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Like a moth to a flame

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“To sum it up, Sherlock, you admit you destroyed important evidence you pilfered from the storage unit, without making a copy of it.” Greg was furiously pacing around his desk in his office, debating between punching Sherlock in the face and laughing at the absurdity of the entire situation. He knew that John being away attending a medical convention in Spain for a week was going to end in catastrophe.

Sherlock, being Sherlock, looked offended. As if he had not just confessed to committing a crime. “Geoff, don’t be daft. The destruction of the contract was necessary to confirm that an ignifuge coating had been applied to the paper. I needed to use the appropriate high temperature flames.”

“Sherlock, for God’s sake, have you ever heard of photocopies? And, in any case, our lab could have done it, even under your supervision!”

Sherlock scoffed and nonchalantly waved a long-fingered hand in front of Greg’s face. “It would have been such a waste of time. It takes ages to get authorization to run a battery of tests-”

The DI was very close to losing his temper. “Because this is how it works, Sherlock!” he shouted. “There are rules to be followed, and if you don’t follow them, then there is a problem! And in particular, it is going to be MY problem! Now some evidence which was listed as important for the crime is missing and I’m going to face a mountain of never ending paperwork!”

The yelling was followed by another scoff and the flapping of coattails as Sherlock moved around Greg’s office.

Greg looked at the ceiling and clenched his fists. He was ready to continue his scolding and had already opened his mouth, when Sherlock froze, sporting his famous glare held when attracted by something. He slowly approached Greg’s desk in the same manner as he approached a dead body. With two fingers, he lifted a book resting on a pile of folders, keeping it far from his person. He was not that careful with clearly poisonous objects. “‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’? Are you seriously interested in a book with such a title?”

Sherlock looked at Greg, perplexed. Greg tilted his head and asked, “Are you honestly telling me that you don’t know what it is? Have you deleted this too with the solar system?”

The quizzical look he got in return was his answer. Greg almost felt pity for the consulting detective. What kind of wicked childhood must he have had to not know Snow White?

“It is a fairy-tale, Sherlock. My sister is in London with her two daughters and they are staying at my flat. I am in charge of the bedtime stories. Didn’t your parents read you tales before sleeping?” Greg could not avoid smiling at the thought of the twins; he loved them deeply and he was trying to do his best to be a good uncle. The separation of his sister from her husband had reopened the badly closed wound of his own divorce and the presence of the twins was a balm in all the surrounding pain. He was not going to allow his sister to go through the ordeal without his support.

A forced polite coughing broke his reverie. He turned to look at the lanky suit-clad figure leaning against the wall of his office. He had completely forgotten about the presence of a third person in the room, Mycroft, who had been completely silent and up to that moment, was probably enjoying the whole conversation. The minor government official had the capability of disguising himself as a piece of wallpaper.

“Mycroft! Good that you’re here. Can you summon your magic and intervene before I have to arrest your brother?” Greg’s mind went back to the staggering amount of paperwork Sherlock’s antics were going to create.

The elder Holmes faintly quirked his lips. “I do not play any ‘magic’, Detective Inspector. I merely use the few resources I have at my disposal. Rest assured that a proper explanation for the disappearance of the contract will be filed by tomorrow together with the name of the culprit. No need for you to fill out any forms.” While proffering all of this, Mycroft was rapidly tapping at his mobile. Probably, he was sending instructions to his underlings.

“Thanks a lot. I really don’t want to be late getting home this evening and arresting your brother and explaining what he’s done would have created a real mess. As I said, I’ve got guests. I owe you a favour.” Greg had learned over the years to trust Mycroft implicitly, so if Mycroft said that things were going to be smoothed out, he had no doubt about it. He turned towards Sherlock. “Don’t you think you should thank your brother for always bailing you out?”

The younger Holmes sneered at Greg’s proposal. Mycroft raised a hand to stop his brother from uttering any comment. Greg admired his composure. “No need of any thank you, Inspector. I have to thank you for your constant patience and understanding when it comes to my brother. Sherlock, would you like a ride home?” After a few seconds of silence from Sherlock, Mycroft headed towards the door of Greg’s office twirling his omnipresent umbrella.

Curiosity all of a sudden flashed through Greg’s brain, and before he could stop it, his mouth took action. “Mycroft?” The redhead turned, showing a raised eyebrow, so Greg continued. “Do you know Snow White?”

