curled around. In seconds, the country’s most powerful man was pressed against his back, holding him softly. “Is that the fear you have now?” he asked softly.

Greg scoffed. “No, actually. I don’t think my brain would come up with some of the shite that we’ve gone through. But…” His teeth dug into his lower lip, worrying it. “This isn’t my first. I spent years of my life in what I thought was happiness only for it to fall apart in my hands. I know at least part of it was my fault- mostly the job, if I’m honest. Which means, if this fails too, I’m going to be fucking up in brand new ways that I can’t even begin to prepare for.”

Soft lips brushed over the nape of his neck. “I can’t say I entirely understand,” the freckled man began apologetically. “I’ve got complete and utter faith in you. I never would have asked that we take this step if I didn’t think that you were the absolute best partner for me in this.” Slowly, he turned Greg around so that they could face each other. “You know how difficult emotions can be for me to express, but this also has logic to it. Both of our jobs are massively demanding, so the time issue would have come up sooner if it was going to be something. You care about your job more than most, which I find an admirable trait, and given that I have been exposed to the same sort of issues in the past, your ‘bringing home your work’ as you call it is never a bad thing.”

It drew a laugh from Greg. “Should have seen the look on Sherlock’s face the first time I brought a solution to a crime scene from you just based on my bitching.” He was rewarded with one of those mildly smug smiles that he really enjoyed on Mycroft; they revealed a playfulness that most didn’t notice. “No different, huh? Just us together, in love. A bit of jewelry and ceremony.”

“I wouldn’t say that,” Mycroft disagreed. “But does it change how well we work together? How happy we are? No. Marrying you tomorrow is something that I cannot wait to do.” Reaching up, he took the cup of tea from Greg’s hand and set it on a nearby table before taking both hands into his. “Come on. I can think of one lovely way to completely exhaust you to the point of sleep.” With that, he drew Greg upstairs.