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Voyeur (English Version)

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Bristling in anger, Mycroft Holmes slams the door of the small room behind him, tears off his jacket and hangs it on a hook on the wall. With a snarl, he loosens his tie, pulls it over his head and stuffs it into his suit pocket. In a flurry of fingers, he unbuttons his waistcoat, folds it up and places it on the small side table under the coat hanger. When he releases the top two buttons of his shirt from the eyelets, he exhales loudly. It is the first time that day he can really catch his breath. He instantly feels the tension in his shoulders slip away in a tingle down his limbs as if he's been harnessed with a heavy burden all day.

He did not want to spend another moment in his office. He did not want to look any more into the emotionless faces of the clerks and endure their trivial ramblings. The strain it causes is mercilessly pushed into a corner of his mind, ready to strike out and take everything it can grab into the abyss with him. But he cannot go that far. Under no circumstances can he allow his laboriously constructed façade to crack, for his credibility to be questioned, for his inner fragility to be perceived. He has had to fight against it every day.

A man in his position is unable to live a life other than this harsh reality. At every turn pursued by countless pairs of eyes that dissect, analyse and assess him. No misstep is allowed, because it would be the last step of his career. And yet, he is only human. Without a doubt, he, Mycroft Holmes, better than anyone else could, manages to shed his humanity and become what the Queen and Country need. A machine. A man of ice. A head that is not tied down by the base needs of the body.

Only here, in this small room, does Mycroft succeed in escaping these self-imposed constraints for a short period of time. Only in here, locked in by himself, set apart from the rest of the world, can he allow himself to be human. Unseen, he can climb from the underground garage into a private elevator and come straight to this room. Almost lovingly, he lets his gaze wander around the small room. Around this other dimension that surrounds him like an eggshell. Four walls, one door, five square meters of freedom. Black damask and red carpet.

On the wall opposite the door is a desk, in front of it a comfortable high-backed armchair with a swivelling foot. Mycroft sits down, braces his arms on the sides, and leans his fingertips together. Thoughtfully, he looks at the four black monitors that cover the wall behind the desk, enjoying the moment of silence, the subliminal anticipation. He turns on the screens via a table top console. The lobby, the bar, one of the corridors and a deserted room are on display, the image crystal clear. The system is set to broadcast and every ten seconds the images change to another location, showing guests and employees.

The monitor on the lower left jumps back into the empty room, but the picture blurs until it is completely unrecognizable. A poison green 44 appears in the middle. Mild interest makes Mycroft grab for the tablet, which is located next to the keyboard. He skims over the schedule of this evening. Guests who have special requests usually call beforehand to forward their wishes to the staff. These can be requests regarding the room, the equipment or a particular fantasy. Such bookings are already listed in the calendar so guests know what to expect.

However, it is possible that someone will spontaneously come in and book a room. These appointments are immediately added by the staff in the calendar and so, are visible to the users on the tablet. Room 44 is a standard room, simply furnished with a double bed and adjoining bathroom. No noteworthy extras. Without much expectation, Mycroft confirms appointment 44 and activates the lower left screen.

A young couple in their mid-twenties has already arrived in the room. Laughing and snogging, they stumble towards the bed and fall into it. Mycroft turns on the sound for this screen and leans back, watching the exuberant scene with mild interest. After only a few seconds, the man's hands have disappeared under the woman's blouse, who giggles excitedly.

"You mean someone is looking at us right now?" she asks in a mixture of nervousness and excitement, biting expectantly on her lip. Her partner laughs, a bit unsettled and nods. Sexual adventure to revive their relationship. His idea, or hers? They slide over the bed so they can both lean back against the headboard.

"Look, there's a camera," says the man, pointing to the left of the bed, "and there's another." This time he points directly at Mycroft, whose eyebrows rise. This couple is obviously here for the first time. Curious, looking for an adventure. Unreliable. Such people often tend to back down at the last moment, because in the end, it is too scary to be watched by someone they cannot see for themselves. They never see you. Gritting his teeth, Mycroft watches as the woman stands on the mattress and reaches for a camera which is attached over the headboard, and waves her hand in front of it.

"Hello! Is there someone in there? Yoohoo! Can you see me?!"

Her laugh is vapid and her attempt to compress her breasts to give the audience what she thinks is a provocative look falls flat. Mycroft sighs, rolls his eyes and turns off the sound. Once again, he picks up the tablet and, hoping to get another chance, flies over the rest of the evening's appointments should that couple prove utterly useless.

In an hour, a woman has registered for a room equipped with various toys from the BDSM area. He has known the name she has given herself for some time now. Although the lady owns her own establishment, she comes here once a week to play with people of both sexes. In her eyes, this may mean she loses a customer to them, but she might simply like the change of scenery from time to time. Mycroft has no particular interest in her, but memorizes the appointment in case nothing else happens this evening.

His gaze wanders back to the couple in room 44, who have started peeling off each other's clothes. Through their body language and excited faces, Mycroft can tell that their conversation is still about whether they are actually being watched by someone or if it's just a trick. Mycroft gives them another five minutes to blow the whole thing off. Too strange, too weird, too peculiar.

A movement on the lower right screen, which shows the foyer, attracts his attention. He stops his review of the other monitors and looks at the newcomer with mixed feelings. The camera filming the scene is placed diagonally behind the guest, showing a middle-aged man in a grey jacket and black pants. Broad shoulders, straight back, silver-grey hair. Mycroft swallows audibly. This cannot be true. With trembling fingers, he changes the monitor on the bottom left to the foyer, to the camera which is attached behind the employee at the counter.

Detective Inspector Gregory Lestrade?!

Mycroft turns the sound up. Goosebumps run down his neck, down his back to his toes. What happened? Why the hell is the inspector here? Has there been some incident? Should he get out of here before he becomes involved in things that will inevitably end in disaster? Mycroft struggles to take a deep breath. No, no, it must be something else. Lestrade is not here in an official capacity. No trench coat, no jacket, no police badge. Undercover?

"... for the first time here and am a little nervous. Can you give me some tips?" Lestrade asks calmly. He has one arm on the counter and the other on his hip. Contrary to his words, he is not nervous at all.

"Of course, sir. There is no reason to be nervous. Everything that happens here happens in agreement of all involved. You tell me what you are looking for, and I will do my best to fulfil your wish. If you do not have anything special in mind, you can choose something from our offer." The employee hands Lestrade a tablet and switches it to the menu with a pen, which Mycroft cannot see through the screen. "The green options we can offer you directly, the white options need a little time to prepare, but you can spend the interval waiting in our bar. Unfortunately, we do not offer the red options at this time."

Lestrade hums in understanding and scrolls through the menu.

"Are the events actually recorded?" Lestrade asks a moment later without taking his eyes off the screen.

"Yes, sir, but only for the duration of your stay. Once you leave, the images will be deleted to protect the privacy of our customers. The recording is for security purposes only."

"I understand."

Undeterred, Lestrade studies the offer, tapping a box here and there to read the information below and make his choice. Finally, he straightens up and hands the device back to the employee with a smile. He thanks her and looks at the screen, then nods curtly.

"Thank you, sir. The preparations will take about twenty minutes. Please take a seat at the bar. I will bring you the key when your room is ready."

Lestrade nods and thanks her, goes past the counter into the back of the foyer. Mycroft watches with trepidation every step the inspector takes and follows him across the establishment through the eyes of the various cameras, hardly daring to breathe. Still, an uncertainty about him niggles at the back of his mind that New Scotland Yard has sent one of their best men here to get information for a case. But that is impossible. Mycroft has this facility checked regularly and would be notified immediately if anything was wrong. Does the inspector know something he does not? Is that even possible?

On edge, he watches as Lestrade sits down at the bar and orders something to drink. Moments later, a glass slides over the counter. He takes a sip and lets his eyes slip through the room. Beside himself, there is only one woman in the bar, sitting alone at a table, leafing through a magazine she does not really read. She looks up and her eyes meet those of Lestrade, who smiles in a friendly manner. Is that ... Is this the sort of woman such a man would be interested in?

Mycroft looks back and forth between the two screens, examining their body language. The woman wears a tight red dress that reaches to her knees. She has her legs crossed and slightly bent. The chocolate brown hair curls over her shoulders. Curiosity is written over her face. She leans forward a bit to invite Lestrade to speak to her, but he turns away and looks down at his drink. Maybe she is not his type?

Letting go of the breath he had been holding, Mycroft leans back in his chair. All this excitement plays with his nerves, but it is not half as unpleasant as he first feared. It's more like a kind of fluttering feeling in his stomach, a barely tangible tension he does not know how to classify. Never before has someone he knows come here, or had access to his outrageous private life. He feels caught, insecure and he has to keep reminding himself that Lestrade's presence has nothing to do with Mycroft's tendency to voyeurism. There is nothing that can betray him as long as he stays within these four walls while Lestrade is out there.

Grinding his teeth, Mycroft waits for the moment the employee arrives at the bar and hands Lestrade the key card. Lestrade thanks her with a friendly smile and walks over to the elevator without looking at the woman in the red dress again. Definitely not his type. Mycroft switches to the camera in the elevator. Heart pounding, he chokes as he realizes the lift stops on the same floor he is on. Can he be any more unlucky? Now he really has no choice but to stay here until Lestrade had left the building. In no way can he risk being caught in the corridor.

 

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tbc

 

Chapter Text

The picture switches to the first camera in the hallway. Lestrade checks the number on the key and walks down the red carpet. Mycroft doesn't dare to take a breath. The rooms are soundproof, so that no noise can penetrate from the outside to inside, or from the inside to outside, and yet... Spellbound, he stares at the screen. Lestrade stops in front of Mycroft's door, but turns his back to it and pushes the key card in the device provided for the door opposite.

Exhaling, Mycroft hurriedly switches his screens to display all the cameras in the room on the other side of the hallway, confirming with a pounding heart that he can see all of the interior, he throws himself with a little too much momentum against the backrest of his chair, as if to create some distance between himself and the monitors. His heart beats wildly in his chest, his eyes are burning because he does not dare to blink. His breath stops. His hands folded in front of his lips, his eyes flick from one screen to the next, picking up every detail.

The room is smaller than most – probably one of the cheaper ones – and narrow. The entrance area does not have much more to offer than a coat hook. The dove-blue walls and pale blue curtains plunge the room into a cool twilight. In the middle of the room stands a bed, as usual. The covers are also blue. On both sides is a bedside table. Opposite the bed is another door leading to the mandatory bathroom, and next to it is an elongated chest of drawers. It is relatively dark in the room. Only a tube hidden behind the headboard of the bed throws indirect light into the room and on the dresser is a lamp with a blue shade. The cameras are not affected by the dimness because they automatically switch to night vision mode when lights in the room are switched off.

Mycroft notices all these little things unconsciously, as his eyes are focused on the person on the bed. Like a fly caught in honey, he stares at the naked, crouching figure. Gasping, Mycroft releases the air from his lungs, hot breath blows against his folded fingertips. Is this the wrong room?

The man kneeling on the bed has his back to Lestrade. He lies with his right cheek on the blanket, his face towards the head of the bed. The arms are twisted behind his back and tied with wide leather shackles at the wrists. The position forces him to arch his butt up in the air. A blindfold, just as blue as the rest of the room, is tied around the man’s head. He sucked in a nervous breath as he heard the door catch in the lock. A slight tremor wanders over his taut shoulders, his arched back, his splayed thighs. His erection hangs visibly between his legs, bobbing against the bed’s coverlet.

Mycroft’s gaze flies to Lestrade, who is standing motionless at the door, taking in the image in front of him. Is this a mistake? A misunderstanding? Will he turn around and go back down to the foyer? Complain? Mycroft hopes he leaves and cannot explain why. It would not be the first time he would see two men have sex. In fact, Mycroft does not care who he watches when he comes here. But the idea of watching someone he knows makes him insecure, and this insecurity spreads from his throbbing heart like wildfire, setting all his nerve endings aflame, burning through every fibre of his body. An ominous throb in his groin makes him flinch. What the hell...?!

Sexual arousal is all well and good, but this?! This desire is almost painful and then again not. It's much too sudden to be pleasurable. Maybe it's just a hallucination, a stress symptom.

Mycroft's breathing fails him again as he watches Lestrade take off his grey jacket and hangs it on the hook. No retreat, then. So this is what Lestrade wants: a man bound and bared, defenceless and ready for whatever he intends to do with him. Mycroft swallows convulsively but his throat is parched, he slides back closer to the desk and activates the sound, switching to the various cameras that have been strategically distributed around the bed. Without batting an eyelid, he continues watching as Lestrade fiddles with his belt while slipping out of his shoes, pushing them out of the way with his foot.

The sound of the zipper echoes in Mycroft's small cell, sending goose bumps running all over his body again. Breathless, he continues watching as Lestrade frees his half erect penis from his pants and lazily rubs it a couple of times over, then he puts his large hands on the kneeling man’s lower back. A violent twitch goes through him and a strangled moan escapes his throat. Awkwardly, he shifts his weight a bit, pushes backwards and wriggles his hips in a silent request for contact.

Lestrade’s hands casually stroke the steep curve of the spine, skip the bound forearms and follow the individual vertebrae to the nape of his neck. As he moves forward, his body touches the other's and triggers a voluptuous hiss.

"Greedy," Lestrade says softly. The dark voice comes over the speakers and digs right through Mycroft's eardrum and straight into his groin, vibrating in his centre.

"Please," the man wails from the bed and writhes against his shackles in search of contact, but Lestrade leaves him and steps back. Ignoring the needy sounds from the other man, he unbuttons his shirt, slips out of his pants and socks and throws everything on a chair in the corner. In the nightstand he finds condoms and various tubes of lubricants, which he throws next to the man on the blanket. He takes a black latex glove from the drawer, which he easily slides over his right hand.

Mycroft's eyes wander incessantly over the two bodies, but as Lestrade finally stands naked in the room, the other man fades to nothing. Insatiable, his eyes glide over every muscle, every bone, every curve, sucking in every detail of Lestrade’s body that he can see on the screen. He switches from one screen to the next, watching the man from every angle, studying how his chest lifts and lowers as he breathes, his hands clenching into fists and relaxing again.

Then Lestrade looks into the camera above the bed and Mycroft forgets to breathe. The inspector's brown eyes seem to pierce him, and even though he is aware of the impossibility, it’s as if he sees right through the camera to him.

He cannot see me... he cannot see me... Mycroft keeps telling himself and slowly releases his clenched hands from the armrests. The knowing smile that pulls at Lestrade’s mouth corners almost plunges him into a crisis of self-doubt. He’s just playing with me. With the viewer. He doesn’t know that it is me, may never know that I... Never, never, never...

Lestrade focuses his attention again on the man in front of him. His hands wander over the back of his calves, thighs, over his buttocks and back, flexing his muscles, reaching hard into the skin as if the body beneath him were made of dough. The other man moans, lost, carried away by the rough massage. He arches into Lestrade’s hands, stretching like a cat to get as much of the touch as possible.

"Come on," he complains impatiently and Lestrade mumbles something incomprehensible. He lets go of the man, reaches for the lubricant and squirts some on his gloved right hand. Without hesitating, he spreads it over the man’s puckered opening, triggering a series of sounds somewhere between encouragement and frustration. Determined, he pushes a finger inside, followed soon after by a second, slides them back and forth relentlessly. The other man groans quietly and pushes his hips in the opposite direction to take them deeper with each thrust. The room is silent except for the noises he makes and the slapping sound of flesh on flesh.

Lestrade leans forward, kisses the moist, glistening back and bites into the tense muscles. He is now as hard as the man under him and seems to have forgotten the world around him. He quickly removes his hand. The latex glove makes a smacking sound as he peels it off and carelessly drops it to reach for a condom foil. He tears it open, takes the condom and rolls it over his erection. Roughly he grabs the man's hips and pulls him backwards, closer to his own body. His penis slides between the buttocks, rubbing repeatedly over the bared anus. Again and again. Teasing relentlessly, enticing subdued pleas from his partner.

Mycroft hastily opens his pants, releasing his painfully hard erection and thrusting into his fist before he even realises what he is doing. He cannot remember when he last found it necessary to replace visual arousal with a physical one. Usually, it is enough for him to witness, to bask in the knowledge that the people he's watching do not know who he is. This action in itself is so taboo that he usually feels a wonderful satisfaction afterwards, which a simple masturbation cannot give him. He needs the visual stimulation to feel something. It would be better for him if he could be in the same room as those people, observe them directly, but that is not possible. The walls and the cameras make this whole situation possible while making sure his identity remains secret; concealing the man who sits in his hiding place and feasts on this game of power.

But this time, everything is different. This time, arousal breaks over him like a wave, leaving him with unbridled desire pulsing between his legs and seeking for release, spurred on by the images the cameras have captured. His fingers wrap tightly around his shaft, rub relentlessly over his glistening skin, spreading the drops that collect at the tip over his length. In unison, he moans with the man on the bed as he is being penetrated by Lestrade. Mycroft's heart thumps so loud and heavy in his chest that he thinks it's shattering with every beat. Breathless, his gaze locks on to the rhythm of Lestrade's hip movements. Again and again, he penetrates into the other man’s body, causing it to shake and quake.

On the top right monitor, Mycroft sees Lestrade holding the shackles with one hand and reaching for the man's neck with the other; sees how he pushes him down with his weight, fucks him hard. Lestrade’s loud panting makes Mycroft shudder. Again this ache in his groin, this craving that digs deep into his guts. Desire, unbridled desire to exchange places with that stranger and be at Lestrade’s mercy. The thought is enough to push Mycroft over the edge and lose control. Clenching his teeth and leaning back, he pours himself into his hand.

Panting, he opens his eyes. He had not even realised he had closed them. His gaze lingers on Lestrade's face, marked by exertion. His lips are slightly parted, sweat beads over his forehead. A jolt goes through his body and he tenses. A dark growl struggles out of his throat as he comes and his fingers leave red marks on the man's hip. Breathing heavily, he lingers there until he has gathered his wits, then he reaches for the man’s pelvis and pulls him with him into a sitting position so that he leans against Lestrade’s chest without the bound arms being in the way.

Lestrade grabs him and wraps his hand around the man's reddened erection as he peppers kisses on his neck and shoulders. It does not take long for the other man to moan and come and spread white streaks across his chest. Exhausted, he lets himself roll to the side, keeping some distance between himself and the inspector.

"Get rid of these," he demands and squirms against his shackles. Lestrade complies instantly and removes the leather straps from his wrists. With shaky hands, the man rubs his aching arms and shoulders, but otherwise does not move. "That was... wow... good..." he mumbles. The tone of his voice betrays discomfort, shame.

Lestrade hesitantly slips off the bed and strips off the condom, knots it and bins it near the bedside table. The fact that the other man makes no move to get up or remove the blindfold astonishes him. But ultimately it's about his partner not seeing him. Not even now. The situation leaves a strange aftertaste on Lestrade’s tongue. "I'm going to the bathroom," he says simply and reaches for his belongings, to disappear with them in the adjoining room and quietly shuts the door behind him.

Mycroft watches as the other man pulls the blindfold off his head with a jerk and reaches for paper towels in a dispenser box to clean himself up hastily. He puts on the clothes he has folded next to the bed in a hurry and rushes out of the room before Greg returns.

The four screens go black for a moment, then switch back to the review menu. Irritated, Mycroft reaches for the tablet and tries to switch back to the cameras in the room, but does not succeed. He is aware that the rooms are hidden as soon as one of the partners leaves, but so far he has never cared much. He puts the device back on the table and curses because of the gooey traces he left on the display. With horror, he realises that he has ruined his shirt and pants with his sperm. Cursing, he reaches for paper towels and tries to wipe off the damage. When he is reasonably clean, he leans back in the chair, sighing. His eyes glide aimlessly over the monitors. The foyer is displayed and Mycroft stops the picture. A moment later, the elevator door opens and the man who was with Lestrade comes out.

Without a blindfold or shackles, he looks pretty ordinary. No one to be remembered in the long run, Mycroft thinks. His stomach contracts unpleasantly at the thought that this man left Lestrade behind without waiting to say another word to him. It’s wrong, unfair. He himself couldn’t do that, he tells himself and clenches his hands into fists.

You’re ridiculous, he reminds himself, nothing has changed. You’re still Mycroft Holmes, out of reach of any kind of personal contact. Either people are dangerous to you, or you are dangerous to them. Why do you imagine that it would be different in this case? So stupid, stupid, stupid!

