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Bowled Over

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It's a Thursday evening, hardly calculated to be the busiest of nights, but the pub is packed. Maybe it's a posh boy thing, Lestrade hypothesizes as he elbows his way through the throng of chinless wonders. Still, company is what he wanted: to lose himself in the anonymity of the crowd. There’s a crash and tinkle of broken glass from the bar and he winces as a raucous cheer from the lads turns into some fucking Bullingdon club chant. He can’t imagine any of these Oxbridge wankers darkening the door of the Hat & Feathers he thinks with a snort of derision.

Thinking of his local is a mistake; It reminds him he isn’t in Ealing, which makes him think of why he isn’t in Ealing, which makes him bitter, which defeats the whole purpose of coming out tonight, namely to stop brooding on that cheating bint and their trainwreck of a marriage. He is well shot of her; he needs to get on with his life.

Lestrade sighs, searching the room for some oasis of quiet to no avail. He could give up - neck his pint and head back to his cousin’s flat - but the vision of himself, sitting in his pants on the sofa of Bill’s empty flat, drunk on cheap whiskey, is just depressing, so he hardens his resolve and pushes his way towards the rear of the trés luxe St. Swithin’s Arms. He’s not going to move on if all he does it sit at home and mope. If moping is to be done, he will do it in public so he can at least pretend he isn’t a sad, antisocial sod.

It is quieter once he’s made his way round the bar. The room opens up into the typical gastropub clutch of oaken tables and mismatched chairs, with the odd leather club thrown in to lend an air of ‘whimsy’. The pub is quite a nice space, Lestrade isn’t too proud to admit, with exposed brick walls and a clever faux tin ceiling; at least the, quote, ‘extensive list of microbrews and local guest ales’ means he’s got a proper pint, even if it did cost him a bloody fortune.

While he can move now without fearing for his pint, there still doesn’t seem to be a space for him to sit; all the tables are packed with bloody Hooray Henrys and their shiny-maned Sloany girlfriends. Fucking Kensington he thinks not for the first time this evening. Why couldn’t his relative with the conveniently empty flat live somewhere normal, like Walthamstow? Granted, there probably aren’t too many internationally based investment bankers with crash pads in Walthamstow, but it seems a sight more real than this rarified world of SW-whatever.

He’s worked his way right to the back by the loos and is about to give up when he notices a little snug tucked into the dim crook of the far back corner, just a pair of handsome leather wingbacks set in front of a decommissioned grate. His luck, Lestrade thinks, has bloody well changed, because one of the armchairs is free - seemingly the sole empty chair in the room - and the other...The other is occupied by a very tall drink of ginger beer. And fuck, but Lestrade is thirsty.

From this angle his impression is mostly of a fine-boned aquiline profile, miles of leg, and neatly combed-back auburn hair which glints copper when it catches the light. He’s dressed in what is clearly a bespoke navy three-piece, though he has discarded the jacket in deference to the casual nature of the pub, and Lestrade’s mind is filled with visions of how he could help divest him of the rest. It’s been years since Greg last had a bloke, but he is more than happy to break his fast on this delectable creature who couldn’t be more his type if he came gift-wrapped.

Greg sends up a quick prayer of thanks to the god of horny divorced coppers that he had bothered to put on a vaguely presentable outfit before heading out, then saunters over to the snug with a carefully casual strut. “Sorry, mate, but is this seat taken?” He asks, and it's all he can do to keep his patented pulling smile in place when the bloke glances up at him with keen, searching eyes the colour of a stormy sea.

“Please, be my guest,” Ginger offers with an expansive gesture.

“Ta,” Lestrade returns, ratcheting the pulling smile up a notch. “Busy tonight,” he remarks, plopping into the wingback.

“Well, the Ashes are on,” his companion replies, and Lestrade can’t stifle his groan.

“Not a fan?” Ginger asks, one brow quirked.

“The Ashes is only a question how bad we lose to the Aussies, innit? ‘Sides, s’not really a proper sport, Cricket; bunch of poncy blokes in white prancing about a field, waiting for the tea interval. Naw, gimme a football match any day.” Ginge is looking at him with a glint of amusement in his eyes, and Lestrade experiences a sudden sinking feeling in his gut. “Fuck. You play cricket, don’t you? Probably captain of the first-fucking-XI at fucking Eton, wasn’t you?”

Ginger is full on grinning now and Lestrade’s stomach sinks even lower, because, as if it were possible, he looks even more gorgeous when he smiles, with a blush to his milky cheeks and little wrinkles round his eyes which Lestrade longs to lean in and kiss.

“Hardly. And it was Harrow, not Eton.”

“Potato, locally-sourced, organically grown, heritage breed potahto.”

Ginge bursts into laughter, throwing his head back in a movement which shakes free a cheeky little curl from his carefully styled fringe, and Lestrade is positive he will be wanking to that for months.

Before he can properly gather his thoughts, Sexy Ginger is extending his hand towards him. “Mycroft. Mycroft Holmes.”

“Greg Lestrade,” he offers in return. His blunt copper’s fingers close all too briefly around long, pampered digits, and he can’t help but imagine what it would feel like to have those strong, elegant fingers on various other parts of his anatomy.

“You were a sportsman yourself, I presume. Though not football...Rugby captain?”

“Well spotted.” Lestrade raises his glass in salute. “Saw Kingsfield Comp to their first ever championship.”

“Which helped you to your place at Hendon.”

Lestrade choked on his pint. “How’d you know about that?”

“Forgive me.” The smile drops from Ginge’s - Mycroft’s - face, and Greg would do anything to bring it back. “It’s a bad habit of mine, deducing people.”

“S’alright.” Lestrade reassures him, and of its own volition his free hand is snaking out to cover Mycroft’s where it rests on the arm of his chair, slipping their fingers together. “Just surprised me is all.”

Mycroft is staring intently at their conjoined hands, but he isn’t pulling away, so Lestrade ventures to ask in a voice which is admirably steady given how he’s thrumming with desire and anticipation, “What else can you deduce about me?”

Mycroft's gaze flicks up to his, and the heat in it instantly has not-so-little Greg perking up to attention. “A very great deal, Detective Sergeant.”

And at that, Lestrade is well and truly fucked.

Mycroft downs his own pint in one decisive move and stands, giving their joined hands a little tug. “Come along, Sergeant. Grab my coat - you’ve pulled.”

Lestrade practically leaps to his feet, catching up Mycroft’s jacket from the back of the chair. “Get in!” he growls, slipping his arm round Mycroft’s waist as they push their way to the door, the sound of leather on willow echoing at them from the big screens as they pass. Sliding a hand down to seize a handful of luscious ginger arse (and, not having been able to establish the quality of said arse while the owner was seated, Greg can now say that it comes as a very pleasant bonus indeed) Lestrade feels alive for the first time since the split. He may not be a cricketer, but he sure can bowl them over.