Probably for the first time ever, Greg saw Mycroft gaping and turning even paler than usual. He quickly regained his self-control and answered, “I am not familiar with it, no. Good evening, Detective Inspector.”  

The two Holmes brothers left his office, and Greg was left alone wondering who on earth were the Holmes’ parents...…and that Mycroft had beautiful eyes. Greg shook his head, shocked by this thought that just popped up in his brain. Where did it come from?

 

*****

 

The stark naked men were trying to make themselves as small as possible in a corner of the room while Sherlock was ranting about their involvement in the bribery of the Sudanese diplomat, who was there – naked - too. For a citizen of a country where homosexuality was still punishable by the death penalty, it seemed that the diplomat loved the activity a lot. In a threesome, no less, if Sherlock was right, and the evidence of it was just in front of him - two pale bodies and a brown one mingled together.

Greg looked at the trembling men, and at the bed where they had been fucking just a few minutes before, interrupted by Sherlock barging into their room. God bless John Watson and his reflexes, otherwise there would be no consulting detective any more on this planet. The Sudanese man tried to shoot Sherlock while in action with his two partners, but Doctor Watson - formerly Captain Watson - was quicker and a bloody good shot. A rivulet of blood was adorning the diplomat's arm and a gun was in the safe hands of his sergeant, to be used as evidence at the trial. The diplomat turned from a victim of a bribery to a suspect of attempted murder. Greg was no longer surprised by these turns of events: humankind was definitely not…kind.

While Greg was barking orders to bring the men into custody and start the arrest procedure, Sherlock was inspecting the room like a wolf searching for prey. Sex toys were scattered around the room and Sherlock was particularly fascinated by a plurality of cock rings of different sizes, colours and shapes contained in a bowl on the bedside table together with an enormous variety of lubes.

“This is impossible,” the consulting detective was mumbling. “No one has fingers this size." John felt embarrassed for him and tried to remove the cock rings from the detective’s fingers, where he had placed at least a dozen of them to test his theory.

“They are not rings for fingers, Sherlock,” John tried to explain.

“What else can they be for, John? A ring is a ring!” Sherlock retorted.

John felt his face flush and had the decency to remain silent.

Greg fondly smiled at the scene, but his amusement did not last long because Mycroft Holmes, surrounded by a multitude of agents in black, entered his crime scene and took charge of it. Greg did not even have enough time to react that command was swiftly being taken away from him.

At least the elder Holmes looked apologetic, trying not to humiliate him in the transfer. “I apologise for the intervention, Detective Inspector. The man in front of you is an important Sudanese diplomat and for the sake of the Crown we need to take the matter into our hands from here on as it is relevant for the Government’s foreign affairs.”

Lestrade frowned but he knew better than to argue, which would lead nowhere. If the case was transferred to the secret service, internal affairs or even the bloody ministry of transport, he had no more power over it. To be honest, he was relieved that the elder Holmes and his minions had to deal with the no-so-prim-and-proper guys in the room. He for sure was not going to volunteer some of his clothes to cover their bits when they had to be transported to prison. Their original clothes were not usable after the fight.

Sherlock chose that moment to spread his long fingers in front of his brother’s face, fingers on which the colourful cock rings were still loosely displayed. The reaction of the minor official was precious. He widened his eyes and his cheeks tinged a lovely pink.

“Do you know what they are, Mycroft?” Sherlock asked, probably not realizing the meaning of the question.

The red in Mycroft’s face expanded to the tips of his ears and, for once, he did not immediately find proper words for a reply. Greg found it utterly adorable. However, the adorableness did not last long; Mycroft quickly recovered and coldly answered, “It has to do with sex, Sherlock. This is the reason for your ignorance. They are sex toys.” Sherlock jerked and stared at his adorned hand as if offended. John was heavily biting his lower lip in order not to burst into laughter.

Mycroft looked around the room, turned, and left quickly. Greg could not avoid admiring his long legs while the redhead was striding away. Greg was puzzled by the Holmes brothers’ behaviour: both above 40, one completely unaware of the existence of cock rings and the other incredibly embarrassed by their existence. He never saw Mycroft blush that much, and for a cock ring! Interesting, definitely very interesting.