Nonetheless, he patiently waits until Detective Inspector Lestrade leaves the room and zips up his jacket as if he needed the extra barrier between himself and the world. The cameras’ eyes follow him until he leaves the building, then Mycroft finally looks away and sighs, cradling his head in his hands.

 

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tbc

 

Chapter Text

"Damn it, I’ve had it! Do these people have to interfere again and again?!"

Detective Inspector Gregory Lestrade's voice can be heard through the closed door to his office. It takes great restraint for Sergeant Donovan not to put her hands on her ears. Anderson glances out into the hallway through the glass wall and throws her a pitying look. In his hands, two coffee mugs. He had wanted to spend his break with the sergeant, but whether this is still a possibility is questionable.

"Can’t you do anything about it, sir?" Donovan asks with the last spark of hope left to her. For weeks they have been working on the case and now, having to hand it over, she’s just as angry as her boss.

Lestrade looks up and stares at her as if he wanted to hit something. Uncertain, she steps aside and notices that the boss's eyes are not on her, but on the door of the Chief Superintendent's office, which is just opening. The superintendent exits, followed by Mycroft Holmes, who, dressed as usual in his three-piece suit, tucks the mandatory umbrella under his arm. The older Holmes' face is cool and rigid like a mask. Neither triumph nor regret over said case can be detected. Furious, Lestrade dashes around his desk, tears open the glass door, and stalks across the corridor in just a few steps to stop in front of Holmes.

"Do you realise how much work we’ve put into that case?" he hisses and Mycroft wipes his cheek with a handkerchief, annoyed, as if he had to remove saliva. If anything, that gesture only makes Lestrade angrier. Growling, he clenches his hands into fists. His shoulders shake indignantly.

"It's all sorted out, Lestrade!", the superintendent intervenes and steps between the two men. "Mr Holmes has his reasons for pulling us out of the case. It has nothing to do with your work or your team’s. No need to feel so offended." The Chief's voice is full of reproach, as if he's talking to a child, unnecessarily pouring oil on the fire. Only through sheer willpower does Lestrade manage to keep in check and swallow back the insults that burn on the tip of his tongue.

"That's not quite correct, but we'd rather leave it at that," says Mycroft, pushing the handkerchief back into his breast pocket. "In any case, I have not given up hope that New Scotland Yard might one day be able to carry out an undercover operation without blowing it up. Good day, gentlemen." With a smug smile thrown Lestrade's way, Mycroft walks over to the elevators and presses the button. The grip on his umbrella hardens as he hears the guttural growl of the inspector behind him which sends goose bumps coursing down his back. He enters the elevator, turns around and sends one last glance at the small group who are talking loudly. A smile graces his lips as the door closes in front of him.

Yes, it's true that New Scotland Yard screwed up the operation, but there was no need to put on this show to get them off the case. In fact, one of the criminals was a man MI6 had been looking for, so the file would definitely have landed on Mycroft's table sooner or later. The abduction of the son of the bank director was quite incidental. Not even his brother wanted to accept this case because it did not reach a three on the imaginary adrenaline scale Sherlock liked so much. The chaos that erupted when the undercover agent was exposed actually helped MI6 create a diversion at the right moment to bleed the gang dry. Of course, the fact an officer was injured was unfortunate, but at least he got away with his life. Whether he would receive an award for being injured whilst standing in the way was not certain at this point.

Mycroft gets out of the elevator and straight into the car waiting for him. His assistant sits in the backseat, idly typing on her mobile phone. A common sight that Mycroft does not pay much attention to. They drive away without a word.

Lost in thought, Mycroft looks through the tinted windows and watches the people on the streets. Seeing Lestrade was gratifying, even if it was only for a few minutes during which the inspector would have liked nothing better but to turn his back on him. But what else could someone like Mycroft Holmes expect? Wasn’t any form of attention better than none at all?

Since the events a few weeks ago in that club, Mycroft regularly thought of the inspector. At first he thought it was a phase, a natural reaction to the fact that an acquaintance had barged their way into his secret haven without even realising it. But Mycroft quickly conceived there had to be more to it. At night, he dreamt of the images the inspector had offered him without his knowledge. From the look he had directed at the camera, which seemed to have pierced straight through to Mycroft. To the things Gregory Lestrade had requested that night. At least, most of it. Mycroft is still convinced that the outcome should have been different.

Inevitably, Mycroft had grabbed Lestrade's file and memorised the updates since the last time he had checked it. A divorce pronounced three months after a year-long separation, current relationship status unknown, two awards for his service, a list of cases on which he worked. The good inspector works a lot. No time for relationships. Who can blame him?

After his last appointment, Mycroft decides to leave the office early and take a detour to end the day in a pleasant way. He instructs his driver to take him to the inconspicuous establishment and gets out in the underground parking. The elevator takes him to the usual floor and a few steps after, Mycroft is in his room. Shielded from the outside world, the focus of his eyes and ears sharpen, as if he has antennas stretched out in every direction, in every corner of the building. He leans back in his chair and lets his gaze wander over the four screens in search of an adventure.

Meanwhile, he no longer believes that Lestrade will come here again. Apparently the first attempt was too frustrating to warrant a second encounter with a stranger. Consequently, the surprise is only greater for Mycroft when the inspector walks through the door and greets the staff in the foyer in a friendly manner. The exuberant response makes Mycroft even more agitated. Irritated, he turns the sound on in the foyer and listens to the conversation between the two men.

"Nice to see you again! What can I do for you today?" asks the employee, sliding the tablet across the counter to Lestrade in an almost familiar manner.

"Yeah, I'll be spending more time here than home soon," Lestrade jokes back and scrolls through the menu while he's making small talk.

How? What? This can't be?!

Mycroft hastily reaches for his tablet and clicks through the calendar entries of the last days. Nowhere is there anything about Lestrade. Growling, Mycroft goes back to the day the inspector first visited the establishment, looking for the right time and room. There are two words in the box: Cuprum and TJ. The latter seems to be the abbreviation of a name, but apparently does not fit Lestrade. Cuprum does not sound much better, but ... Cuprum, the chemical element Cu, Copper... Copper... Policeman? Mycroft huffs in annoyance. Of course, Lestrade has given himself – quite obviously – a nickname, in order not to attract attention in this environment with his rather unusual surname unnecessarily and possibly throw a bad light on New Scotland Yard.

With fluttering nerves, Mycroft goes through the weeks that have passed since the first visit and indeed the name Cuprum is found almost every other day. Amazingly enough, Lestrade has not been able to show up at the establishment at the same time as Mycroft. Which is less surprising when you look at Mycroft's diary, which rarely allows more than one evening off per week. Mycroft's stomach is rumbling and contracting convulsively. Like pinpricks, the realisation eats through his guts that Lestrade has already spent more time here than he has and finds he is jealous.

Jealous of a fucking love nest.

Oh please...

No, that's not it. Mycroft is jealous because so many people can have something he cannot afford and never will be granted. He jumps out of his chair and paces around the room like a captive wildcat in a cage that is far too small, his right fist pressed against his teeth as if he were afraid that something sinister would stumble out of his lips.

What should I do?

The only thing you can do! That which you always do when you are here.

I don’t want that!

You have no choice. It's that or nothing. Embrace your destiny…

Jaw clenched, Mycroft sinks back into the chair, propping his elbows on the table and covering his face with his hands. Inside, a big hole has opened which seems to swallow everything that is not nailed down. Every feeling, every thought, every hope, even the smallest. Sighing, he leans back and looks resignedly at the various monitors. Condemned to watch.

His eyes are fixed on Lestrade, who is now in the bar sipping a drink. He looks around the room expectantly as if looking for someone. Mycroft wipes on the display of his tablet and scans through the last entries for Cuprum, but unlike he’d expected, there is a different name next to each entry. Mycroft is not sure whether he should feel relieved or not. Obviously, Lestrade did not find his soul mate here – otherwise he would simply not come back – but Mycroft cannot help but feel the constant change of partner is disturbing.

That's none of my business...

Mycroft scrolls back to the current day and clicks on the entry. So far, no partner has been found for Lestrade. A spark of curiosity tugs at Mycroft's mind and makes him read the inspector's wish list more closely. It's short. Very short. Hesitant, Mycroft sucks his lower lip between his teeth and begins to swing his leg nervously. The next instant, his fingers fly over the display and contact the foyer.

 

+++

 

tbc

 

Chapter Text

An employee walks into the bar and looks around. When she spots the person she was looking for, she approaches him at the counter.

"You’re Cuprum, aren’t you? I'm sorry you had to wait so long. Please follow me," she demands and leads the way to the elevator. Lestrade downs the rest of his drink and follows the woman.

"So someone actually contacted you?" he asks a little incredulously.

She smiles at him and nods. "Of course. However, some demands were made from the other side too. I will explain it to you in the room. Of course, should you decide against a meeting, we'll refund you the cost for today," she explains helpfully, leading Lestrade through a corridor. She stops in front of a door and inserts the key card into the reader. The lock clicks open and they make their way in. The interior is equipped with modern furniture in dark brown and white, the only highlight in the room is the soft moss green carpet. A wooden ladder of horizontal rails is mounted on the wall behind the bed's headboard.

"You want someone to listen to you," the employee begins and makes a welcoming gesture towards the room. "Our other guest is very willing to fulfil your wish, but does not want to talk back. They only offer you their presence and open ear. You may talk as long as you wish, but you will not hear or see the other person. They also want you to be restrained." With a smile, the employee points to the rail on the wall as if this were an everyday occurrence. "And I will blindfold you."

"Ah," Lestrade says, scratching the back of his head, "So this person will just be here listening to me, but I will not be able to see or touch them, and they will not talk to me?" he resumes with disbelief.

"That's correct."

"Well, that's not really how a conversation goes..."

"You asked for someone to listen to you, not for a conversation partner!"

"You're right. Alright, then. God only knows why I'm going along with this madness, but I'll do it," Lestrade says with a shrug and nods to the woman.

"Good. Then take off your clothes," the employee says nonchalantly and goes to the dresser that faces the bed. She pulls leather shackles from a drawer with short chains hanging from them. At the end of each chain is a snap-hook.

"Wha... what for?"

"Oh, did I not mention it? That's also part of the conditions," she chirps happily. An uneasy feeling settles in the pit of Lestrade's stomach. However, he can’t claim to have been disappointed by this establishment so far. If, in return for listening, his partner only wants his naked body, bound and blindfolded... Oh god...

The open shirt bares Lestrade's chest as he props his hands on his hips. "Should I be expecting any sexual acts?" he asks straight out.

"Not that I’m aware of," the employee replies with an innocent smile, "But you never know what may result from your conversation."

Lestrade grimaces and pulls his shirt off his shoulders. The rest of his clothes follow and land in a messy pile next to the bedside table. He climbs onto the bed, leans against the headboard in the centre of the mattress and looks up expectantly at the woman who immediately gets to work. She takes one of the shackles and attaches the hook to one of the hoops hanging from the bar mounted on the wall before guiding Lestrade's hand through the leather restraint. She tightens the strap but leaves enough space between the wrist and the leather to prevent friction damage or cutting the blood flow. Then she walks around the bed and repeats the process on the other side.

"Are you comfortable?" she asks, still smiling, and walks over to the dresser to retrieve a green blindfold.

"Hm, yes, I think so," Lestrade replies and shifts back and forth to find the best possible position. The next instant, his eyes are blindfolded.

"Okay, I'll let the other guest know you're ready and send them to the room. Don't worry, I'll be close by."

Lestrade hums in agreement and hears the door close. He’s alone and sees nothing but the green cloth. His nerves are tense, fluttering restlessly. His heartbeat accelerates unintentionally. The situation is so absurd that he does not know if he should laugh or be afraid. He loses track of time faster than expected. He can't say whether five minutes have passed, or an hour. When the door opens, he startles and turns his head in the direction of the sound, even if he can’t see anything. To make matters worse, the light is switched off and the green turns an opaque black.

Tense, he listens for every sound. Steps on the carpet. A short hesitation. Whoever this guest is, he seems to be terribly insecure. Someone who definitely doesn't want to be seen. Lestrade comes up with the most ridiculous reasons why. Is he dealing with a celebrity? A member of the royal family? Who could possibly be so eager to tie him up and blindfold him, naked and defenceless? Lestrade only wanted to talk to an impartial person...

"Hello?" he says and his own voice sounds strange to him. Uncertain. Hollow. It’s difficult to use the right tone when you don’t know who you’re facing. The bed lowers slightly to his left as the guest sits down. A hand lies briefly on Lestrade's ankle, as if to return the greeting wordlessly, but withdraws immediately afterwards.

"Um ... well, I'm told this will be a monologue. That's okay. I mean, it's a pity, because I would prefer a real conversation, but I'll take what I can get."

Believe me, my dear Gregory, I'm the last person you want to have a conversation with…

"I ... um ... I don't know where to start. Actually, I'm just terribly upset about my job. I work so hard, I work like a slave, I do overtime more often than not, and how am I thanked? I’m not! Quite the opposite actually – what little success we gain, for the record, is taken away from me."

Again, one hand lays on Lestrade's ankle and presses lightly to express understanding. This time the hand remains.

I understand that you are angry. But there was no other way. The case would have been transferred to MI6 anyway. At least, no one else was injured...

"That’s not all. A colleague was badly wounded and who was sent to explain it to his family? Me, of course. His wife gave me hell, but I can’t help it if the idiot froze in the middle of a shoot-out... Oh, never mind. Anyway, he’ll recover, but that could have gone worse."

I'm sorry, Mycroft thinks with dismay, squeezing his ankle lightly again, wishing he could undo it all.

Sighing, Lestrade drops his head back and bangs it against the rail on the wall. "Ow! Okay, that's really uncomfortable... Do you mind putting another pillow behind my back? Thanks."

Again a squeeze of the hand. The weight on the mattress shifts and Lestrade moves forward to make room. When the other person approaches him to squeeze the pillow between his back and the headboard, Lestrade leans to one side and takes a deep breath. The smell of an expensive aftershave rises to his nose. It reminds him of sandalwood and moss.

"Hmm ... a man, then," whispers Lestrade, grinning cheekily. Even if he can’t see him, he still feels how the other man tenses. He hears hurried steps on the carpet. Obviously, the other man decided to put more distance between them than necessary.

"Oh, don’t worry. I can’t see anything, can’t really move and you're not talking to me. There's no way I'll find out who you are!"

As if I could rely on it!

It takes a few minutes before Lestrade starts talking again, the tone calm and absent. "My boss hates me. Not the Chief, he's happy with me, I think, even though I don't always follow the rules and call in a... consultant, um... well, to get my job done faster."

Oh, Gregory, do you always give away so much? You're a bigger security risk than I feared...

"But my other boss, the boss of my boss, he doesn’t like me at all. He purposely sabotages my work, belittles me... I have no idea what I did to him."

Mycroft's hands clench around the fabric of his shirt’s sleeves. Are you talking about me? I'm not your boss... I have no power over you. You personally. That I have to influence your work from time to time is a necessary evil, not a personal vendetta... Do you not see that?!

"I respect him. He’s... he’s fascinating. Almost terrifyingly so. But he's so cold and dismissive... I don't know if he allows a single human being approach him."

No, no, Gregory, how could I? Too much is at stake. And even if I dared... what would I have to offer? My job occupies me almost non-stop and what little free time I can scavenge... you can see where it got me... How can you respect someone like me?

"Sometimes I just want to grab him and break him apart to see if there's something behind that cold mask. He makes me so angry! And so damn..." Lestrade sighs in frustration and lets his head roll against the wall. "I'm sorry, I should stop talking about other people."

And what, Gregory? Tell me! Mycroft's heart gallops wildly in his chest at the inspector's words. He wants to hear more, more about what Lestrade thinks of him, what he feels about him, what he wants to do to him... Again, that throb in his groin, that excitement which makes his breath falter.

Lestrade shifts from side to side, looking for a more comfortable position. The chains of the shackles hit against the wall. The sound echoes louder in the room than you would expect.

"And you?" Lestrade asks after a few minutes. "I know you will not answer me... Maybe you're not there anymore? Have you left me alone with my strange rant?" A shudder runs through Lestrade as the hand lies on his ankle once more. The bed lowers again as Mycroft sits down beside him without breaking contact. "Good, you're still here..." Lestrade licks his lips, thinking about how to continue this conversation.

"Have you ever watched me?" he finally asks, his voice rough. The hand on his leg barely twitches. Caught red handed. A grin tugs at his lips, but he waits for the affirmative pressure from the hand.

"Okay, well... that's a yes. If you want to deny something, just take your hand away for a moment, alright?"

Mycroft tenses the muscles of his hand to give his consent.

"Did you like what you saw?"

Yes…

"But you prefer to remain hidden... Is it your family?"

Mycroft raises his hand, but immediately puts it back on the warm skin. It is almost unbearable to break contact.

"Okay... then is it a problem with your job?"

Indeed.

"Nobody should know that you're here. You restrict yourself to watching. That’s... You must feel very lonely..." Gregory says and stiffens the next moment as if he wants to take back the words that have tumbled from his lips unchecked. "I'm sorry, you don’t have to answer that."

But you're right... Oh, you're so right... Mycroft squeezes the ankle after a moment's hesitation.

Lestrade leans back, his lips pressed together in a thin line. "I'm sorry. I... um... The first time I was here, I felt similar. I did not want my partner to see me. Even though I knew I was being watched through the cameras at the same time, I could not stand the thought that my partner knew who I was. I was lucky enough to find someone who agreed to let their eyes be blindfolded. It was... exciting... no doubt about that, but afterwards, I did not want to hide anymore. I wanted to see my partner, to be seen... but, I don't know, it didn't go so well. Outside of these four walls, we probably wouldn’t have understood each other. It was very strange," Lestrade says.

Despite the poor light, Mycroft can see Lestrade chewing uncertainly on his lower lip as if the next words are difficult to get out. "But... if you want, you can... take advantage of the situation. I would never know who I shared this room with. You would not have to worry that I could betray you – which I wouldn't do anyway," Lestrade hurries to add, clenching his restrained hands. He feels the other man shudder, as if he feared that every breath might betray him.

Mycroft's thoughts race. The offer is terribly tempting. But how can he be certain? Can he rely on Lestrade not finding out a way to recognise him? Can he risk putting aside the self-imposed restraints of his life and duties? Just this once, let his mask of ice melt and give someone a glimpse of his true self?

Before Mycroft can even find an answer to his many questions, he presses his lips to the skin under his hand. He hears Lestrade hiss and suck in air at the unexpected touch. Spurred on by the reaction, Mycroft pushes his legs onto the bed and lets his mouth wander over the hairy thigh. He grabs the heels of his shoes behind him and slips them off, dropping them on the floor without a care. His whole body is throbbing under his racing heartbeat as he grasps Lestrade's ankle with one hand and pushes the other under his kneecap. A glance up shows Lestrade has pushed his head back, his mouth slightly open, waiting, unable to move.

"That... that's good. Don’t stop."

Mycroft doesn't need to be asked twice. He kisses the hard kneecap, feels a raised scar under his tongue, pursues it with the inquisitive tip of it.

"Motorcycle accident, nine stitches... Awful bleeding," Lestrade says, just to say something. The warmth of the body slowly sliding over his leg makes him unconsciously tug at his restraints, but they only make their characteristic rattling sound against the wood. Meanwhile, he feels the adventurous mouth on his thigh. The man shifts his weight forward and manoeuvres a knee between his legs while tongue and lips conquer more inches of his skin. Instinctively, Lestrade stretches his legs and moves his toes over the inside of the man’s thigh, touching his crotch.

Mycroft winces as Lestrade's toes touch him. He pauses in his exploration, sensing the awkward movements, the tentative attempt to play an active role in the game. Thrusting his pelvis forward, he presses his crotch against the back of the foot and inhales loudly. Small sparks dance over his nerve-endings, igniting a fire inside him that inevitably melts his icy exterior. Spurred on, his mouth eagerly sucks the inside of Lestrade's thigh, alternating lips and teeth and tongue, until they leave a mark that can be seen even in the semi-darkness.

"Fuck ..." Lestrade curses and opens his legs a bit more than is comfortable to ask for another mark. Mycroft is only too happy to comply with this request, and reaches under Lestrade's knee to push up his leg, even if it robs him of the delicious friction. The smell of Lestrade's most intimate body parts obscure his senses. Enjoying himself, he nibbles on the thigh up to the point where it merges into the pelvis. His cheek brushes Lestrade's tense testicles as he grabs the sensitive skin over the crest muscle with his teeth and pulls it between his lips.

Lestrade gives a strangled whimper, thrusts his pelvis up and arches on the toes of his bent leg to bring himself closer to Mycroft’s mouth. "God ... that's ... hng ... let me touch you ..."

Mycroft throws a worried glance up at the shackles to see if they are still secure, then lowers his head again to kiss the wrinkled skin of the man's testicles. The rattling from the shackles and the soft moaning from Lestrade spur him on. With the tip of his nose and open lips, he glides over Lestrade's erection, more stroking than kissing, inhaling the beguiling scent until he reaches the swollen tip. His tongue flits out, licking the drop that has gathered there and moistens the glistening skin. While Mycroft rests on his left elbow, the hand of his right arm cradles the other man’s cock like a precious treasure. The immediate proximity to Lestrade is both incredibly exciting and terribly scary. One misstep and his cover is blown, destroying both his career and whatever they have here. Determined, he pushes the thought aside.

With the flat of his tongue Mycroft slowly caresses the shaft in his hand, exploring the silky structure. His lips close around the glans and lure the most beautiful sounds from Lestrade's throat. Mycroft hears more than he sees Lestrade reaching for the rail to hold onto it. He lets his head sink lower, taking in as much of Lestrade as he can before releasing him from his mouth and starting over. Tongue and lips engulf the erection, taste and lick the skin, the slit at the top. Completely invested, Mycroft repeats the manoeuvre again and again, using his hand to intensify the stimulation.

It's an incredible experience and he has never felt it so intensely before. All his senses are clearly focused on his actions and at the same time strangely out of focus, blurry. Like in a dream so real that it takes his breath away. Every fibre of his body responds to the other man, touch, taste, smell. The shadows in the dark and the beguiling sounds expressing so much encouragement, so much raw lust ... Pleasure that Mycroft can procure with so little effort do the rest. Once again, the muscles in his groin contract, sending waves of pure ecstasy through him.

"I don’t want... to come… yet, please... Fuck, that's so good..."

Lestrade's chest rises and lowers under hasty breaths. His cheeks blush, his whole body vibrates with heat.

"Kiss me," he says, but Mycroft hesitates. Instead of following the request, he lowers his lips to Lestrade's stomach, kisses his hairy chest and tugs at a nipple with his teeth. Hissing, Lestrade sucks in the air, biting his bottom lip.

"Come on, I will not recognise you just because you kiss me. How could I? Please... I am completely at your mercy. Give me a kiss..."

Oh, Gregory...

 

+++

tbc

 

Chapter Text

Oh, Gregory...

Mycroft sits up carefully, swings one leg over Lestrade's thigh, then the other so that he straddles his lap. His hands move incessantly over the bare body, arms, chest, stomach, not willing to break contact. He feels the pulse rush through the veins under his fingers. The man’s heart beats as fast as his own, trapped in its cage and so eager to break out. Mycroft's hands tremble as he puts his arms around Lestrade's neck, barely a hand's breadth from his face.

Lestrade cranes his neck. His mouth is slightly open, his lips quiver in the semi-darkness. "Kiss me," he whispers, barely audible.

Mycroft closes the last few inches between them and presses their lips together in a searing kiss. Wasting no time, he dips his tongue into Lestrade’s mouth, seeks its counterpart and a sigh escapes him. His fingers claw at skin and hair, gliding over shoulders, neck, chest and whatever else they can reach. He tastes the other’s mouth, its heat, the softness of the lips and tongue. Teeth gently nip at his lip to hold him back, unwilling to let the kiss end too quickly.

Mycroft leans closer to the other man, presses his erection against Lestrade's and sighs softly against his mouth as a jolt of pure pleasure courses through his body.

"Oh... fuck. Do that again," Lestrade demands and lifts his pelvis to maximise the pressure. Mycroft pushes his hips forward and repeats the movement, rubbing firmly against the body beneath him. "Yes... that... that's good. You should... take off your trousers. I want to feel your skin."

With nimble fingers, Mycroft grants the request, first unbuttoning his shirt and pulling it down his arms. He drops it carelessly to the floor. He reaches for his belt and zipper, but his position makes it difficult and he realises he has to break away from Lestrade for a moment to actually get rid of his clothes. Legs shaking, he gets up, shrugs off his trousers, underwear and socks, then climbs back into Lestrade's lap. The sensation of skin on skin almost makes his mind go blank. All his nerve endings are on fire, yet greedy for more contact. Craving more, he kisses the other man's neck and collarbone, bites his tense shoulders. Lestrade is still clinging to the rails as if he needs the support.

"Come closer. Yes, like that. I want to feel you. Oh... yeah, that feels good," Lestrade says as Mycroft's erection brushes against his. He feels the tremor that goes through his partner’s body and digs his teeth in his lower lip. "Bedside table, you should find lube in there."

Mycroft gasps, stunned. His mind hums like a beehive. He can’t quite believe what he’s doing. Sharing a bed with Lestrade, touching and kissing him. The closeness, the warmth, every touch is a revelation that can’t be more than the tip of the iceberg. He’s losing and finding himself all at once, and it is the grandest, most frightening thing he has ever experienced. A voice in the back of his head admonishes him to stop it all immediately, that inevitably, consequences will follow and destroy him. If not his reputation, then at least the fragile hope for a better, more fulfilling life.

But he can't bring himself to care. It is more likely these few moments are all that will be granted to him, so he will embrace them with all his might and cherish them in his memories until the end of his days.

Determined, he presses a kiss to Lestrade's lips, before leaning on one arm and reaching to the side for the drawer’s handle. He takes out a tube of gel, shifts his weight back onto Lestrade's lap and snaps the cap open. He covers their two erections with one hand and exhales audibly as a shiver runs through his body like liquid fire.

"Hng... You have big hands... I like that," Lestrade says and twitches slightly as a cool drop of gel lands on the reddened tip of his penis. Soon enough, it has adapted to their body temperature and considerably simplifies the friction.

The thumb of Mycroft’s other hand strokes alternately over the two heads, spreading the gel between their joined erections. Slowly, he moves his hips back and forth, dropping his head in the hollow of Lestrade's neck and can only stop himself from becoming loud with great difficulty. Only a strangled gasp breaks through and Lestrade shudders under him.

Lestrade, who does not have to hold back vocally, groans and tries to push his hips upwards into the slick hands that hold him and against the erect penis, which he can clearly feel the heat of. All his senses focus on the numerous points of contact, the sound of slick skin sliding into strong hands, the lust coursing through his body.

"Ah... Like that... Yes, just like that. Fuck... don’t stop. Kiss me!" he demands, craning his neck in search of his partner’s mouth. Cool lips press against his, kiss him again and again and again. When they break away from his, he whimpers in frustration.

Mycroft slows down his movements and reaches for the tube of lubricant again. He puts some of it on his right hand before covering their two erections with his left one again, but he does not resume the movement. He’s too focused on his right hand which he stretches behind him. With his fingertips he glides over the puckered skin of his sphincter. It's been way too long since he did this, and the anxiety almost snaps him out of his lust-induced fog.

"What are you doing?" Lestrade demands in a husky voice, not really expecting an answer. The silent gasp, when Mycroft finally pushes a finger into his own body, is answer enough for him. At the realisation, Lestrade shakes the chains, pulls at them, leans forward as far as he can in order to somehow get closer to the other man. In vain. He's so close. He feels the warmth of the other body against his face, but however much he pulls and tugs, that gap between them can't be bridged. He grumbles in frustration and lets himself sink back far enough that the pain in his arms subsides.

"That's not fair. I want... have to touch you... Please!"

Mycroft directs his lustful eyes at Lestrade, as if only now remembering who he is with. Limbs trembling, he slips closer to Lestrade and braces his left arm against the rail behind the man, without interrupting the work of his fingers inside him, preparing himself. Pushing his limit, he clings to Lestrade's chest, buries his face in the crook of his neck and gasps violently as he adds another finger through the tight ring of his muscles. His body protest painfully against the unfamiliar stretch and only slowly yields to his ministrations.

"You're doing well. Don't stop. You want to feel me in you, don't you? I can't wait to enter you, to fill you, to feel how you come... God... I want to touch you so bad."

Warm shivers tingle across Mycroft's back at those words. It seems like an eternity before Mycroft sits up and presses his lips to Lestrade's to kiss him eagerly. His body glows with heat, sweat shines on his skin. Suddenly impatient, he reaches into the open drawer of the bedside table and pulls out a small nondescript packet, rips it open with his teeth and pulls out a condom. Lips pressed together, he takes a few deep breaths through his nose to calm himself down, then rolls the condom over Lestrade's erection. He kisses him one more time before spreading lube on the latex.

Limbs shaking with expectation, Mycroft awkwardly turns his back to Lestrade, spreading his legs to either side of Lestrade’s hips, and is suddenly relieved the other man cannot see him. The awkward rearrangement would certainly not have put him at his advantage and gotten him laughed at, but Mycroft doesn’t want to think about it. He clings to Lestrade’s chest, reaches over his shoulder with one hand to steer his partner’s head towards his so that he can kiss him. All the while the cleft of his ass is rubbing provocatively against Lestrade's erection.

"Slow down," Lestrade whispers between two breathless kisses, "I don’t want you to get hurt."

Mycroft's heart skips a beat and he bites his lips as he hears the solicitude in the voice. Leaning forward, he braces himself with one arm and reaches for Lestrade with the other. He pushes his hips back, leads Lestrade's erection to the widened ring of his muscles and sinks agonisingly slowly on it. His breath stops. He pauses, waiting for the sting of strained muscles to abate.

"No hurry," Lestrade hisses between clenched teeth, although it takes all of his willpower not to demand the exact opposite. His mind feeds him the images his eyes can’t, reconstructing them through his sensations alone. He imagines what the other man looks like as he moves down oh so slowly to engulf his erect penis. Every fibre in Lestrade's body is stretched to breaking point, yearning after the other man, he wants to thrust deep into him, make him tremble and hear him moan uncontrollably. He wants to make him forget everything, to get rid of his fear of being recognised. He claws with tormented fingers at the bars fixed to the wall. His arms burn painfully and beg for release, but not now. Not now.

Mycroft quickly realises that moving facilitates penetration. He sways back and forth again and again, each time slipping down a little more until his buttocks finally rub against Lestrade's groin. Panting, he pauses, feels the pulse of his body, the innumerable signals of his nerve endings, hears the heavy breaths behind him. When he turns around, he sees Lestrade hanging in his shackles and he’s overwhelmed with compassion. Lestrade patiently endured everything, and his arms must be hurting him terribly, but he hasn’t uttered a single complaint. Only the desire to touch him, Mycroft.

Mycroft rests on his forearms and shifts his weight to his elbows before letting himself sink back to take in Lestrade. His body engulfs the other: tight, unfamiliar, greedy. His blood runs hot through his veins, burning him from within. It takes a lot of effort for him to successfully hide his voice and not groan out, so as to not betray his identity. He repeats the action, enjoys the slow penetration, the intense friction.

"Yes, just like that... Go on..." Lestrade encourages him, and bit by bit Mycroft moves faster. At some point he sits up, sinks onto Lestrade's lap and groans indignantly as the change in angle allows for deeper penetration.

"Fuck... Your voice... is wonderful," Lestrade breathes out and leans forward blindly to place a kiss on Mycroft's shoulder. With a racing heart, Mycroft leans against Lestrade’s chest, puts his head in the crook of his neck and kisses every inch of skin which he can reach in this position.

He didn’t recognise my voice. Thank God, he didn’t recognise my voice...

In answer, a trail of kisses burns its way across the trapezius muscle, the neck, under the ear, while a tongue skilfully licks and tastes the salty skin beneath it. Hips rolling, demanding, giving, reluctantly twitching. Fingers, wrinkled from moisture, glide over hot skin, caressing, spreading beads of sweat.

"Please..."

At his words, Mycroft slows his rhythm, reaches behind him and gives Lestrade a kiss.

"Please..." Lestrade repeats, almost pleading, begging. "I want... I need to touch you... please!"

Mycroft shakes his head vehemently so that Lestrade can feel the motion on his shoulder.

"I beg of you... I won't remove the blindfold. I won't look at you, I'll... do whatever you want... just... please... get rid of these."

Mycroft swallows hard. Dare he? Can he trust this man to keep his word? Can he rely on him not to satisfy his curiosity once Mycroft gives him so much control?

Gregory...

His damp fingers slide over tense arms, feel the cramped muscles under the skin. The leather strap is warm against the wrists. Mycroft fumbles at the shackle’s strap, pulls it out of the flap and opens it, widening the loop so that Lestrade's hand can slip out. A pain-filled hiss echoes through the room as the arm finally hangs limp and the blood flushes back to the extremities of his fingers. They are so cold when they graze Mycroft's foot that it pains him he made Lestrade wait this long. He quickly frees the other hand and feels the man behind him stretch his arms over his head to bring feeling back into them again.

Lestrade places a few light kisses on Mycroft's shoulder and neck. "Thanks." It's little more than a whisper against sweaty skin.

Mycroft turns his head so that his lips touch Lestrade's stubby cheek and sighs happily when the kiss is returned. A kiss that soon gains in passion, in heat. Starting from the nails, which dig into his thighs, Mycroft feels goose bumps spreading all over him. Immediately, he is burning up again.

Lestrade's hands glide over Mycroft's hips, his stomach, fingers exploring his navel, diving in, exploring his ribs and stroking each and every one of them as if he were counting them. Between his index finger and thumb, Lestrade playfully pinches and twists Mycroft’s nipples until they harden, stealing breath away. Over and over, Lestrade rubs the sensitive knots, triggers electrical chills that jump from synapse to synapse, from head to toe. His hands stroking the waist, follow the curve of Mycroft’s hips and glide over the thighs again.

Sighing, Lestrade pushes the other's pelvis, withdraws himself from beneath him to be able to extract his legs from under the other man's body. Maintaining his caresses with one hand, refusing to break contact, he kneels behind Mycroft. He grabs him by the hips, bends him forward, so that Mycroft has to rest with his forearms on the blanket, and continues the exploration of the body.

Spellbound, Mycroft feels the hands that are constantly caressing every muscle, every inch of his body, reading him like Braille. The heat that they transfer to him seeps in through every pore, spreads inside of him, seeming to increase every other feeling manifold. Mycroft shudders when Lestrade leans forward to pepper gentle kisses along his spine. He follows every vertebrae with his tongue, draws circles around them until he reaches Mycroft's neck and licks an earlobe between his lips. An involuntary twitch goes through Mycroft and makes him press closer to Lestrade, who takes it as a request and penetrates him again with slow rotations of his hips.

"You feel so incredibly good," Lestrade whispers near Mycroft's ear and slides deep into his willing body. Mycroft gasps, barely able to control the sound. Again and again, Lestrade thrusts into him, grabs his hips or runs his hands over his outstretched back. First, his breathing accelerates, then the rhythm of his movements. He caresses Mycroft’s throbbing thighs, the roundness of his buttocks, the taut skin of the ring of muscles encircling him, as if Lestrade were using his fingers to see.

Mycroft barely knows what's happening to him. Arousal increases exponentially with every thrust that rocks his whole body, sending him closer and closer to the edge of his lust. His body burns and hums, contracts and opens with every breath. When he can barely stand it anymore, he grabs his erection with his right hand, stroking the shaft and dripping tip frenetically. Feeling his climax coming, he slips his left hand under his mouth and bites down into the fleshy mound between thumb and wrist to stifle the loud groan that is inevitably escaping his lips.

Lestrade wraps his arm around his partner’s shoulders, brushing Mycroft's arm with his hand in the process, he realises the other man's downright desperate attempt. "No...", he whispers and draws the damaged hand from the mouth, then presses his forehead into Mycroft's neck. "I want to hear you..."

No longer able to fight Lestrade’s will, Mycroft drops his defences. His body contracts in waves of uncontrolled and rapturous pleasure, spasming over and over, accompanying each release with a feeling of pure bliss throughout his entirely body. A desperate whimpering is torn from his throat, loud and undignified, barely silenced by the blanket in which he presses his face. It vibrates through his chest, his stomach, sailing on unending waves to his fingertips. For a wonderful moment, a peaceful silence reigns in Mycroft's head, then he feels Lestrade move inside him again, hears his broken moans and curses.

Lestrade thrust hard one last time into Mycroft and clutches him like a drowning man would a lifeboat. Heavy, hot breaths interrupted by aimless kisses pepper his salty skin. One arm under Mycroft's chin, the other around his chest, Lestrade pulls him into a tight hug as he lets himself roll to one side so that Mycroft no longer has to support his weight.

"Oh, man... that was... good, very good..." Lestrade gasps softly in Mycroft's ear and buries his nose in his short hair. "Thank you for untying me... for trusting me." Mycroft feebly reaches for Lestrade's forearm and presses it lightly for confirmation. His body still buzzes and tingles everywhere. Satisfied and happy. A feeling he would like to hold on to. He reaches for Lestrade's hand and kisses each finger tip. His heart clenches at the thought that they would have to part in a few moments, that this encounter would never happen again. He sighs heavily and presses Lestrade's hand against his lips.

"Can we see each other... I mean, meet again?" Lestrade asks and clears his throat. But Mycroft weakly shakes his head. "I have kept my promise," Lestrade murmurs and wraps an arm around the warm body possessively.

But for how long? How would you react if you discovered who I was? I'm not ready to find out...

Mycroft frees himself from Lestrade’s grip and straightens up, turns to Lestrade, who is still wearing the blindfold, but has turned his face in his direction. He leans down and kisses him gently. One last time. Lestrade reaches for him as he tries to leave, holding his arm pleadingly for a moment, then reluctantly lets go.

Mycroft gets up and struggles for a few seconds with his balance. His body suddenly feels very battered. He picks up his clothes and puts them on – a visit to the bathroom is out of the question at the moment, because when he leaves this room, it's forever. Once again he looks down at the figure lying motionless on the bed.

Lestrade does not move an inch, just listens to the sounds that Mycroft makes. When it stops, he turns his head toward the door. He can't see anything, but he still senses the presence of the other man.

A click sounds, the door is opened and latches an instant later into the lock.

Lestrade is alone.

 

+++

tbc

 

Chapter Text

Lestrade stares sullenly at the body lying in the mud. A man in his early fifties with a gaping wound in the back of his head. Blunt object. Numerous bruises and abrasions on the face and bare forearms. The blood on his face, washed away by the pouring rain has coloured the top of his light blue shirt pink.

"Looks like a robbery," Sergeant Donovan comments, adjusting the hood of her rain jacket and folding her arms protectively over her chest. "The wallet is missing. Someone lured him into the backyard and killed him."

The world is an awful place this morning.

"Yeah..." Lestrade answers weakly, his face grim. He feels miserable. His hair is wet and sticking to his forehead. The rain trickles freely down his face. The shoulders and sleeves of his trench coat are soaked through and barely keep the water from ruining his suit underneath.

For a second, he has the crazy idea to lie down next to the man in the mud and just stop breathing.

After the evidence has been secured and the body removed, Lestrade and Donovan return to the Yard to write down their reports and place them on the pile of current cases. Needing a nice cup of tea to warm up, they find themselves standing in the narrow break room, waiting for the kettle to come to a boil, but it has lived far past its prime and it takes longer than it should. Greg reminds himself for the hundredth time to buy a new one for his division out of his next pay check.

"Everything alright, sir? You look a bit... grumpy, today," Donovan says, dropping tea bags in their mugs.

Lestrade growls moodily. "Couldn't sleep," he replies and smiles inwardly at the understatement of the year. He hasn’t slept a wink. When he finally made it to his bed, his thoughts had revisited the events of that evening over and over again. The strange conversation with the man who did not want to be seen. The tension in the air. The hands, hesitant first but which soon explored his body with enthusiasm.

And that mouth... not just the passionate kisses, hungry and almost desperate, trying to make as much contact as possible, as if they would never have such an opportunity again, but also the sounds he could not hold back. A shiver runs down Greg's back at the memory and he curses the arousal that ensues, which immediately burns through his groin like a white hot poker.

"Don't catch cold," says Donovan, misinterpreting his shiver. He nods at her with a wan smile and reaches for his cup to go back to his office. His attempt to focus on the files on his desk is doomed to failure again that day. Not even their brief outing has helped clear his mind. Grumbling, Lestrade rubs his tired eyes.