 

****

 

John had started dating again. Greg definitely hated it, why couldn't the man accept his feelings for Sherlock? It was obvious to everyone, except John. The doctor and the consulting detective were basically married, sharing a flat, raising a  child together and simply….were made for each other. But no, ‘I am not gay’ fucking John Watson was not able to overcome his sexual crisis and move from being straight to being bisexual. Greg in this respect was very liberal, he was straight, but had several gay friends… A propos of being straight… Well that was another issue.

All this dating business of course had consequences. On Sherlock, who was on the verge on using again. The pain, the feelings of rejection, were clearly written in his eyes. On Greg, who felt his heart hurting for the younger Holmes. Yes, he could be an insufferable bastard, but Sherlock proved more than once that he could be a good man too. After 10 years of knowing each other and having gone through life-and-death situations together, Greg considered Sherlock, and John, his friends. Being loyal to a fault, he would do anything for his friends, and, in particular, he would do anything to knock some sense into the Baker Street boys.

He was not alone in this. Mycroft was worried sick about his brother as well. If you knew him well enough, you could discern the signs - the extra pallor, the stiffer posture, the ultra-tight grip on his umbrella - giving his feelings away. After almost 10 years of acquaintance, of tentative friendship, Greg could read the elder Holmes like an open book in some aspects. Mycroft cared, too much, and he did not know how to cope with that feeling.

 

****

 

The flu was not programmed. He had no time to be sick. However, fate decided that it was due time to get a high fever and a pretty bad sore throat. So he had to call in sick and stay in bed with antibiotics, prescribed by his doctor (who was even merry to see him after oh so many years), just when Sherlock desperately needed a babysitter in order not to be high again. Greg felt so bad that just the thought of moving from the horizontal position made him want to vomit. He spent three days just shuffling from his bed to the toilet, and back, and thanking God for his sister, who in the meantime filled up his fridge with edible food that he was definitely not capable of buying or cooking because he simply felt like crap. She also did the basic cleaning, God bless her.

The first day he finally managed to put something solid in his stomach and go to the toilet without wobbling too much, the doorbell rang. He was tempted to ignore it, but the doorbell did not ignore him and kept ringing, so he went to open the door, trying to manage a furious look towards whomever was disturbing him.

Mycroft Holmes, prim and proper as usual, with a three-piece suit and an umbrella at his side, was standing at the entrance. Greg would have closed the door in his face, if it hadn’t been for the haunted look in Mycroft’s eyes. He moved aside and let him in.

“Good morning, Mycroft. I apologise for the state of myself and of my flat, but I’ve been sick the past few days. Flu. I’ve not yet fully recovered …” Greg looked at his own clothes and sniffed himself. He had not had a shower in the past few days, he only randomly washed bits and pieces of his body, but – damn it! - he had the right to have the flu once every decade without having to apologise for it.

“I am truly, deeply sorry, Gregory, to intrude at such a time; however I am worried about my brother. I have been told that he contacted certain… sellers he was acquainted with several years ago and I hoped he was never going to see again.” The pain in Mycroft’s face was clear. Mycroft looked at Greg and then lowered his gaze. “I apologise, again. This is not the time nor the venue for this discussion.” The redhead turned  to leave.

Greg was moved. I should remind you that ‘Caring is not an advantage’, Mycroft, Greg thought.

“Mycroft, stop. Sit down please.” Greg pointed to a kitchen chair close to the elder Holmes and sat at another chair at the table. “I can’t stand for too long, I’m a bit weak, but my fever is down and my brain is not as fogged as it was. Gimme the full picture.”

Mycroft cocked his head and sighed, but sat in the offered chair.

“The situation is as I said, and I do not have many more details. My brother unfortunately has a particularly enhanced ability to avoid cameras and being followed. The few images I was able to obtain however were enough to show him performing business with some individuals, who – frankly speaking – I should have made disappear years ago.” Mycroft’s hands were clenched so tight that his fingers had turned completely white.

The two men sat in silence for a while, Mycroft resigned and embarrassed, Greg worried. Then the policeman came up with a thought. “Mycroft, listen, I’ve got an idea. I can call Donovan and ask for a drug bust at Baker Street. I know all the places where Sherlock kept his drugs when he was heavily using. Donovan is loyal, she won’t arrest Sherlock if I ask her not to, but the drugs will disappear, if present. I trust her.”

A glimpse of hope blossomed in Mycroft’s face. “It might work”, he whispered.