Following a hunch, he pulls out his cell phone and scrolls through the list of his contacts. When he finds the right number, he picks up the landline’s handset and dials. It rings twice before someone picks up on the other side and offers their usual greeting.

"Uh... Scotland Yard here, Detective Inspector Lestrade... I'm calling about... a suspect who was reportedly seen at your establishment last night," Lestrade mumbles, nervously spinning a pen between his fingers.

"How... can I help you, sir?" The man asks uncertainly. The fact that he avoids using Lestrade’s title directly indicates he doesn’t want to upset any of the people who might be listening because of a phone call from the police.

"Last night, between nine and eleven, two men were seen in room thirty-six. As far as I know, the activities are recorded on your premises. Are there pictures of the time available?" Lestrade's heart flutters nervously in his chest. Restless, he looks through the glass door into the corridor and hopes that no one will come knocking on his door without a good reason. He can’t justify using the Yard to make such a call, but he doesn’t know what else to do.

"Unfortunately that's impossible, sir. The recordings are checked after the guests leave and then deleted to protect their privacy. Only in the eventuality an irregularity arises are they kept and handed over to the police. Fortunately, such a case has never occurred," the employee explains. There is a reproachful tone to his voice, as if it were obvious their establishment is run correctly.

"Hm...", Lestrade hums and thinks for a moment. "What about records from the halls, elevators, the bar and the foyer?" he finally asks.

"Yes... We will gladly provide you with these records. Just a moment... Oh ... that's strange. Between nine and eleven, you said? It looks like there were technical issues at the time. A few cameras seem to have malfunctioned... That's... er..." Lestrade hears the man mistreating his keyboard with rapid fingers. "I don’t understand... Well... Sir? You ... You can pick up the recordings upon presentation of a court order, but... As I said... They haven’t recorded anything."

That cannot...

"Hmmm..." Clenching his jaw firmly, Lestrade drums a beat with the ballpoint pen onto his paperwork and thinks. "How does it work with your voyeurs?" he finally asks straight out. "Can you sort out who looked at which room?"

"Yes, sir, the system saves the traffic. Just a moment please. Room thirty-four, was it?"

"Thirty-six," Lestrade corrects, growling.

"Right... Thirty-six... The last access ended last night at nine-twenty-seven... after which, no guest were logged into the room. That's unusual. It... I... "

"Did no one see people come in?" Lestrade snarls.

"Of course! Anyone who comes through the foyer can be seen. There was..." the man gives a more or less accurate description of Lestrade, which instantly makes him blush. He hopes that no one will hear about this phone call. "The other one has to be a voyeur, because he didn’t come through the foyer..."

"Which means?"

"There is a second access that leads from the garage directly up into the corresponding corridors... not even the staff knows who is behind these guests’ codenames..."

Annoyed Lestrade rolls his eyes. The man’s anxiety is hard to tolerate and unhelpful. It’s more than obvious something isn’t right. No images, no eyewitnesses. Whoever this man is, he knows how to erase his tracks. The encounter between him and Lestrade was planned down to the smallest detail and the digital trail was manipulated accordingly.

"Okay, that's the last straw, buddy. You use some sort of schedule to assign the rooms to people... Give me the names that were registered yesterday." One clue, just one clue. That's all Lestrade needs to move on. For a fraction of a second he even thought of asking Sherlock for help. But that’s definitely out of the question. Not only does Lestrade have no desire whatsoever in allowing Sherlock to be so deeply immersed in his private life, but the consulting detective would probably declare him completely crazy for involving him in such a thing. Lestrade isn’t that desperate. Not yet.

"I... only have one name, sir: Cuprum."

Angrily, Lestrade throws the phone down.

 

*

 

The sound of rushing water has a calming effect on Lestrade. He looks in the mirror, his hands on the edge of the sink, his sleeves rolled up to his elbows. The phone call is still replaying through his mind. He received a lot of unhelpful information, but he updates the strange puzzle in his head.

His mysterious partner from the establishment has done everything in his power not to be discovered. For Lestrade, above all else, it means one thing: his partner has the means to do such things. Whether it’s because he’s particularly friendly with the owner, or whether his influence is of a different nature, that still remains to be determined. Lestrade intends to go back there as soon as possible and pursue his investigation. There has to be some clue he can find.

What the hell are you doing... Lestrade wonders and actually looks himself over in the mirror for the first time. He can’t explain why this whole affair obsesses him so much, why he can’t let it go. What does he have to gain by learning this man's identity? His thoughts bounce back against an invisible wall in his mind. He feels the answer to his question is just behind it, but he can’t break through, as if this wall and his thoughts are magnets repelling each other.

Lestrade trickles water into the hollow of his hands and splashes it on his face, turns the tap off and pulls paper towels from the dispenser to wipe the water off. It scratches uncomfortably at his skin and smells of recycled paper. He leaves the bathroom and heads for his office when Sergeant Donovan joins him.

"Did you hear? Looks like Hopkins is getting an award,” she says with a frown. She obviously doesn't approve that the policeman who was shot during the messy operation is receiving a special recognition. Lestrade glares back.

"How do you know that?" he asks, crossing his arms over his chest. These kind of rumours spread quickly and he doesn’t want it to be cause for unnecessary trouble amongst his colleagues because they disagree.

"The freak's brother was just here talking to the chief. Apparently, he personally campaigned for it. I wonder if this is some sort of joke... First he takes our case away and now he gives us this!" Donovan quips.

"And why not? Hopkins could have died. Being injured in the line of duty is no trifle, and the whole thing didn’t go as planned, so keep those comments to yourself in the future," Lestrade replies blandly, opening the door to his office to get his trench coat. "I'm just going for a smoke..."

"Yes, sir," Donovan murmurs meekly and returns to her desk. The fact her boss has started smoking again can’t be good news.

Greg's coat is heavy from the rain and presses on his shoulders. The moisture he feels seeping in through the fabric doesn’t bother him. He did not take an umbrella, because somehow, it feels right to be standing in the rain today. Outside, Lestrade digs out his cigarettes from his pocket and fumbles one out of the pack. Under the overhang, he lights it up and blows the smoke out into the sky.

His gaze falls on the figure waiting barely three steps to his left. Knee-length coat made of dark wool, suit, black umbrella. His gaze is absently directed at the street. As if sensing the inspector's eyes on him, Mycroft turns towards him, nods curtly and looks away again. Lestrade snorts softly and takes a drag from his cigarette, then turns it so that his hand protects it from the rain and walks over to Mycroft. Cold raindrops pelt down on his head.

"I heard about the award for Hopkins. Thank you. That was decent of you," he says, watching Mycroft expectantly from the side. He glances back at him, his lips quirking into an artificial smile that does not even reach his eyes, then looks back at the street again.

"You’re welcome. The courageous commitment of your subordinates should be recognized after all," Mycroft replies. "You will catch a cold," he adds monotonously. The fingers of his right hand tighten around the handle of his umbrella, but he refrains from offering Lestrade a spot under it's protection.

"It's fine," Lestrade mumbles, dragging on his cigarette. "What are you doing out here?"

Mycroft sighs quietly, obviously not pleased Lestrade wants to prolong the conversation. "I'm waiting for my driver. It looks like there was an accident on the way here and he's now looking for another route," Mycroft says tonelessly.

Lestrade frowns thoughtfully, wondering if Mycroft is more distant than usual. Is it even possible for him to be more dismissive than he usually is? Where other people radiate heat, there is nothing to be felt but cold around him. However, he is obviously making efforts to give a decent impression and offer a fair solution to a difficult situation.

"Go back inside, Inspector, you're dripping wet," Mycroft says softly with a quick glance at Lestrade, who can’t prevent a small smile from gracing his lips because of the concern that permeates the other man's voice. Maybe he just imagines it. Maybe his only motive is the fear that Lestrade will fall ill and that the costs would fall back on the taxpayers. Or something like that.

Suddenly, Mycroft's phone rings and he switches the handle of his umbrella to his left hand so he can reach for the device in his coat pocket with his right hand. Stretching his arm, the sleeve slips down a bit and exposes Mycroft's wrist, which inevitably attracts Lestrade's attention. There, dark red and violet teeth marks clearly stand out on the fleshy mound just beneath his thumb.

And the ground is robbed from right under Lestrade's feet.

"If you'll excuse me," Mycroft says with a nod of his head, without looking directly at Lestrade before walking towards the street and getting into the backseat of a black car.

Lestrade looks after him, thoughts spinning. The cigarette falls into the puddle next to him and goes out with a hiss.

 

+++

tbc

 

Chapter Text

Mycroft accepts the glass of bottled water Sergeant Donovan gives him with a smile which could not be more insincere if she tried. She doesn’t shy away from letting her dislike known, but Mycroft doesn't care. He’s too accustomed to being rebuked by the people whose work he manipulates on a daily basis.

The bloated carcass of a lime quarter floats across the surface of his glass of sparkling water which is tragically devoid of ice cubes. The buffet has been put together quickly and unimaginatively, making the whole event even more of a farce. In addition to mineral water and fruit juice, there are only a few snacks from the sandwich shop across the street as well as the unavoidable coffee.

Most of the department’s staff has arrived by now, filling up on free drinks and hunting for seats in the small conference room of New Scotland Yard. A single reporter mingles in the crowd and nods cheerfully at those present.

Hopkins stands at the front of the room with the Chief, smiling sheepishly. His left arm is in a sling, his face still pale and tired. Mycroft notes he looks uncomfortable with the hustle and bustle around him. Time and again, the chief pats him on the uninjured shoulder as if he doesn’t know what else to do with his oafish hands.

Mycroft's gaze flits over the heads of those present and for a fraction of a second, it lingers on Detective Inspector Lestrade who is talking to a young policeman. One hand in his trouser pocket, a glass of orange juice in the other, which he sips on occasionally. The smile that flits across his lips as his counterpart makes some witty remark turns into a laugh and drops years off his face despite the small wrinkles in the corners of his eyes.

Jealousy stabs through Mycroft's heart like a knife. Instantly, he pushes the feeling aside, locks it away in the back of his mind and tries to distract himself by going to the Chief, asking him to let the celebration begin.

"I don’t want to rush you, but my schedule is rather tight," he explains, and the Chief promptly rushes upfront to invite the remaining guests to their seats. Mycroft sits in the second row near the wall. His presence is not, in truth, indispensable, but he thinks it would be better to personally show his appreciation in order to smooth over ruffled feathers between the various agencies.

Mycroft's neck tingles when he hears Lestrade's voice right behind him. He’s still talking to the young policeman about a past case, the one which eventually led to his department becoming aware of the crime syndicate. Mycroft struggles to cope with his growing anxiety, ignore the fluttering in his stomach and breathe calmly, but he can't stop the goose bumps from running down his back.

Try as he might to blend in with his surroundings and ignore Lestrade's presence behind him, he can't drown out the inspector's low voice, so he focuses on the Chief's speech about the reasons for this meeting and his praises for Hopkins's heroic commitment. But Mycroft's vision blurs, his mind wanders, and he naturally brings forth images that he usually avoids dwelling on. Lestrade's voice alone is enough to destroy all his efforts.

Kiss me…

Mycroft clenches his jaw. Beneath his cool exterior, an unruly storm rages, picking at his already frayed nerves. He is eternally grateful when the Chief finally finishes his speech and shakes Hopkins’ hand. Everyone stands to applaud. Dutifully, Mycroft steps out of the row of seats to approach them and shake hands, when someone bumps against his shoulder. Irritated, he turns around, only to meet Lestrade's apologetic face.

"Sorry, I was a bit hasty there," he says off-handedly, holding his hand out to let Mycroft take the lead. Mycroft can’t remember the last time he was so nervous. Heart racing, he walks ahead, picks a few phrases from the shoals of his memory and shakes Hopkins appreciative hand, then stands next to the Chief. Mycroft goes through the photo session and the small-talk on automatically, not really registering anything.

As soon as is politely correct, he excuse himself and leaves the gathering without a backwards glance. On his way to the elevator, he calls his driver to let him know he's on his way. Only once the elevator’s doors have closed does he dares take a deep breath. His head is spinning. He feels drained.

Mycroft is no longer sure if it's worth it. His mind and body are out of control, and everything he has built is now at risk of being destroyed. And why? Because he seized the opportunity to escape his loneliness. A moment of weakness. A moment during which he left the reins to sentimentality. He should have foreseen that fate would immediately turn against him. He berates himself and adjusts his jacket before stepping out of the elevator.

 

*

 

Lestrade sits in his office and stares at the opened file without taking in a single word. Lost in thought, he chews on his lower lip and tries to process all the information he gathered in his mind.

The bite marks on Mycroft's wrist should have been evidence enough, but at the event that morning, Lestrade confirmed his suspicions. His planned brush up with Mycroft brought him close enough to the man’s body that he was able to smell him unnoticed. Careful as he is, Mycroft changed his aftershave, but he could not hide his own scent beneath the perfume.

Lestrade is quite capable of distinguishing an artificial fragrance from a natural one. Especially one so enticing. Just the memory of it is enough for his stomach to churn and his breathing to speed up.

Mycroft Holmes…

He can't help himself. On the one hand, he feels betrayed, used and vulnerable. After all, Mycroft used his ignorance to have sex with him, and something like this would never have happened between them in any other circumstance. Never. Even if Lestrade has to admit he has found the older Holmes interesting for a long time. Interesting and impossible to approach. Lestrade energetically pushes the thought aside.

On the other hand, Lestrade goes to that establishment with the sole intention of practicing sex under unusual conditions. It would be hypocritical to think that people in his circle of acquaintances don’t have the same rights. Besides, it was him himself who suggested more, told him that he wanted more.

Still, he doesn't want to believe that it really was Mycroft Holmes, although all the secrecy and great efforts to cover his tracks seem to confirm his theory.

The question is: What should I do with this knowledge? Lestrade ponders this as he rubs his eyes. A tortured sigh escapes out of his throat. In the last few days, all sorts of sensations assail him as soon as he closes his eyes. Back in the dark, back in the bed with the not-so-stranger. The hot breaths, the stifled sounds, the body closing tight around his.

Gasping, Lestrade opens his eyes and fights down the desire that courses through his groin and makes his penis twitch with interest. He becomes painfully aware that he wants to see Mycroft again. Not here at the Yard or anywhere in public, but back there in the dark. Where, despite his blindfold, he saw behind the cold facade of the man for the first time and discovered something that he couldn’t ignore.

He doesn’t know how to deal with it. Simply going to Mycroft and explaining to him that the masquerade is over is impossible. Mycroft would at least report Lestrade for defamation... and that's not something Lestrade wants to risk. Similarly, any attempt to approach him would bounce right off the civil servant's icy wall.

He probably has no interest in me at all. But why the encounter then? Why take the risk of meeting me alone in a room?

Lestrade huffs impatiently. He sees only one way to get close enough to Mycroft to find out if there's more to their little tryst or not.

In the evening, Lestrade drives straight to the establishment to be included in the list of requesting guests. At first, he’s unsure whether the man in the foyer might have recognised him from when he called from the Yard, but since he makes no comments to address it, Lestrade does not pursue the issue any further.

He’s lucky that the room he got last time is free today, so he decides to make the same request.

I'm looking for someone to listen to me.

The employee takes Lestrade's tablet and checks the information, nods hesitantly, and points Lestrade to the bar, as he cannot say how long it will take to fulfil the request. Lestrade smiles back and says he shouldn’t worry about making him wait, then goes over to the bar and orders a drink.

Forty minutes and two glasses of gin sour later, he gives up. Disappointed, he returns to the foyer and asks if no one was interested.

"I'm sorry, sir," he says and seems at least as downcast as he is. "Maybe you could add a little more details to your request..."

Lestrade grimaces and shakes his head. He can’t explains exactly what he wants with his request. It wouldn’t be appropriate. In fact, he's more than aware that he's in the wrong. His promise to preserve the identity of the other man flashes through his mind, even if that doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to see him again.

I just want to know!

But what would that gain him? Would it not be easier to just forget the whole thing and pretend it never happened? It would be best if he had not come here and hoped. But then again... Assuming Mycroft signed up for another encounter, what would it mean? Would Mycroft drop his mystery act of his own volition? Confess to him that he has watched him and wanted him for a long time? Lestrade laughs mockingly and slaps his forehead.

I'm a lost cause...

However, it doesn’t stop the inspector from returning to the establishment the next few days – whenever his schedule allows it – and filling the same request into the tablet again and again. Meanwhile, the employee frowns in confusion when Lestrade shows up in the foyer despite it, but smiles at him in a friendly manner. He of course meets his guest's wishes without bias... as well as he can.

Each time, Lestrade sits at the bar for about an hour with a few drinks, before he throws in the towel and finally drives home. Each time, the emptiness inside him grows a little wider. His voice of reason tries to remind him that Mycroft Holmes has the UK's entire schedule resting on his shoulders and probably little opportunity to spend his spare time in such an establishment. A smaller, more terrible voice whispers that after meeting Lestrade, he may have given up on coming here so as to not hurt his career. Or maybe Lestrade was not up to Mycroft’s standards...

That Saturday night, Lestrade sits back at the bar and orders something to drink when the employee comes over from the foyer and puts a key card next to his glass. Lestrade looks blankly into the smiling face.

"The request was barely five minutes in there, it was accepted by a guest," he explains. "I hope it meets your expectations!"

"T-thank you," Lestrade stammers and takes the card. He drinks his glass, takes a deep breath and heads for the elevator to go up to the second floor. He stops in front of the door with the number 23 and looks around for the cameras that are fastened to the ceiling of the corridor, then he presses the handle and enters the room.

 

*

 

Mycroft sits tensely in his chair, watching the inspector's movements on the various monitors mounted on the wall behind the desk. From the first second, when Lestrade entered the building, to the moment he arrived in front of the room, Mycroft did not take his eyes off him.

In front of him is the tablet with the calendar open. Cuprum entered almost daily in the last week, and always with the same request. What was the inspector's intention? Already the previous evening, Mycroft sat in his small room, safe and shielded from the outside world, and watched Lestrade suspiciously.

Nobody answered the request. Same as the previous days. Not a single guest comes here looking for a conversation partner, let alone act as a passive listener. The idea that Lestrade wants to repeat the experience – maybe even with him, Mycroft – is ridiculous, unthinkable. It is more likely that Lestrade took pleasure in not seeing his partner, enjoyed the secrecy, the thrill of doing something forbidden. So why the research on his unknown partner?

Because it went without saying Mycroft immediately noticed that someone was trying to follow his tracks. Find him. Expose him. But that would never happen again.

 

+++

tbc

 

Chapter Text

Room 23 has purple covers and curtains. The bed frame, the nightstands and the dresser are made of light wood. The few lamps strewn around the room have round shades which are open at the top, creating a mysterious atmosphere. On the whole, the room differs only in colour from the others.

Lestrade looks around, rummages in the drawers and in the narrow bathroom, paces restlessly and nervously rubs his hands. Impatient, he looks at his watch and walks up to the window, but the shutters are lowered and it seems impossible to open them without a key. Lestrade snorts. He throws himself on the bed with a bit too much energy and the mattress creaks under his weight.

It should be ready anytime now. An employee will soon come into the room and explain his partner’s terms. Set the rules for the game. Possibly tie him up again, although there are no rails or anything of the kind here. Not so similar after all. But he has to admit that he did not care to be tied up. Maybe his partner has come up with something different. Or this time he will completely refrain from restraining Lestrade. Maybe he will not even blindfold him.

Lestrade tries to imagine how he will react – should react – if it really were Mycroft, who came into the room and confronted him face to face. His heart constricts at the thought. They would have to talk ... about the last time. They would have to decide if it would happen again. If it could. At the thought that Mycroft has only had him brought here to explain that they would not be meeting again, that it was all a mistake, Lestrade bites down on his lower lip. He doesn't want that. On the contrary. He wants to see Mycroft – or at least touch him, be touched in return and feel the proximity to the strange man.

And if it's not him? If I'm wrong? Lestrade muses, gritting his teeth. He likes this idea even less.

Another look at the clock tells him that more than fifteen minutes have already passed. He sighs softly, gets up, wanders around the room, deep in thought.

Will he beat around the bush or go straight to the point? Tense, he stops, shoves his hands in his pockets and clenches them into fists. His gaze is directed straight at a camera.

"Is this a test?" He asks, speaking to Mycroft, who is sitting somewhere watching him over a monitor, but he doesn’t want to reveal himself and announce to the whole establishment that he has (probably) figured out who his secretive partner is. He can’t even imagine how many viewers have just randomly switched to his screen. For a moment he thinks he’ll be caught and dragged off as soon as he leaves the establishment if he was stupid enough to mention Mycroft's name within these four walls, as if he was in a bad thriller.

"Okay... I can wait," he says to the empty room and sits back on the bed, leaning on his arms which are propped on the mattress behind him, his eyes still fixed on the black camera eye. Minute creeps by, one after the other.

If anyone is watching, it must be the most boring show in the world. Lestrade shakes his head slightly at the thought.

"Right... I wanted someone to listen to me... now I have someone who sees and hears me, but who I can’t see or hear. I don’t know if there even is anyone... and this is not remotely close to my request – but if this is all I get..." He curls his lips, passes a hand through his grey hair and sighs audibly.

"...then at least you should have what you came for," Lestrade says, getting up and starting to unbutton his shirt. "Of course, I could be wrong, but seeing how hard you've been trying to hide your identity, I imagine I'm dealing with the same person and you're still unwilling to show yourself. No one else has responded to my request or even suggested me something else." Lestrade slips his shirt over his shoulders and drops it to the ground. Purposely, he puts his right hand on his collarbone, and from there slowly caresses his way down his chest to his black belt.

"I would have let myself be blindfolded again..." He leisurely opens the buckle and pulls the belt through the loops of his waistband, dropping it carelessly. "Would have let myself be tied up again..." He loosens the button of his trousers, slowly pulls down the zipper, "If you had insisted that I not touch you..." Without haste he slips out of his shoes and pushes the fabric of his trousers down his legs. "Although I really enjoyed that very much..." He pulls his underwear down over his hips and in the same motion, sits on the edge of the bed, gets rid of the last clothes that cover his body.

Naked he slips into the middle of the bed and sinks back into the pillows, locking eyes with the camera on the wall above the headboard. A smile plays around the corners of his mouth as his hands move slowly over his body.

 

*

 

Mycroft sits spellbound in his chair. The fingers of his left hand claw unconsciously into the armrest, while the thumb of his right hand beats against his chin. His breathing is shallow and quick. He feels the breaths on the back of his hand. His chest feels too tight, as if he has been hit by a train.

The four monitors show Room 23 in all its purple shades. They show Gregory Lestrade, who anxiously paces around the room, then finally begins to speak when it’s clear no one will join him. Mycroft actually wants to teach him a lesson. A lesson that Lestrade won’t soon forget. He must not insist on another encounter in such an obvious way. Mycroft wants to make it clear to him that there won't be - cannot be - another encounter and that Lestrade is waiting for a sign in vain.

But maybe – Mycroft only realises it now – it was not such a good idea to respond to Lestrade's request at all. Instead, he should have waited until Lestrade had given up, ignored him and looked into the other rooms. At the people who knew nothing about him; who did not demand his physical presence and who did not succeed in crashing through his defences.

But Mycroft has to admit that the temptation had been too strong. He wanted to see Lestrade under these circumstances, see how he behaved, how he would react to his refusal. But instead of the anger he'd been expecting, Lestrade took the offensive and is now lying naked on the bed, sprawled in the sheets, his big hands roving all over his own body.

Mycroft gasps for air. The deliberate way in which Lestrade touches himself, the way he drifts over his chest and stomach, over his hips and groin, how his fingers explore every dip and curve as if they were doing it for the first time, and at the same time with such openness, leaves him gaping. He almost chokes at the sight and the desire to swap Lestrade's hands for his own is pulsating painfully hard between his legs.

His jaw audibly snaps closed, and he uses all of his willpower to resist the urge to match Lestrade’s hands and touch himself the same way. Instead, he watches as Lestrade slowly rubs his own erection with one hand while the other continues to caress his body, touching a nipple first, then the tight testicles. A deep, lustful sigh echoes against the walls of the purple room, sending goose bumps down Mycroft’s spine which feel as intense as claws digging into his flesh.

"I've thought about you a lot," Lestrade mumbles between heaving breaths and looks again directly into the camera’s eye above the bed. Mycroft looks at the monitor, which shows the other man's full face and he inhales sharply.

"How you embraced me... Kissed me... God, your mouth... Hng... How you just took what you wanted... What you needed... Oh... Every night I dream about it... Imagine... Ah... Imagine how your hands held us both, how you rubbed yourself on me, so eager... Fuck... And... And how you pushed your fingers in you to loosen yourself... My God... I would have liked to see that... " Panting, Lestrade writhes in the sheets and under the firm grip of his own hands, closes his eyes and throws his head to one side as an ecstatic shudder passes through him.

"When I was finally allowed to touch you... Ah... You felt so good... So damn... Hmm... good..." Lestrade's hand moves faster over his reddened erection and makes a small flick over the swollen head to increase the intensity of the friction. "I wish... Hng... You were here right now... Ah, fuck!" Lestrade's gasp turns into a choppy moan as he comes and white strings of cum shoot over his fingers and belly. His body is tense, his feet press into the mattress and lift his hips off the bed. With his free hand he claws his pillow and almost tears it apart.

Mycroft must have forgotten how to breathe. Only when his body protests painfully does he remember to breathe in lungfuls of air and blinks against the burning dryness of his eyes. Heart pounding and pulse racing, everything inside him feels strangely cramped and tense, as if he's been stuck in a straitjacket for years, limiting all his bodily functions. Exhausted he puts his elbows on the table and hides his face in his hands, unable to look at Lestrade. The desire to touch, to be touched, is almost unbearable and claws relentlessly through his bowels.

"You can’t hide forever. You'll wither away if you never let anyone in." Lestrade's quiet words are like a slap in his face. "Nothing can be so important that you completely ignore your own needs. And it's obvious you crave intimacy. I... " Mycroft hits the table in anger and switches off the sound.

What do you know about my needs? People only cause problems, always trying to outdo others, to get the best place under the sun. Sentiment is only found on the losing side!

Ice fills his veins, frost covers his skin and crackles in his ears. With dogged determination, he wipes the confusing emotions off the surface of his thoughts and gathers himself to focus on more important things. From his trouser pocket, he fetches a memory stick and puts it into the tablet. A black window appears with a few lines of code. He opens the keypad and types in a command. A fast-fill bar appears, indicating that data is being deleted from the system.

The video from Room 23 and its annotation in the calendar are wiped clean.

As soon as he's done, Mycroft leans back in his chair, resting his elbows on the armrests and placing his fingertips in front of his chin. Waiting, he looks at the muted screens and watches as Lestrade leaves the establishment. His mind races, weighing the pros and cons, discussing and rejecting each of them with himself. Something must be done, and soon. Lestrade is becoming a problem, a problem that he, Mycroft, created himself.

 

*

 

Lestrade steps on the street and lights a cigarette, takes a drag and blows the smoke skyward with a sigh. Heavy, grey clouds hang over London and obscure the stars. A cold wind seeps under his dark grey jacket and makes him shudder. Smoking, he makes his way to the nearest tube station. Just as he wants to descend the stairs into the underground, his mobile phone vibrates. He pulls it out of his jacket’s pocket and checks the display.

A text message from an unknown number. Since he hears the rattle of the train approaching, he puts his phone away and hurries towards the platform, flicks the cigarette on the tracks and dives into the compartment. Only a few people are still travelling at this hour. A couple of teens bent over a mobile phone laugh while commenting a video. Lestrade stands next to the door and leans back against his shoulder, folding his arms protectively over his chest. The ground under his feet is sticky with spilled beer.

He feels weird. The world around him seems unreal and drab. Like an endless, black ocean. No island nearby, no boat to take him. He is lonely in this big city that is full of people and dreams, and yet so terribly empty.

The train shoots out of the tunnel and the lights of the houses and street lights flash in the distance like stars. Microcosm. He’s so cold. A beeping sound catches his attention. He watches as the owner of the phone interrupts the video to his friend’s loud indignation and accepts the incoming call.

Lestrade recalls the message from the unknown number and pulls his own mobile phone out of his pocket to read it. He opens the inbox and his breath catches.

Friday. Same place, same time.

 

+++

tbc

 

Chapter Text

When Friday finally comes, Lestrade's anxiety has skyrocketed so high that he pushes back from his desk almost an hour earlier than usual. Without further ado, he slips on his trench coat and decides to take some files home to work on over the weekend since he can’t seem to focus on anything at the moment anyway.

"Sir? I just wanted to have a word with you," Sergeant Donovan says just as Lestrade exits his office and closes the door. His lips pressed tightly together, he turns to her with a questioning look. "I talked to the owner of the bar in whose backyard the body was found and..."

"That will have to wait. I have an urgent appointment... " Lestrade says, adjusting his collar and trying to mask his anxiety with a scowl. Ignoring his colleague, Lestrade goes towards the elevators, but changes his mind at the last moment. The very idea of standing motionless in the elevator for any length of time is so repugnant to him that he prefers to take the stairs instead.

It takes a while to fight his way through London's afternoon traffic to get home. Once there, he takes a shower, shaves and brushes his teeth. His reflection regularly casts doubtful looks at him and he wonders if he has completely lost his mind. A more optimistic voice in his head argues that his monologue that night and perhaps even the show he put on in front of the cameras might have (hopefully) changed Mycroft's opinion for the better. That he is now ready to reveal himself and...

And what?

The invisible wall in his head is back and doesn't want to let him think any further than that. It stops him from being too hopeful. Face to face meetings with the man rarely end well in his experience.

On the way to the establishment, Lestrade's heart beats against his ribs as hard as if he had drunk too much coffee and was on a caffeine-induced high. The dull throbbing carries over to his whole body. In his mind, he repeatedly goes through possible dialogues and tries to come up with the right words to convince Mycroft that he does not mean him any harm.

Impatient, he hurries out of the station and walks towards the building, enters the foyer and can't suppress a smile when he sees the familiar staff behind the counter.

"Good evening, sir," the employee says immediately when he sees Lestrade who returns the smile. "You're a bit early, but it doesn't matter." Without further explanation, he pushes a key card in Lestrade's direction. He looks at it with puzzlement. Obviously, he’s already expected. "I was told to give you the key as soon as you arrived. You're welcome to go into the room if you want, or you can sit down at the bar for a moment. Your partner has not arrived yet."

"Okay... Can you let me know when he's here? I could do with a drink..." Lestrade replies. When the employee nods, Lestrade goes to the bar and orders a gin and tonic. With growing uneasiness, he turns the key card between his fingers and lets his gaze wander over those present, even though he's absolutely sure that Mycroft will not come to the bar and show his face in public.

In the hope that the employee would make an appearance soon, Lestrade looks over repeatedly towards the entrance. He appears just as Lestrade empties his drink, nods curtly at him and returns into the foyer. Lestrade's stomach makes an expectant lurch. His fingers tingle and he flushes hot then cold. Without further hesitation, Lestrade calls the elevator and goes up. He drums his fingers nervously on his thighs and follows with his eyes the little light that jumps from floor to floor. The elevator stops and Lestrade takes a deep breath before stepping out.

He looks around for a moment, orients himself, then gathers all of his doubts and tosses them out of his mind. The moment of truth has finally come and having a nervous breakdown now is not an option. He slides the key card into the reader and pushes the door to the room.

The room is familiar. Blue and white are the predominant colours. He goes to the centre of the room, looking at the dove-blue blanket on the bed and the headboard with the light hidden behind it, throwing indirect light against the wall. At the foot of the bed lies the blue blindfold, which is also familiar, even if he did not wear it himself. Next to it is a note barely larger than his palm. The letters on it were typed on a computer, not handwritten. Another way to hide one’s identity.

I will not enter the room before you put on the blindfold.

Lestrade frowns and puts the note in his pocket. A face to face conversation seems out of the question for Mycroft. What does he want then? To repeat the events and pretend that nothing else is going on?

There is nothing else!

Damn it.

Alright. He has not yet given up on his plan, but he will stick to Mycroft's conditions for now. After all, he will not get anywhere if they are not at least in the same room. Lestrade takes the blindfold, slides his fingers over the soft fabric and wraps it around his head, plucking it a little. A tight knot keeps it in place.

"Satisfied?" He asks, turning his palms up in a questioning gesture. To orient himself, he gets closer to the bed so that the outside of his lower leg touches the frame. This way he has the door in front of him and the window in the back so he does not feel as lost. He consciously avoids crossing his arms over his chest and instead tries to look inviting and open-minded about the events to come.

Nonetheless, a jolt flashes through his body when the door is opened and, a few moments later, pushed back into the lock. All his remaining senses reach out for the newcomer and try to anticipate what will happen next. His heartbeat and breathing have increased exponentially.

"Hi," he says, his voice more uncertain than he hoped. He swallows hard as he feels the other man pass him by. It's nothing more than a change in the light that he perceives through the fabric of his blindfold. An instantaneous sense of warmth spreads from a single touch on his right arm. Lestrade's senses extend like feelers, explore, analyse.

No…

Clearly audible, Lestrade gasps as two hands rest on his shoulder blades. For a long time, they just lie there, motionless, then stretch their fingers slowly, stroking the fabric of his shirt, follow the folds and the underlying muscles. They wander over his spine, waist, belly. The distance between their two bodies is reduced until the other man presses his chest against Lestrade's back and continues to caress his upper body. Nose and lips press into his neck.

No.

It's all wrong. The man behind Lestrade is at least half a head shorter than he should be. Hands are too narrow, fingers too short. The fragrance of sandalwood and moss is in the air, but the combination with the body's natural scent does not harmonise. It's not familiar at all. There's no similarity between this man and the one he came here for. It's all fake.

Lestrade sighs softly and reaches for the hand that lies on his stomach, loosens the grasp gently, then turns around so that they face each other. Without letting go of the hand, he slides his free fingers over the attached arm and shoulder, glides over the neck, his thumb rests under the chin of the other man. And tightens. A startled gasp resounds. A panicked hand claws at his sleeve.

Before fear can prevail, Lestrade presses his lips against the other man’s mouth. In an instant, he calms down, returns the kiss timidly, then more and more enthusiastically. The taste of rum and limes on Lestrade’s tongue. Short, soft hair between his fingers. Impatient, he roughly pulls on the shirt of his partner, pulls it over his head and gives him a push towards the bed.

He hears the other man fall back onto the mattress, then the rustle of more fabric and the clatter of a belt buckle. Clothes pushed over  skin. Lestrade briskly unbuttons his own shirt, slides it off his shoulders. Like a predator, he feels his way across the bed on all fours, stops and sits on his heels. His left arm brushes a bare leg. Lestrade strokes it, grabs the other thigh with his right hand and pulls the figure closer to him.

It looks like his partner was in a hurry to get rid of his clothes. Entirely bared, he lies on the bed, his legs splayed over Lestrade’s thighs. Lestrade leans forward, touches the tip of his nose against the soft stomach, licks his ribs and scrapes his teeth over a nipple. The soft sigh is like a painful stab through Lestrade's eardrums.

Wrong.

Curious fingers flit cross Lestrade's legs, over the rough fabric of his trousers, impatiently fumbling with buttons and zippers. Growling, Lestrade leans forward, leaving only a few millimetres between his face and the other's. "Are you kidding me? Another test?"

Lestrade feels the other man freeze, no longer daring to move. He sits back and raises his chin so that he looks more or less towards the camera. "Did you really think I wouldn't realise it wasn’t you?!"

"I'm sorry," the man on the bed says sheepishly. Lestrade knows the voice. It’s the guy with the abbreviation TJ, whom he met in this very room for the first time. Should that be a friendly reminder of why Lestrade originally came here? Why both of them – he and Mycroft, or whoever his mysterious stranger is – come here?

"Get dressed," he tells TJ feebly and turns away to move to the edge of the bed. "Do you mind if I take this shit off my eyes? I won't look at you if you don’t want me to... " Lestrade asks, resting his elbows on his knees. TJ hesitates, but then gives his consent as soon as he has put on his pants. As Lestrade quietly cusses, he flinches.

"Can you wait a little while? The cameras turn off as soon as one of us leaves the room... and I have another bone to pick with someone," Lestrade growls, looking into the camera across from the bed.

"I... don’t think that's a very good idea... I don’t want to get involved in any quarrel. Sorry... "

"Alright. I hope you at least got something out of it, otherwise you were played a fool as much as I was," Lestrade hisses, his eyes still fixed on the black camera eye. TJ doesn’t answer. A few moments later, he leaves the room and the red lights on the cameras go out.

Gritting his teeth, Lestrade rubs his face. He is terribly angry and at the same time terribly disappointed. Inside, anger seethes and rips him apart, enough to take his breath away. Again and again, the same question runs through his head, cuts into all his thoughts, shreds every rational answer.

Why?!

 

*

 

Mycroft stares at the black screen. Motionless, he remains in his chair, unblinking. He’s afraid. Afraid of falling apart if he moves even an inch.

His head is strangely empty. The whirring of the surrounding electronics is almost deafeningly loud. He can't grasp a single thought, so he can't analyse or understand the situation. He made a mistake. He is aware of it somewhere on the surface of his mind, but he can't say what.

Why did he put Lestrade to the test...

Why did he need to know if Lestrade would realise another man had been sent to his room...

Why did it matter to him that Lestrade wanted him and no other – contrary to what this sort of establishment suggests.

Why did he push him away – and why would he push him away, again and again, if Lestrade got too close again.

Why does he always reject the chance to feel something.

 

+++

 

tbc

 

Chapter Text

Lestrade is angry. He's fucking mad. In the past ten hours, his anger has only intensified with every thought. It eats through his bowels like fire, burns in his veins and glowers like a nugget of coal in the pit his stomach. Every word he grits through his clenched jaw and pursed lips seems to be darkened by smoke and ashes.

He has to do something to calm down. To regain control of his life and escape from the puppeteer's clutches. Mycroft Holmes, who manipulate not only his work, but his off time too. And now, his heart and his mind. He's reached his limit. He's at his breaking-point. Lestrade will not tolerate anymore of it, or he will go up in flames and tear everything down with him.

Given the state he's in, he decides to take a cab instead of driving his own car and risking an accident. As distracted and agitated as he is, he can't focus on the traffic. Shortly before he reaches his destination, he digs out a few bills from his wallet and throws them in the driver’s lap without comment before getting out and slamming the door behind him.

It’s only a few steps to the white building with its entrance flanked by columns and high windows. His loud knock must have been heard throughout all the rooms. It only takes a few instants for the door to open. A butler in dark grey trousers and a black tailcoat stands in the frame and looks expectantly at the inspector.

"Holmes," Lestrade growls through clenched teeth and glares at the domestic grimly. When he only raises a sceptical eyebrow, Lestrade reaches into the inside pocket of his trench coat and brings out his police badge. "Immediately," he adds belligerently and notes the butler's pinched expression. He clears his throat softly and steps aside so that Lestrade can enter, but keeps a pointed forefinger in front of his pursed lips and points to a sign with the other which stands barely a foot away and blocks the passage into the corridor.

ABSOLUTE SILENCE is written on it and below: Disregard will lead to the immediate removal of the offender.

Gritting his teeth, Lestrade follows the butler through the anteroom into the drawing room and lets his gaze wander over those present. Tables are arranged at regular intervals against the panelled wall and near the windows, each space lit with an old-fashioned lamp which remind Lestrade of jellyfish. Sitting around them are one or, less often, two armchairs. A good half of the seats are occupied by older gentlemen, reading newspapers or magazines from all over the world in silent harmony.

Mycroft is sitting by the cold fireplace, leafing through the London Times when the butler walks up to him and, without saying a word, draws the man's attention. A few nimble hand signs drawn in the air later, he points to the inspector. Satisfaction flares up in Lestrade's stomach when he sees Mycroft's face lose all colour, but he catches his slip and puts up his usual cold mask. Mycroft nods stiffly to the butler, who immediately withdraws.

With determined steps, Lestrade approaches Mycroft and looms in front of him. He just wants to start talking, but a slight shake of the head and a menacing sparkle in Mycroft's eyes make him pause. Right, absolute silence. Again, anger is building up in Lestrade and he clenches his hands into fists, thinking about how he could express the words that burn on the tip of his tongue.

Mouth pinched and eyes narrowed, he pulls a piece of paper out of his trouser pocket and throws it into Mycroft's lap. He barely dares to breathe while Mycroft grabs the crumpled note and unfolds it.

Mycroft stares blankly at the words. I will not enter the room before you put on the blindfold. Damn it. This piece of paper was a stupid idea, he thinks and curses inwardly. Waiting, he looks at Lestrade and raises an eyebrow quizzically. The angry twinkle in Lestrade's eyes causes his stomach to churn, expecting a fit of rage from the other man. Cold shivers run down his back. Under no circumstances can he speak up. Not to Lestrade, not with the gentlemen present.

Lestrade, obviously not pleased with the lack of reaction, frowns, a deep crease forms between his eyebrows. He leans forward, puts his hands on the armrests of the chair, and forces Mycroft to lean back as far as possible. His gaze pierces the other man.

Mycroft can’t stop his eyes from widening in surprise at the sudden proximity of the other man. He did not expect the sudden invasion of his personal space. A protest almost escapes him when Lestrade grabs his left hand and holds it up so that both of them can clearly see the faded bite-marks. Whatever Mycroft wished to say, if he were allowed to do so, suddenly flies right out of his mind. His eyes flick between his hand and Lestrade's face. Of course, Mycroft is aware of the bruises he has inflicted on himself when trying to stifle his moans. There is still a slight discoloration of the skin, even though the worse of the damage has already healed. But how, and when did Lestrade find out about them?

Mycroft is anxiously going through their last encounters. It must have been either at the event at New Scotland Yard or in front of that same building. But that is not important right then, the damage has already been done. He snatches his hand out Lestrade's grasp and looks at him angrily. Something in Lestrade's face changes. It's just a slight twitch of the eyebrows, a flicker in the eyes, the flutter of eyelashes. Anxiety. He is aware that direct confrontation with Mycroft is dangerous. And yet...

Mycroft takes a deep breath before he stands. Immediately Lestrade retreats to give him enough space. Without turning to look at him, Mycroft walks slowly past the other club members and turns into a corridor. The sound of steps behind him confirms that Lestrade is following.

With each step, Mycroft's heart beats harder in his chest. He feverishly considers how he should handle the situation, how he can avoid the inevitable crisis. Deny? A bruised hand and a meaningless typewritten note are no proof he is connected to that establishment and the encounters within.

They reach the end of the corridor. Mycroft opens the door to his office and closes it once Lestrade has entered. The sound of the lock falling into place echoes loudly in his ears.

"You can talk in here, Inspector. How may I help you?" Mycroft asks softly, but coolly, and walks around his desk to purposely distance himself from Lestrade. However, he misjudged the tension in the room. He notes how Lestrade clenches his hands into fists, but does not dare look him in the eye. Instead, he fixes a point behind Lestrade, to give at least a halfway forthcoming appearance.

When Lestrade doesn't answer, he clears his throat and places the crumpled piece of paper on the table. "Need help with a case? Actually, that's more Sherlock's metier. I do not have time for... "

"Is this a joke?" Lestrade growls darkly.

"I could ask the same of you," Mycroft counters. "You burst in here unannounced, throw me this cryptic note, and don't even have the decency to explain yourself. I can't imagine that the message is really meant for me?"

Tense silence builds up between them like an invisible wall.

"Well?" Mycroft asks at some point, a hint of impatience in his voice. "I don’t have all day."

Lestrade's Adam's apple bobs in his throat as he swallows nervously. Uncertainty. Fear of the consequences of his momentary courage. Maybe the game is not lost yet, Mycroft thinks. He rolls his eyes theatrically and sighs as if aggravated.

"So if you do not..."

"Why did you send another man in the room?" Lestrade asks straight out, cutting him off. His eyes are locked on Mycroft. "You have some secretive position in the British government, but you don’t have the guts to tell me that you don't want to see me again? Instead, you decide to play with me. Test me. Throw me a bone just to see how I'll react?! What kind of reaction were you expecting to get, dammit?!"

Mycroft presses his lips together, hardly daring to breathe. He uses all of his willpower to hold back the feelings that threaten to burst out. His all-consuming yearning and loneliness that have accompanied him for so long. Lestrade saw through him. There is no reason to deny it and yet, he simply can't accept this situation. There must be some way to convince Lestrade he’s wrong; that this fixed idea he has is nothing more than an illusion. Rooted to the spot, he watches as Lestrade walks around the table, his eyes locked on him as if he were ready to pounce on him if Mycroft tried to flee. Mycroft struggles inwardly, careful not to let his troubled inner turmoil shine through.

Lestrade stops only a few inches from Mycroft. They don't touch, but the feeling of intimacy is undeniable. He lets his gaze wander over Mycroft's figure, even if the calm is deceptive, he is aware that he may be making a tremendous mistake that can cost him everything. And yet he cannot restrain himself; he must put all his cards down.

"Did I make you speechless?" Lestrade whispers in a husky voice.

"I cannot fathom how you come up with these absurd ideas, Inspector, but you're mistaken. I do not know which man or room you are speaking of. I..."

"Long ago, I learned that I can't rely solely on my eyes," Lestrade says, leaning a little closer to Mycroft. He still does not touch him, but he comes close enough for him to clearly discern Mycroft's fragrance. A thin, extremely satisfied smile appears on his lips. "I know how you smell. That alone would be enough for me to recognise you amongst a hundred other people..." His smile widens as he sees a touch of pink on Mycroft's cheeks, which he tries to blink away in vain.

"I know how you taste. Your kisses, your skin... I know how you sound when passion overcomes you; when you come and... "

"Stop!" Mycroft gasps suddenly and pulls away from the other man's words and proximity, putting some distance between them again. The words resonate in his head like a never ending echo. He can feel the blood pulsing through his veins. Before he has completely turned away though, Lestrade grabs his wrist and holds him back.

"I also know what you do when you don't want to be heard," Lestrade growls, his gaze firmly locked on Mycroft's. The middle and index fingers caress the bruises without letting go of the hand.

"Do not touch me," Mycroft demands coldly, "And keep your insolence to yourself!" In contrast to his cool-distant appearance, he mentally claps his hands over his mouth. His heart is racing wildly in his chest and threatens to tear itself apart. The inspector's gaze only exacerbates that feeling. Disappointment and pain are written across his face. His brown eyes flicker uneasily, uncertain as he becomes aware of his defeat.

"How can someone so passionate be so cold at the same time? Do you think I don’t realise how lonely you are? How much you long for closeness? From someone who damn well needs it as much as you do?! Why the hell can't you see that I don’t mean you any harm?" Furious, Lestrade lets go of Mycroft's wrist. "People do stupid things when they are lonely and desperate, Mycroft. You’ve already gone down that path and you don’t even realise it! But the solution to your problem is standing right in front of you! "

Mycroft is still trembling inside, he doesn’t know how to respond to the inspector's words and looks fixedly at a spot on his desk. He does not dare move and hopes that he will wake up from this nightmare and everything will be as it should. The scuffing of shoes on the floor makes him sit up and assess the situation. Halfway between the desk and the door, Lestrade stops and turns to face him again.

"You're a coward, Mycroft. But I understand that. You don’t want to risk your career, even if you don’t know whether your fears are justified or not. Maybe you should trust your fellow humans a bit more," Lestrade says calmly with a sad smile. A queasy feeling is spreading inside him. He cannot judge if Mycroft will take revenge for this affront, but Lestrade is ready to live with the consequences.

After all, he tried. But he won't be rid of the loneliness which crushes his heart and steals his breath away.

A spark of hope flickers out, unseen, leaving only darkness in its stead.

 

+++

tbc

 

Chapter Text

Andrea* enters the gloomy office with smooth movements. Only the soft light of the lamp with the dark green glass shade illuminates her boss’ desk like a deserted island in the middle of nowhere. She walks over to him without ever having to look up from her mobile phone, on which she quickly types with her thumb. In her other hand, she holds a tulip-shaped whisky glass filled with the usual thirty-five millilitres of Balblair.

When Andrea comes to a halt next to her boss' chair, her sharp gaze flits over the pile of files that have accumulated there and she sighs quietly to herself. For days, Mycroft has been working on all sorts of backlogged paperwork, which is usually forwarded to his assistants directly. The sun has set hours ago and the two of them are now alone in the office. She doesn’t care that no one asked if she wanted to work overtime, but Andrea is slowly but surely becoming worried about the man before her.

Lately, the cramped shoulders and deep crease between his eyebrows ruffle the otherwise dignified figure of her boss. Mycroft has not visited the Diogenes Club nor the other establishment – which Andrea does not know about officially, but has found out about nonetheless – in the past two weeks. Instead, his bad mood has now reached heights that Andrea has never experienced before.

She sets down the glass on the heavy oak table, pushes her mobile phone into the pocket of her black tailored trousers and crosses her arms as she clears her throat. Absent-mindedly, Mycroft reaches for the glass and sips the honey-coloured whiskey. He thanks her monosyllabically and sets the glass back in order to rest his elbows on the table and intertwine his fingers in front of his face. His eyes are fixed on the computer’s monitor this whole time. Colour faded images of the CCTV network are displayed on it in numerous tiles. They all display busy squares in different parts of London.

Since the recordings are played at a higher speed, it is obviously not a live broadcast. Andrea tries to identify a pattern but cannot explain who or what her boss is looking for or wants to control. When Mycroft's hand suddenly jumps forward and presses a button, the pictures take on their conventional speed. The leather covered armchair creaks loudly as the man leans back. A glimpse tells Andrea that he has clenched his jaw tightly.

One of the tiles shows the street in front of a pub from which several people have just stepped out. They exchange a few last words, finally say goodbye to each other with friendly gestures. Two men stay behind, continue their conversation and laugh. Andrea identifies one of them as Detective Inspector Lestrade, who was obviously having some after-work drink with his colleagues. The other man must therefore be a policeman, however, she doesn’t recognise him as he stands with his back to the camera attached on the opposite street corner.

Andrea blinks and glances back at her boss’ face. Puzzled, she takes note of the hard lines around his mouth and eyes, which anyone else would have misinterpreted as focus. But Andrea has been working long enough for Mycroft Holmes, who is not as subordinate to the British government as he likes to claim. The likelihood there’s a deeper reason behind his study of the two policemen, is therefore, obvious. Corruption, maybe, or infiltration of the homicide division, Andrea muses, pressing her red lips together.

On the monitor she observes Inspector Lestrade pull out his mobile phone and type in something, while the unknown policeman scratches the back of his head self-consciously. Lestrade swipes across the display and seconds later, the other man picks up his own mobile phone, casually presses to end the incoming call and shoves it back into his pocket. An exchange of private telephone numbers. The two men finally say goodbye to each other and go their separate ways. But Lestrade stops after a few steps, turns around and looks after the other man, a suggestive smile playing around his lips.

Andreas's left eyebrow leaps up suspiciously when Mycroft makes a frustrated sound which he does not seem to be aware of himself. Unusual.

Oh. Oh...

"Sir? I will go now. You should also call it a day," Andrea asserts and marches towards the door without a second glance at the unsteady pile of files. Her hand on the doorknob, she turns towards Mycroft again. "By the way, an apology can work wonders, sir, but you mustn’t wait too long."

Mycroft Holmes's puzzled look is probably scorched into her mind for life, but she will only use the memory on special occasions. When she wants to change her boss’ opinion, for example.

 

*

 

"I understand. Thank you for your help." Lestrade hangs up the phone and makes a few final notes in the file before slamming them shut and putting them aside. The knock on the door to his office makes him look up. Frank stands in the doorway and straightens the collar of his jacket.

"I’m ready," he says. His mouth quirks into a tentative smile.

"Me too." Lestrade gets up, glances again at the files on his desk, then reaches for his trench coat hanging over the back of the chair and slips it on. He walks over to the elevator with his colleague and descends to the ground floor. They unanimously decided to use public transport so that they can drink alcohol freely.

It's the second night they go to a pub together to finish off the day. Already at the event, when Hopkins had received his award, Lestrade had gotten along well with Frank. His younger colleague is new to the team and actively sought out contact with him. Whether he just wants to brown-nose his boss or is actually looking for some kind of friendship, Lestrade isn’t sure yet, but he’s a welcome distraction.

He increasingly feels the stress of everyday life pressing down heavily on his shoulders; he loses himself in his work but finds no release, no peace. He hasn’t returned to the establishment since the last incident. That place had helped him clear his head for a while, but the thought of Mycroft watching him again, hiding behind the cameras and pretending that nothing at all happened between them infuriates him.

For a few days, Lestrade thought about looking around and visiting another such place, but the idea remained just that. Everything in him rebelled at the thought. He’s still haunted by images from that night, when he unknowingly shared a room with Mycroft Holmes. He can still feel the other man under his hands, smell his fragrance. The sensual movements and timid moanings of that night are such a stark contrast to the icy face and abject fear Mycroft projected in the Diogenes Club that he feels an acute sense of loss throbbing dully inside him.

Frank, on the other hand, meets Lestrade with an open smile, funny conversations and last but not least, supports the same football team. Neither of them are worried that the team could lose today's game against the bottom of the barrel, so the mood is relaxed as they sip their glasses and focus more on their conversation than the various monitors fixed to the walls. Frank confides himself about his family (three older sisters, parents already deceased) and his enthusiastic desire to improve the world a bit through his work.

Lestrade smiles softly as he talks. He remembers the time when he himself was hopeful that his mission would change something in the world, but reality quickly caught up with him. He does not miss the fact that Frank stares at him every time he turns to look at the screens to find out the score. Perhaps his interest goes beyond the desire for purely collegial contact, Lestrade thinks. Frank is a very handsome guy with silky brown hair and bright grey eyes. The slender lips are curled into a welcoming smile most of the time. Clearly defined muscles are visible under his sleeves and indicate regular working-out. His attitude is open and accommodating, without being obtrusive.

Surely it would be easy for Lestrade to give the conversation a flirty undertone and explore whether Frank actually has any interest in him. But the idea doesn’t really appeal to Lestrade. On the one hand, they work in the same department and, if possible, they want to spare themselves the inevitable tension that would result from it in the office. On the other hand, Frank is almost twenty years younger than him, which is more of an ego boost than he wants to admit. But how could he keep up with such a young lad in the long run?

"I'll get another beer," Lestrade says and slips out of their booth. Frank reaches into his pocket to get some change, but Lestrade waves it off with a smile. At the bar, he orders two glasses and glances up at the television while he waits. His gaze hangs halfway down the mirror wall behind the bar and scans the room. He swallows hard when he spots a familiar figure.

Although he behaves inconspicuously, the man in the three-piece suit stands out clearly amongst the other patrons present. Mycroft Holmes is sitting at a small table pushed against one of the wood-panelled walls. He holds a glass of amber liquid, smelling it skeptically. After a sip, his face grimaces in disbelief for a fraction of a second and he pushes it away from him.

Lestrade can’t fight back a grin. He imagines Mycroft – hoping for a decent drink – has ordered the pub's most expensive whiskey and now faces the bitter reality: that even the best drop in the house can’t compete with the brands he is probably used to. The touch of cheerfulness does not last long however. Instead, Lestrade’s mind rebels as if it suddenly remembered how he and Mycroft had parted ways the last time.

Why are you here?

Lestrade absent-mindedly sucks his lower lip between his teeth and bites on it. A man like Mycroft stands out like a sore thumb in such a pub. Is he waiting for someone? Or is he here for something else entirely? Lestrade unconsciously passes a hand through his hair and mutters a curse.

Don’t even think that he could be here because of you...

Two large glasses of beer are placed on the counter in front of Lestrade. He pays and brings them back to the table, puts one in front of Frank and sits down again. Frank comments on the last moves, but Lestrade can’t focus on what he said. Again and again his mind wanders off as he thinks of the man on the other side of the pub, thinks about what reasons might have brought him here.

"I'm sorry," Lestrade says finally, "I just saw a friend and... must discuss something with him." He shrugs apologetically and reaches for his beer. "Don’t wait for me... see you at the Yard on Monday." He feels Frank's puzzled look on his back as he rises from the bench and meanders through the tables. His heart is pounding nervously down his throat. A mixture of excitement and worry pumps through his veins.

As he sets the glass down noisily on the table and sits on the vacant chair, Mycroft at least has the grace to look surprised for a tiny moment. The cool, blue eyes flit all over Lestrade’s figure before finally coming to rest on his face. Lestrade is quite disappointed Mycroft doesn’t make a sound. Not even a simple greeting, which would have been common courtesy, makes it across those thin lips.

"How’s the whiskey?" Lestrade finally asks, cursing inwardly at the uncertainty in his voice.

Mycroft leans back in an attempt to seem relaxed, but the fingers of his right hand curl into a loose fist as if to ward off an imminent danger. "I would not recommend it," he answers so softly that it is barely audible.

"Most people come here for a beer," Lestrade says, leaning on his crossed forearms, eyes still on Mycroft. "And for the football games. I didn’t think either would interest you." Lestrade can’t hide the teasing tone in his voice. He smiles mischievously as their eyes cross.

"That's not why I'm here," Mycroft says, aloof, and holds his gaze. In the end, it's Lestrade who looks away and reaches for his beer to relieve his parched throat.

"On a secret mission?"

"So to speak..."

Annoyed, Lestrade looks back at him. They wouldn’t make progress if they continued with this charade. Lestrade thinks that perhaps Mycroft came to see him after all – even though Mycroft did not confirm it – and it's the only apology he can expect. The confrontation at the Diogenes Club had not been met with the terrible consequences he’d feared, so Lestrade can probably assume that at least a little bit of what he told Mycroft hit a nerve.

Lestrade looks down at his clasped hands and takes a deep breath before he raises his head and looks directly at Mycroft. "Go out with me."

Mycroft stares back at the inspector as if he were expecting a laugh or some other hint that it was a joke.

"No," he finally replies.

Lestrade bites his lips, looks to the side. His eyes flit over the patrons present. He breathes in a few times before venturing to look at Mycroft again. He's still watching him carefully.

"One evening. We go eat something, talk. No games. No gestures that could embarrass you or your reputation. I leave you the choice of location, so you can feel comfortable there."

Mycroft opens his mouth to say something, but Lestrade interrupts him. "It's the last time I ask you. If you say no now, that's it. I will not chase after you for the rest of my life."

For a few moments, the two men look at each other silently. Lestrade feels himself getting more and more nervous with every breath, but tries not to let on. Whether Mycroft sees through him or not, he cannot say. He looks directly into the other man’s blue eyes and tries in vain to guess his thoughts. As long as Mycroft doesn't leave though, there's still hope.

"All right," Mycroft finally says, standing up. "I'll contact you in due course." Without turning back, Mycroft leaves the pub.

Lestrade looks after him, mouth agape.

He actually... agreed!

 

+++

tbc

 

Chapter Text

Two weeks go by with no news from Mycroft. Lestrade has almost given up hope and must come to the conclusion that Mycroft just wanted to get rid of him by agreeing to the appointment. It's Wednesday night and Lestrade comes home after a long day at the Yard with aching limbs. He wants nothing more than a hot shower, a delicious sandwich and his bed. Tired, he slips out of his shoes and stretches.

In the bedroom, he gets rid of his suit and underwear, goes naked into the bathroom and turns on the shower. Once the water has warmed up, he stands beneath the stream and sighs contentedly as the water splashes against his neck. Yawning, he washes his hair and lathers up. A noise makes him pause for a moment. He rolls his eyes with annoyance when he recognises the ringtone of his mobile phone. Without rush, he exits the shower, dries off, and wanders back to the bedroom to put on his washed-out jogging pants. Just as he pulled them over the hips, the phone rings again.

He digs it out of the suit trousers he wore during the day and looks at the display. It’s an unknown number. With a grimace, he picks up. "Lestrade."

"Since I have no more appointments tonight and your calendar also seems to be free, I'd like to consider your offer." It's Mycroft's voice on the other end of the line – polite, cool and as distant as ever.

Lestrade's pulse rate increases immediately, and a nervous flutter appears in his stomach. His exhaustion has suddenly vanished. "Good," he replies as calmly as possible, but cannot resist the smile that appears on his lips. Mycroft is true to his word. They will have their meeting. A real date. In public. This must be a big step for Mycroft Holmes, Lestrade thinks, switching the phone to his other hand.

"Where shall we meet?" He asks and combs his wet hair with his fingers as he looks at himself in the mirrored cabinet door.

"I’ll come to you."

Lestrade pauses and looks at his reflection’s confused eyes. "You’ll pick me up?" He asks, to clear up any misunderstanding.

"No, not exactly. You said I could pick the location. Well, this is it. We will eat together at your place. I'll bring something with me. I tried to call you earlier, but unfortunately you were unavailable, so I took the liberty of choosing something for you. I will arrive in a few minutes. Unless, of course, you have changed your mind."

The disparaging smile accompanying that voice does not escape Lestrade. Mycroft purposely leaves him no options, expecting him to backtrack or cancel. The mobile phone still glued to his ear, Lestrade goes back into the living room and makes a quick assessment of the room. It’s not tidy, but not overly messy either. Thankfully, he spends too little time within his own four walls to create too much chaos. But even if Mycroft takes a look at his less than perfect lifestyle, that would be fine too. After all, Lestrade does not intend to pretend being someone he's not.

"Not at all. I'm looking to forward to it," Lestrade replies, grinning as well. For a few seconds it's quiet on the other end of the line, then Mycroft hangs up without another comment. The smile on Lestrade's face widens. He won't give in so easily.

In a hurry now, he goes to his bedroom, grabs underwear and jeans from his dresser and changes into them. In his haste, he awkwardly gets stuck pulling on his trouser leg and stubs his big toe trying to free himself. Cursing, he buttons up his pants, then pulls a dark blue sweater made of light wool out of the closet, which he throws on the sofa in the living room. He reaches for the empty glass bottles and the two dirty mugs on the coffee table and brings them hobbling back into the kitchen.

Barely five minutes have past when the doorbell rings and a mixture of anticipation and restlessness makes Lestrade's stomach jump. On his way to the front door, he picks up the sweater and pulls it over his bare upper body. Hand on the latch, he breathes deeply one last time and finally opens the door.

 

*

 

Mycroft thinks he might be having an out-of-body experience. He sits in the back of his car and stares at the mobile phone in his hand, even though the conversation has long since ended. He absently slides his thumb over the rounded edge of the device. Once again, he wonders what in the devil's name he is doing.

Throughout the evening, his body functions remotely as if someone else had made the completely foreign decision to come here today. As if it were the most normal thing in the world to go on a date with someone who obviously wanted more from him than was possible. Strangely calm, Mycroft has observed himself and accepted all these circumstances without comment. Only his panicked heartbeat cannot calm down since he left his house.

The car stops in front of the building where Gregory Lestrade lives, and suddenly, Mycroft seems to be in control of his body again. Turmoil floods him, sends small quakes throughout his limbs. Breathing comes laboured out of his cramped lungs.

"Sir?" The voice of his driver sounds surprised as he keeps holding the door open for Mycroft who has not moved an inch.

"Please forgive me, I was thinking," Mycroft replies evasively, reaching for the fabric bag and the cardboard box lying on the seat next to him. "I'll call you as soon as I need you."

The driver nods curtly, closes the door again after his boss has gotten out and sits behind the wheel. Mycroft looks as he drives away, then walks up the few steps to the unlocked front door and enters the house. On the second floor, he finds two apartments, walks towards the one on the right and rings the bell. Hurried footsteps can be heard, then the door is flung open. Lestrade stands in the frame, a wry smile on his face. His hair is messy and still damp from the shower. He obviously just hastily put on the sweater, which he tugs at right then. Mycroft's gaze lingers a moment longer than planned on the V-neck framing a triangle of bare skin.

"Hi," Lestrade says simply and invites him into his home.

"Good evening," Mycroft says stiffly, following his lead. The hand around the cloth bag tightens unconsciously and Mycroft's flight instinct rattles his nerves. He is never this anxious, not even before major conferences that involve international political crises. It's ridiculous. Breathing deeply, he forces himself to calm down, turns to Lestrade and holds out his cardboard box.

"Oh, pizza! Fabulous!” Greg takes the pizza and places it on the small dining table near the window. Then he goes into the adjoining kitchen to get cutlery and plates. When he sees Mycroft pull a bottle of wine out of the fabric bag, he also takes out matching glasses and a corkscrew from the appropriate cabinets.

"I hope you like pineapple," Mycroft casually says as he takes off his coat and hangs it up next to Lestrade's trench coat. His mouth twitches, amused when he sees Lestrade's puzzled face and frown.

"Uh..."

"That was a joke. The likelihood you enjoy pineapple on your pizza is so low that it's not even worth the thought," Mycroft explains, reaching for the corkscrew that Lestrade gives him with a chuckle.

"I almost doubted your clairvoyant abilities!"

"I have no clairvoyant abilities, believe me. My life would be a lot easier if I did," Mycroft replies as he opens the bottle. Secretly, he wonders why the tension between them has instantly given way to good-natured familiarity. Lestrade's casual greeting, the apartment with all its many little details – the few pictures on the wall, the motorcycle magazines strewn about on the coffee table, the books (a colourful mix of technical and trivial literature) on the shelf behind Lestrade – and the never-ending smile on the man's face, all of it triggers a warm feeling in his heart.

"It is actually a combination of observation, probability and human knowledge."

Lestrade nods in understanding as he unfolds the cardboard box expectantly. Salami, chilli, mushrooms. A classic. Hungry, he reaches for a piece and pulls it along with its cheesy tentacles onto his plate, before reminding himself of his manners as he looks up to his guest. Mycroft pours wine, then reaches for knife and fork to place a piece of pizza on his plate as well.

"What should we toast to?" Greg asks, picking up one of the glasses and holding it up.

Mycroft mimics his gesture then looks at the inspector thoughtfully. "To..."

"...us."

"... a pleasant evening," whispers Mycroft at the same time and lets his gaze drop as soon as the glasses have delicately touched and clinked. He hesitates for a moment before bringing it to his mouth and taking a sip, because his heart has yet to catch up with the rest of his body. He struggles to fight down the blush that has lit his cheeks.

Oh, you foolish, foolish man... What are you doing here...?

He indecisively turns the stem of the wine glass between thumb and forefinger. The light from the ceiling lamp breaks through the dark liquid and casts a red spot of colour on the surface of the table. He resolutely leaves his glass and begins to eat some of the pizza. Unlike Lestrade, he uses his knife and fork, but he smiles when he sees Lestrade biting his pizza piece and sighing contentedly.

"I'm glad it tastes good. So..." Mycroft takes another sip of wine before continuing, "did you imagine it this way? This date with me?" He does not even try to hide the mocking tone in his voice. The likelihood that Lestrade will allow this meeting to masquerade as a date is rather small in his eyes.

Lestrade drops the pizza crust on the plate and licks tomato sauce from his index finger. All the while, his gaze lingers on Mycroft, who clearly feels his throat tighten.

"First and foremost, I want you to stop trying to put me off. It’s absolutely unnecessary and... considering what has happened between us, rather out of place,"  Lestrade replies calmly, leaning his elbows on the table.

Mycroft slowly reaches for his glass, leans back and brings it to his mouth again. It is nothing more than a wetting of the lips, but enough to discover the full-bodied taste of the red wine. Waiting, he looks at his counterpart, unwilling to acknowledge or reply to the sentiment.

He needs the distance. The delimitation. It’s his last bastion; the last layer of ice that lies between them. To give it up would mean facing a situation which could only lead to chaos.

"I was thinking we’d be going to a restaurant, to be honest. But considering how reluctant you are to be seen in a public setting or ambiguous situation, I should have expected this," Lestrade says with a shrug. "Besides, I have you all to myself."

Mycroft presses his narrow lips together and gives the inspector a thoughtful look. Lestrade's bluntness astonishes him time and time again. Someone with such loose lips and the tendency to blab is unpredictable, risk-wise. A risk that Mycroft cannot afford. He opens his mouth to put his concern in words, but Lestrade clearly anticipated it.

"No,"  he interrupts, calmly meeting Mycroft's indignant look.

"All right. I hope you realise that many of the things you said recently can cause serious problems. Not only for me, but for yourself as well. You're putting your career, your reputation on the line, and mine right along with it. I do not understand the benefit of such an association; I don't know what this will all lead to." Mycroft struggles to keep his expression as neutral as possible and control his shaking hands. He puts them under the table, on his thighs, and claws at the fabric of his trousers. Inwardly, he curses his treacherous body.

"At last you admit that it was you...", says Lestrade mischievously and bites into another piece of pizza. Too nervous to think about food Mycroft barely touched his.

"There's obviously little point in denying it..." Mycroft's heart leaps into his throat and he tries to calm it down with another sip of wine. The fingers that hold the fragile glass tremble treacherously and he puts it back down quickly lest he drops it by accident. He desperately wishes Lestrade would not stare at him so. "It was a mistake," he says softly.

"Had I not accidentally seen the traces on your wrist, your plan to secrecy would have worked out. I was quite surprised at the amount of work you put in to cover your tracks. Was it so dreadful to be with me?" Lestrade asks. The wound under the facade is clearly visible, the smile on his lips forced.

Mycroft clears his throat quietly and looks for a point in the room he can fix instead of facing Lestrade. Dreadful? God, no... He does not have the courage to answer the question.

"You have admitted to watching me before, so did you come into my room with the intention..." Lestrade makes a helpless gesture between them. "To have sex? I mean... Is it your usual way of doing things?"

“I've never gone to anyone's room before," Mycroft replies, trying desperately to squash the reproachful undertone that has sneaked into his voice. Does Lestrade not understand that nobody has had such an effect on him in a very long time? "And I will not do it again..."

"So you still want to ban all personal contact? How long are you going to do this? How long do you think you can endure it before you wither away?" Lestrade realises that he has spoken louder than he intended. He grimly moves his thumb over the smooth surface of the table, pushing a few crumbs around.

Silent, Mycroft watches the other man.

"I'm not saying that you should go back there... But... I mean... You could come to me," Lestrade adds quietly.

Mycroft hesitates before answering. He is painfully aware of how much he desires this man so the temptation to throw caution to the wind and to accept the offer is enticing. Tired, he shakes his head. "It's too risky."

Lestrade frowns thoughtfully as if considering whether it would be better to get angry or give up. It takes a while before he speaks again. "You must be aware there are several people in politics who are proud to be... well... not heterosexual. And while there are still people who have a problem with it, I cannot imagine that it has hurt their careers much to be honest. More than anything, I think you using that argument is just some lame excuse. I'm just wondering for what... "

For a moment, Mycroft returns the challenging look, then he looks embarrassed. "That's not it," he finally says, squeezing his lips into a narrow line. With a hint of panic, he sees Lestrade getting up and taking the two steps that separate them. He crouches next to Mycroft, reaches for his hand.

"What the hell are you scared of?" He asks softly, his piercing gaze not letting go of Mycroft; he won't let him evade his question again.

"I... can't..." Mycroft trails off, shaking his head helplessly. He withdraws his hand from Lestrade's and stands, pushing the chair back so that he can walk past Lestrade.

"My ex-wife started her affair when she found an old photograph," Lestrade says, while Mycroft stops on his way to the door.

With his back to Lestrade Mycroft's rests his hand on the back of the sofa, which is in the middle of the room.

"It was a photo taken long before our wedding. With me and my boyfriend, at the time. I never told her that I was bi. Never thought it necessary. After all, it had nothing to do with her or our relationship, and I was always faithful to her. But from that day onwards, she reproached it to me incessantly and claimed that my long working hours were an excuse to hide my affair with a man. She was not afraid of female competition, but she could not stand the fact that I could sleep with a man. Maybe she was just looking for an excuse. A free pass to enforce and defend her own needs, her own tendency to infidelity. I don't know."

Lestrade gets up and steps behind Mycroft.

They do not touch, but Mycroft clearly feels the proximity through the warmth on his back. His hand closes into a fist of its own volition. He knows he should go, should distance himself from Lestrade and end this madness here and now. But his body refuses. As if rooted on the spot, he lingers and listens to the inspector's words.

"I tried so many times to prove my love and convince her she was the only person that mattered to me, but every conversation ended in a fight and more than once, she slammed the door and left. I told myself she was going to a friend or relatives, but..." Lestrade sighs. “She didn't even bother covering her tracks."

Mycroft hears Lestrade go back to the dining table and refill their glasses. With both glasses in hand, he walks back to Mycroft and hands him one.

"Sit down," Lestrade says softly, walking around the sofa so Mycroft would follow his example and sit down.

For a moment, Mycroft hesitates, but then joins him. He takes a sip, puts the glass on the coffee table and leans back. Folding his hands on his lap, he stares unseeingly at the room, waiting for Lestrade to continue.

"For a while, I managed to ignore it all. I tried to work less, avoided confronting her about her obvious affairs, took her on a vacation. But whenever she had the chance, she asked me with this innocent smile if I found this or that man attractive... as if she wanted to get rid of me." Lestrade shook his head in disapproval and drank some of the wine.

"Shortly after we returned, she took a lawyer and filed for divorce. At the time I didn’t have the strength to do anything about it and signed the papers as soon as I received them. After that, I didn't want to see anyone for a long time. I dove into work and took on many of the cold cases. From time to time I went out for drinks with colleagues from the yard, but... sex, affairs, relationships..." Lestrade's lips curl down and a grunt escapes him, conveying quite clearly his feelings on the subject.

When the inspector pauses, Mycroft shifts to examines him. "And then?" he finally asks, although he has long since known how it had ended.

A small smile plays around Lestrade's mouth as he continues to speak. "The loneliness became unbearable. The desire to touch someone... to be touched... it almost physically hurt. At first, I went to a club, but... I'm probably too old for that. It was humiliating,” Lestrade says, laughing. "However, I found a flyer there, which told me about this most interesting establishment... and I thought it couldn't hurt. That it struck a certain exhibitionist cord in me should not surprise you." The smile on Lestrade's lips widens and Mycroft raises an eyebrow, amused, to confirm the statement.

For a moment, Lestrade is silent, searching for the right words. "I was disappointed," he finally says, "I knew that I would not make real friends there and yet... I was so damn lonely... the desire for a connection, a real connection, became stronger and stronger. When you also took the case away from us, it felt like I had no control over anything at all."

Mycroft's fingers twitch unconsciously at these words.

"The idea to request for someone to talk to, someone who doesn't know about me or my life... Well, I don't know how it came about either. It was a pretty spontaneous idea. Actually, I didn’t expect anyone to answer to my request."

Lestrade looks at Mycroft with a spark of affection in his eyes which sends a pleasant shiver down Mycroft's back. Quickly, he averts his gaze. His heart beats so loud in his chest that it's impossible Lestrade doesn't hear it.

"When I realised that you're just as lonely as I am... that you isolate yourself from other people and shrink away from any contact..." Lestrade sighs and bites his lip, "I wanted to help you. I wanted to take away that terrible feeling immediately and show you that it didn't have to be that way, even though I did not know who you were.” With slow, deliberate movements, not wanting to scare the other man, Lestrade turns to Mycroft and slips closer to him. With his elbow on the back of the sofa, he rests his head on it and looks at the other man. The few inches between them crackle with electricity in the air.

"Will you let me try?"

Mycroft meets the Inspector's warm, brown eyes. His lips part as if he wanted to say something, but he can't grasp the words from his mind, or string them together into a meaningful sentence. The gentle determination written across Lestrade’s face makes him falter.

"I can’t take the risk," Mycroft whispers without averting his eyes. The way Lestrade's eyebrows contract as if he's been slapped hurts him more than he wants to admit. "I can't put you at risk, Gregory."

"Is that what you think?"

Mycroft sighs and reaches for his glass, drinks some of the wine and puts it back on the table. Thoughtfully, he rubs his hands. The hard line around the corner of his mouth reveals how difficult his next words are.

"Seven years ago, I was in a relationship with a man. It was discreet, if not secret. There were a few allusions, a few negative comments, but nothing that would have bothered us greatly. I came back from a conference in Paris and he picked me up at the airport. We didn’t have much time because I had to go straight to the Supreme Court in Middlesex and couldn’t take the rest of the day off. I was tense and inattentive, even though we hadn’t seen each other for several days. When I got out of the car without saying goodbye, he came after me. It was cold, so he handed me his scarf because I didn't have one. There was a shot." Mycroft pauses, fingers tightly knotted together, nails digging into the skin.

"I remember his incredulous expression just before he collapsed in front of me. He was dead before he hit the pavement," he says, his voice rough. "It was not a terrorist attack or anything of the sort. The man who shot him was under the influence of alcohol. His son had been sentenced to life imprisonment the day before. He was confused, drunk, he didn’t realise that we – that I – had nothing to do with his son's case. If Joshua had not come after me, the bullet would have hit me instead." Mycroft exhales and risks a sidelong glance at Lestrade who looks stunned and dismayed as he returns his gaze.

"I'm sorry..."

"It was not the first, nor the last time I was attacked in the street. But in most cases these are fisticuffs or verbal attacks. At that time, there were no acute conflicts that I would have been involved in, so there were only average security measures. But I should have known. I should have been more attentive and assess the condition of the man. I..."

"Mycroft..." Lestrade interrupts the agitated speech and lays a hand over Mycroft's fingers, still laced together. Sorrow is written all over his face and Mycroft swallows hard, taking a deep breath. Too much. Too many emotions that are struggling to the surface and trying to smother him. With difficulty, he pushes them back into the depths of his dark memories.

"Forgive me... I didn’t intend to..."

Without further thought, Lestrade wraps his arms around Mycroft's shoulders and pulls him close. "I'm sorry," he mumbles in Mycroft's hair directly over his ear. "That must have been terrible."

Exhausted, Mycroft leans against Lestrade’s body. His heart feels hollow. The echo of his heartbeat pulsates the impenetrable darkness inside him, leaving him disoriented. He feels the warmth and tension from the other man beside him, feels the worry reflected in the gentle swaying movements and the softly whispered words.

"... can't risk... something like that happening to you..." he repeats, the words directed to himself rather than Lestrade.

"Such things are hard to influence, Mycroft. I don't really have the safest job in the world, but that does not mean I want to miss a chance for a better life – quite the contrary. I'm sure Joshua loved you so much and did not want to miss a minute with you." Lestrade let’s Mycroft out of his firm embrace and raises his head so they can look directly into each other’s eyes. He fights a sad smile on his lips.

Mycroft lowers his eyes again, too agitated to be able to withstand Lestrade’s gaze. He puts his hand over the one on his cheek and presses it lightly. Everything in him screams for the other’s proximity, wants to pull him close and hold on to him. But the fear is deep and he does not know how to deal with the situation. He breathes in shakily as Lestrade drops a kiss on his forehead and a second on his brow. Head-to-head, Lestrade gently strokes Mycroft's cheek and jaw. Mycroft closes his eyes and indulges in this fragile link for a moment.

"Hey," Lestrade whispers against Mycroft's temple. Sliding a hand around the other man's neck, his lips press directly over Mycroft's skin. "Stay the night with me... please. I don't want one of us to be alone tonight."

Mycroft caresses Lestrade's forearm and looks up. When their eyes meet, his stomach contracts for a moment and then releases an incredible tingling sensation that shoots all the way down to the tips of his toes. He exhales shakily, cranes his neck and presses his lips against Lestrade's. A deep sigh escapes him as Lestrade instantly wraps his arms around him and pulls him tight against his body.

 

+++

tbc

 

Chapter Text

Minutes seem timeless when Mycroft and Lestrade sit close together and kiss. Again and again, their fingers explore each other, hands slide slowly over fabric and through short hair. Their gazes get caught up in one another in wordless dialogues. Breath short, Mycroft disengages from Lestrade, one hand on his waist, the other on his chest. He feels the rapid heartbeat through the pullover’s fluffy fabric.

"It's getting late," Mycroft whispers reluctantly.

"I completely lost track of time. Do you need to be somewhere in the morning?" Lestrade asks as he glances at his mobile phone clock. It's well into the night.

Mycroft just nods. It requires more willpower than he expected to break away from Lestrade and get up. His heart and breath falter when Lestrade grabs his wrist and looks up at him.

"I meant what I said earlier, Mycroft. Seriously," Lestrade says, his thumb playing over Mycroft's forearm, "Stay here. I won't rush the whole thing between us, or pressure you into anything you don't want." He gets up and cradles Mycroft's face with his hands, gently stroking his cheeks and touching his wistful lips with his. "Just let me be near you for a few hours."

"My first appointment tomorrow morning is at eight o'clock. Before that, I have to go home, change clothes and..."

A kiss interrupts Mycroft's half-hearted reasoning. "I'll wake you up early and kick you out. Agreed?" Lestrade suggests with a mischievous smile on his lips.

Mycroft gives a short snort of a laugh and nods weakly. Already, he knows he will not close his eyes tonight, even should they not touch each other until sunrise. Adrenaline and dopamine flood his bloodstream and accelerate his pulse in no time.

"Good." Lestrade breaks away from him and reaches for the wine bottle, goes over to the small, round dining table and presses the cork back into the neck of the bottle. He folds the pizza box and takes it to the kitchen.

Uncertain, Mycroft watches as Lestrade clears away the remnants of their dinner. He reaches for his wine, drinks the last dregs and brings both glasses to the kitchen.

Lestrade thanks him and casually caresses the small of Mycroft's back as he passes, smiling at him. Rustling and rattling sounds from the bathroom as Lestrade digs through the closets. Soon after,  he comes back into the living room and hands Mycroft a toothbrush still sealed in its packaging. "Knew I still had one in stock. Do you want one of my T-shirts? You certainly don't want to sleep in your suit... although I find that idea strangely erotic." He says, winking and laughing mischievously as a touch of pink spreads across Mycroft's cheeks.

"I’d rather not. However, I would be grateful for a T-shirt, or anything else of the sort."

"I'll get it for you."

While Lestrade goes over to the bedroom and rummages in the dresser, Mycroft feels lost. A touch self-conscious, he strips off his jacket and hangs it over a chair, loosens the buttons on the vest and the cuffs on the shirt.

"Hey, not fair. I'm missing the whole show." Grinning, Lestrade walks up to him with a black T-shirt displaying a white print in one hand. His arm slips possessively around Mycroft's waist as he presses a kiss to his shoulder. "I can't wait to peel you out of one of those classy suits next time..." He puts a kiss on the corner of Mycroft's mouth, another on his quivering lips, and turns to go back into the bedroom. "The bathroom is all yours."

Mycroft needs a moment to calm down again. Everything in his body is humming with excitement and at the same time he feels unable to fully accept the situation. Still, a part of him is reluctant to open up and just let things continue. But he feels his defences crumble away bit by bit. Feeling awkward, he sets his waistcoat and tie over the jacket on the back of the chair and walks over to the bathroom with his brand new toothbrush. The room is narrow: a washbasin, toilet and shower cabin squeeze in next to each other. On the opposite wall, a few white towels hang over a pole. He brushes his teeth and washes his face, then places the toothbrush in the blue plastic cup next to Lestrade's. His mouth twitches into a smile at the daring act and the thought of how this simple gesture feels incredibly good and intimate.

When he enters the bedroom, Lestrade has just finished freshening up the bed. He gathers up the dirty laundry and walks past Mycroft with a wink. "Sorry, I didn't get around to doing that earlier. Make yourself comfortable." In the kitchen, he throws the linens in front of the washing machine,  then goes to the bathroom himself.

Mycroft takes his phone out of his pocket and puts it on the bedside table. He slips out of his shoes and socks, takes off his shirt and trousers and folds them on the dresser, dresses into the black T-shirt and looks down at himself. At the sight of the Ramones logo, his eyebrows contract doubtfully. Listening to Lestrade's footsteps patter around the apartment, he sits down on the edge of the bed, a little embarrassed.

Lestrade stops in the doorframe and looks over at his guest with a smile. "Looks good!" He says, ignoring Mycroft's skeptically raised eyebrow. "Well... if you prefer, I can sleep on the sofa," Lestrade adds, suddenly self-conscious. The worry that Mycroft may feel taken by surprise and withdraw still gnaws at him.

But Mycroft shakes his head, a glimmer of heat in his eyes. "No."

Relieved, Lestrade switches off the light in the living room and closes the door. He moves to the other side of the bed, pulls the blue sweater over his head and drops it carelessly to the ground. His gaze lingers on Mycroft's back as he unbuttons his jeans and pulls them down his legs. He does not miss the tension in the other man's shoulders as he sits down on the mattress and pulls the blanket over his bare legs. He turns off the bedside lamp and darkness envelops them.

Leaning on his right elbow, he reaches out with his left hand for Mycroft and plucks at the T-shirt. "Come here," he whispers softly and is pleased to see that Mycroft responds to the request immediately by slipping his long legs under the covers and sliding a bit closer to him. Lestrade puts his hand on Mycroft's shoulder and strokes his thumb over the curve of his back. Without further ado, he reaches for Mycroft's hip and pulls the taut body flush against him, puts a kiss on his forehead and breathes in the familiar smell. "Sleep well."

"Good night... Gregory." Mycroft wraps his arm around Lestrade carefully, trailing his fingertips tenderly over the bare back. Pressing his face against Lestrade's clavicle, he nestles close to the other body, feels the heat slowly transfer to him. His stiff muscles relax incrementally, turn soft and yielding. As if by magic, his lips pucker of their own volition and seek contact, open slightly and caress the other man's skin. He hears Lestrade's breath hitch, even if he shows no reaction otherwise.

"You should know... I work a lot. I sometimes have to go abroad spontaneously. I am always on call – which is more often enforced than I would like... My last vacation had to end three days early, because a... situation arose that I had to take care of. And in most cases, I can’t even talk about my work because so much of it must be kept secret..." Mycroft reluctantly states. The pressure of his fingers on Lestrade's back tighten involuntarily, as if to prevent him from running away at the admission.

"I'm well aware of that, Mycroft," Lestrade replies softly, pressing a kiss on Mycroft's forehead, trailing his fingers through the hairline in the back of his neck.

"Sometimes, I get angry when people cannot follow my train of thought, if they don't see the obvious, don't understand. There will be times when my words will hurt you. You'll have to be patient with me if... if you..." Mycroft's words are barely a whisper, tinged with anxiety and concern that Lestrade might change his mind and break ways in the morning.

"I had the best teacher. You cannot possibly be worse than Sherlock. Besides, it's all a part of you. Facets of the big picture. Things that matter. Believe me, you will not like everything about me – I can promise you that. And you shouldn't either. Don't think too much about what might be, enjoy the moment. All the little moments that will be given to us."

A wave of emotions rolls over Mycroft at those words and he pushes closer to Lestrade, so as not to be washed away by the feeling. Enjoy the moment, every moment. Something large and warm spreads inside him, expands, fills him so completely, it threatens to rob him of his air. He stretches his neck in search of an anchor, grabs Lestrade's neck to draw him in and kisses him.

Lestrade sighs softly at the open mouth and tightens his grip on Mycroft, eliminating the last bit of distance between them. Warm and soft, their lips meet again and again, tongues exploring the foreign structures, touching, tasting. Teeth dig into pliable flesh, gnaw greedily on sensitive skin. Hands are constantly wandering over every part of their bodies that they can grasp, rubbing their hips against each other and lighting an irrepressible desire.

Using more force than he intended, Lestrade rolls Mycroft onto his back and presses him into the sheets. One of his knees squeezes in between Mycroft's thigh, pressing into the mattress for support. Hot waves of pure arousal waft through his body, making his pelvis thrust unintentionally against the other man. The overwhelmed moan that breaks out of Mycroft gives him goose bumps which rush all the way down to the tips of his toes in split seconds.

Before he can think twice about it, Lestrade's hands are under the Ramones shirt, pushing it up to expose as much skin as possible. Mouth and tongue latch onto of the exposed nipples, suck and bite until Mycroft makes a hissing sound.

"Sorry," Lestrade whispers between two heavy breaths then buries his teeth in the skin above the costal arch, in the soft belly, gliding lavishly towards the protruding hip bone. He suspects that, in the morning, Mycroft’s skin will be marked with numerous dark red traces, but the thought only excites him more.

Now that his eyes have become accustomed to the darkness, thanks to the lack of curtains on his window, he is sufficiently aware of Mycroft's outlines to be able to orient himself. Images and sensations from their first night together flash through his mind and something inside him surges up with insatiable lust. The feeling of being at the mercy of a stranger, the burning desire, the moment his hands finally came free and he was allowed to touch this wonderful body, all of these memories still burn within him.

And Lestrade recognises everything about this man – all the little details his mind has stored the last time without the help of his eyes: the feel of skin and hair, muscles and bones, the different temperatures of the various parts of the body, the restrained sounds and beguiling scent. With his arms wrapped tightly around Mycroft's waist, his fingers clawing at his back, Lestrade inhales the other man, hovering over him with his lips slightly parted.

The contrast between strength and tenderness makes Mycroft sigh softly and his limbs tremble. He clings to Lestrade's silver mane for support. His erection throbs in torment between the fabric and Lestrade's chest. "Gre... gory..."

A mixture of despair and desire colours Mycroft's hoarse voice and makes Lestrade look up. The sheet contrasts to the long, lithe body under him and he sees it is visibly shaking under his partner’s barely controlled heavy breaths. Lestrade straightens up and hooks his fingers into the waistband of Mycroft’s underwear, pulling them unceremoniously down over the slender hips, the endless legs, before throwing them carelessly off the side of the bed. Shifting to a seated position, Lestrade discards his own underpants just in time to ogle how Mycroft slithers his way out of his T-shirt.

Mycroft sits up, reaches for Lestrade and kisses him. The searching hands on his body, the raw power behind Lestrade's grip and caresses scares him a little. His heart races, throbs painfully into his throat, but he does not know how to restrain his partner without making him feel rejected. When Lestrade wants to push him back on the sheets, Mycroft puts a hand behind him in the mattress and can withstand the pressure, better yet, he pushes his body against Lestrade’s.

Lestrade slips back and lowers his head, kisses and bites down on Mycroft's abdomen to his hips.

A tormented sound escapes from Mycroft's throat despite his tightly closed lips. A shiver goes through him as Lestrade's tongue licks his glans. Electric impulses leap over his nerves, set them aflame. Mycroft gasps for air, but realises somewhere in the back of his mind that Lestrade's impulsivity has given way to an incredible tenderness. As if his intention to tear Mycroft to pieces has gone as soon as it had come. Lestrade's tongue slides purposely over his erection, swivels around the head, plays with the frenulum. Mycroft's breath stops, then he groans indignantly when Lestrade lets him penetrate into the damp heat of his mouth and closes his lips around him into a tight ring. Lestrade's lustful sigh vibrates around him, making his hips twitch.

For a moment, Lestrade releases the erection from his lips, drips some saliva at the root of it and massages the spit over and under Mycroft's testicles, before licking, sucking and sucking again on the erect penis. His damp middle finger slides further still, over the strained muscle ring. Patiently, he massages the area with small circles, before he pushes his fingertip through to the first joint and slowly moves forward.

Mycroft's hips jerk up, writhing against a struggling Lestrade. His body is throbbing excitedly with the overwhelming sensations that wash over him.

"Just relax," Lestrade whispers, leaning on his free arm to look up at Mycroft's face. Despite the darkness, he realises that Mycroft has closed his eyes, his eyebrows drawn together, and opened his mouth slightly, panting. Shaking with tension and expectation. "Mycroft... Mycroft, listen to me." Lestrade withdraws his hand, bends over Mycroft and kisses his neck and jaw, gently touching the corner of his mouth. "You're too tense... Did I... hurt you?" His voice is tainted with sorrow, hoarse against the damp skin.

Mycroft half-heartedly shakes his head. "It's just... a lot. Too much at once. You're so... so passionate. My body can't follow."

For a moment, Lestrade ponders in silence, then he nestles his head against Mycroft's and gently kisses his cheek. "I'm sorry..."

Again, Mycroft shakes his head, straightens up, rests on his elbows. "No, no, that... no, not that. It's alright. I want it, just..." He puts his hand against Lestrade's shoulder, pushes him back, until Lestrade lies on his back and Mycroft can swing a leg over his hips, and hold on to Lestrade. "Let me first... I need lube." Mycroft murmurs and kisses Lestrade's face with quivering lips and glowing cheeks.

Lestrade puffs out the breath he'd been holding as his stomach makes an excited lurch. Without hesitating, he reaches for the nightstand, opens the drawer and rummages around for the tube of lube in it. He pops the cap up and squeezes some of the content onto Mycroft's outstretched fingers. With long, quiet movements, he rubs his own erection, massages the swollen glans with his thumb and looks up at Mycroft, who is kneeling above him.

With one hand, Mycroft braces himself on Lestrade's chest while he reaches with the other behind himself and lets his fingers slide between his buttocks. Carefully, he pushes a finger inside him, pushing his knuckle through, opens his legs wider and rocks his pelvis carefully back and forth. He moans softly as he pushes a second finger through the tight ring of muscles, rubbing his penis against Lestrade's hand at the same time.

Lestrade expels a shaky breath, stretches his fingers out and encloses both of their erections. He lets Mycroft set the pace of his rocking hips and determine the intensity of the resulting friction, biting his lips at the sight before him. The supple rolling of Mycroft's pelvis, the slow play of his muscles in the semi-darkness, the far-away expression on his face. He gently touches Mycroft with his free hand, lets it travel over his arm and shoulder, his neck, slides his thumb over his moist lower lip.

Forgetting all decorum, Mycroft's tongue flicks out, licks it and sighs against Lestrade's palm. He leans forward and Lestrade meets him halfway, kisses him and pulls him closer to him, pushes his tongue in Mycroft's mouth and sucks hungrily on him.

Lestrade's hands caress Mycroft's thighs, glide over his sweaty chest, reach for the rhythmically moving hips and feel every twitch in the other body.

His thighs quiver expectantly as Lestrade passes over them, caressing with the tips of his fingers the curves of the posterior, the soft skin, which he massages lasciviously. Heat and traces of lube gather where Mycroft's fingers bump into his own body. Mindfully, Lestrade touches them, follows these trails, gropes his way towards the taut edge of the muscle ring. Only with great difficulty can he restrain his desire and keep himself from hastily grabbing Mycroft and rushing the whole thing.

Mycroft’s attention shifts back and forth between the sensation of his own hand and Lestrade's. He groans indignantly. The desire inside him dances close to the abyss, burning like fire in his veins. "I need you... now!" He pulls his fingers out, carelessly wipes them on his thigh and rummages for a condom in the drawer which Lestrade then shoves over his erection.

As soon as he spreads a generous amount of lube on the latex, Mycroft positions himself over Lestrade. His chest rises and falls hastily as he reaches for Lestrade's erection, which is hard and heavy in his hand. For a moment, he enjoys the feel of it, then guides the swollen head to his dilated opening before carefully sinking on it. His lips part, letting a stifled moan escape him as the intense feeling of being stretched erases everything else out of his perception. His heart thunders in his chest, ready to burst.

Lips tightly pressed together, Lestrade observes the reactions on Mycroft's face, the deep frown and the trembling eyelids. Tight and hot, Mycroft's body closes around his erection, taking him in bit by bit. He drops his head back without taking his eyes off Mycroft, his mouth opening as if to moan but only his laboured breath escapes.

When his cock is completely immersed in Mycroft and after he takes a couple of deep breaths to consciously adapt to the sensation, Lestrade reaches for Mycroft's arm and pulls the man into a hug. Covering his face in the crook of Mycroft’s neck, his arms wrap tightly around his torso, pressing him close to his own body. "Mycroft..." he breathes out against damp skin, overwhelmed by the intimacy of their connection. Only when Mycroft slides his hands through his hair, raises his head and kisses him, does he open his eyes again and looks at the other man. Raw emotions reflect in his gaze.

Panting, Mycroft tears himself away from Lestrade's lips and slowly starts to move his hips, enjoying the intense feeling of the other man's erection inside him.

Lestrade sinks back onto the pillow and tries to adapt to the rhythm. Slowly and deliberately, he penetrates deep into the enticing heat, enjoying every little reaction he provokes in Mycroft. They kiss, caress, cling to each other, always moving in unison.

Lestrade's hands slide incessantly over Mycroft's arched back, over his ribs and spine, over his pelvis and behind. "God, you feel so incredibly good," Lestrade whispers, licking the salt from Mycroft's throat and biting his sensitive skin. "I won't let you go..." He holds Mycroft's hips pressed against his own body and turns him with a sharp twist onto his back. Kneeling over him, he arranges the long legs around his hips. "Okay?" He asks, panting, about the sudden change of position and his intention to take the lead. His brown eyes glow like embers.

Mycroft gives a small nod, but does not utter more than a monosyllabic yes between his sore lips. He groans indignantly, as Lestrade thrusts slowly and repeatedly into him. Arms and legs entwined, knotted together. "Harder... ah..." he asks breathlessly and clutches at Lestrade's arms, which are both pressed into the mattress for support on either side of his head.

"Sure?" Lestrade has been holding back with great difficulty and all his self control, ignoring the smouldering heat in his loins. Naked desire wrestles with the last shred of common sense he's been holding onto. But he doesn’t want to risk hurting Mycroft and put too much strain on this delicate bond forming between them.

"Gregory! Please!" Mycroft groans loudly, throwing his head back, unable to endure his lust any longer. The fingers of his left hand dig into Lestrade's shoulder as he picks up speed, thrusts harder into his willing body. With his right, sweaty hand, Mycroft grabs his own erection, rubbing his shaft and sensitive tip. Pure ecstasy flows through every fibre of his body, washing over him like a storm, tearing him apart. Without warning, his muscles tighten. The balls of his feet press into the sheets, his pelvis rises to meet the other, demanding. A desperate whimper escapes him as he throws his head to the side and his climax floods every cell in his body. Goose bumps crawl all over his skin, tension vanishes and peace settles, tingling throughout his limbs. Only by exerting all of his willpower can Mycroft open his eyes and look into Lestrade's dark gaze, full of affection and astonishment.

Lestrade comes just seconds later. He groans, hoarse and broken, pushing himself one last time, deep into Mycroft's yielding body as his fingers clamp tightly on his shoulders. Exhausted, he collapses against the moist hollow of Mycroft's neck, not willing to move even an inch, he inhales his lover’s fragrance with satisfaction. Barely able to lift his head, his lips search out Mycroft's, kissing his jaw and cheek instead, until Mycroft finally meets his. The kiss is tender, warm. They kiss for a long time and without haste, enjoying the unconditional intimacy they share.

Lestrade is startled when long fingers caress the hair on the back of his neck and he realises that he was falling asleep. "I'm sorry, I'm completely done in," he growls and reluctantly slips off Mycroft. He leans to one side to pull a handkerchief from the box on the bedside table, cleaning them both, and wrapping the condom inside. Dropping a kiss on Mycroft's shoulder, he clings tightly to his warm body and pulls him closer. Arms and legs intertwined, they fall asleep not long after.

 

*

 

Warm sunlight floods the bedroom when Lestrade wakes up the next morning. The bed next to him is empty. Groaning, he sits up and looks around the small room. Mycroft's clothes and shoes have disappeared, the phone is no longer on the bedside table. With a sigh, he sinks back into his pillow and puts his hands over his face. Fuck.

He overslept, did not hear the alarm, and could not keep his promise to wake Mycroft up in time. Damn it. Hopefully, Mycroft has made it to the office in time, he thinks as he rubs the sleep out of his eyes. What a night. Just thinking about the past few hours, his stomach tingles excitedly and sends a wave of pure bliss through his limbs.

He turns lazily and feels around for his mobile phone. When he finds it, he groans with dread. It's past eleven and his shift has started hours ago. On second glance, he notices the device is set to silent, which he never does, since he must be available at all times. Almost at the same moment, he hears noises in the apartment and realises that the bedroom door is ajar. He hears footsteps. A voice.

"Yes. Yes, of course. We are already working on it."

Lestrade's heart skips a beat, only to catch up and beat faster. Seconds later, Mycroft pushes the door open with his shoulder. A warm smile spreads on Mycroft's lips as their eyes meet. In his hand, he holds a cup and the smell of freshly brewed coffee rises to meet Lestrade's nose.

"I'll call you tomorrow," Mycroft says, ending the call. Without breaking eye contact, Mycroft walks up to his side of the bed and puts down the coffee on the bedside table, then puts his mobile phone next to it. He’s wearing the black Ramones band shirt and Lestrade's tracksuit trousers, which are a little too short for the man's long legs.

"Good morning." Mycroft lies down next to Lestrade and leans his head on his bent arm.

"You're still here..." Lestrade fails to conceal the amazement in his voice, too busy to marvel over the detached grin on Mycroft's face.

"Indeed. And so are you. I took the liberty of excusing the both of us today. This is an exception and will never become a habit, but..." Before Mycroft can finish his sentence, Lestrade wraps his arms around him and pulls him into a heartfelt hug.

"Thanks," Lestrade murmurs, nuzzling his head against Mycroft's neck, peppering a few aimless kisses at the soft skin.

Smiling, Mycroft slips under the warm blanket and clings to Lestrade, stroking his cheek and chest.

"I have to thank you, Gregory. You made it clear to me that I can't live in isolation forever; that life has so much more to offer…” His blue eyes are full of unfiltered emotions. To prove his words true, Mycroft bends over Lestrade and kisses him tenderly.

"I'm glad we found each other."

+++

(๑˃̵ᴗ˂̵)و .o(nuff fluff!)

The End

Chapter Text

Voyeur (cover)

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