Greg dialed his phone and made the necessary arrangements. It would take some time, but Sally agreed to take a couple of constables and do it immediately. Looking at Mycroft, he saw the official staring at the Lego bricks collected in a bucket in his living room. He loved to play Legos with the twins and, when they were there, they simply emptied the bucket on the carpet and started building. They could spend hours doing that. Greg smiled at the memory and he cautiously stood up, got the bucket and emptied it on the table in front of a wide-eyed Mycroft. They had to wait for Sally’s call and they could spend that time forgetting to be DCI Lestrade and I-am-the-British- Government Holmes.

Greg took a couple of pieces and started building a tower. The walls quickly took form, then he added a window and, while he was choosing the door, the Governmental official started something on his own. Greg could not stop grinning. Of course, Mycroft had to put all his focus into the task as if, instead of building a child's toy, he was building a real bridge over the Thames. It was clear that the redhead had never played with Legos before. He was moved by the amount of trust Mycroft put in him by allowing the detective inspector to watch him playing. Mycroft’s look was almost tender. Hours passed, a lot of tea was drunk, together with Greg’s medicine, and Mycroft even offered to prepare something to eat. After each activity, they simply resumed building, quietly in silence.

The peace of the moment was broken by a call.

Greg took it and listened to his Sergeant’s report on the invasion of Baker Street. The more she went on, the more he felt sorry for Sherlock. He closed the call and looked at Mycroft, who was looking back with widened, scared eyes. “Donovan told me that Sherlock his high, but his vital signs are stable. There is a doctor with her who confirmed that there is no need for hospitalization. They found 5 grams of heroin in his violin case and they …flushed it down the toilet. Sherlock was completely pissed off but also too high to really react.”

Mycroft looked defeated and dropped the Lego bridge he was building. “Thank you so much, Gregory,” he whispered. He slowly stood up and took his coat. “I'll stop imposing myself on you. Thank you for what you have done and I wish you a rapid recovery.” Mycroft said all this looking at the floor and never lifting his gaze.  He silently approached the door and left, leaving Greg alone.

Greg wanted to hug Mycroft so badly. A protective feeling rushed through him; he wanted to shield the redhead from any additional pain. All of a sudden, his mind proposed an image of the elder Holmes in his arms, soothed by his hands, while they were slowly and gently kissing. When the vision disappeared, Greg had to put his hand on the wall to regain balance.

Bloody hell.  

 

****

 

“How do you know that you are straight, John?” Greg was slowly drinking his pint at their favourite pub. At the question, John  sputtered half of his.

“What a question, Greg!” John used his sleeve to dry his mouth. “I’m straight because I like women, very simple.”

“Well, the fact that you like women doesn’t automatically make you straight, you know?” Greg continued, looking at his glass.

John started fidgeting and straightening his back. “I like women only. Never liked anything else in my life.”

At this peremptory declaration, Greg stared at the doctor. “So, never ever? It’s never happened to you to have any kind of feelings for a man? Never found a man attractive? Never wanted to kiss one? Never-”

“Greg, stop.” John’s military voice barked an order. “Look at me. Do I look feminine? Do you think I could wear make-up? I hate it! Do I appear weak and in need of protection?” John eyes were as hard as steel.

Greg felt both insulted and ashamed by his friend’s outburst. “John, honestly you sound rather homophobic to me now. There is a difference between being bisexual and a drag queen.” Greg tried to put a mild reproach in his words.

John did not waver. “I’m not willing to have this conversation.”

“But John-“

“No buts, this is a discussion I don’t want to have. I’m not gay, bisexual, whatever, and I don’t have to justify it to anyone, not even to you.” There was no doubt that John was not willing to talk further about the issue.

Sadness engulfed Greg. He was hoping to be able to discuss his new…feelings....with someone who maybe could have understood them. And maybe who could have helped him understand them, for example whether it made sense to start questioning your own sexual identity when you were over 50...

He did not like what John said, it was almost racist. However, he could not completely blame his friend, he was always teased regarding his relationship with Sherlock. And probably there was some fear buried deep within he was not aware about.

They spent the rest of the evening discussing Arsenal’s next football match.

 

****

 

Greg never tried to restart the conversation about sexuality with John. He noticed that during their usual meetings at the pub the doctor sometimes looked anguished, probably scared to touch the topic again, and Greg valued their friendship enough to refrain from destroying it over his own questions about sexuality. This did not prevent him from thinking about them every time he had 5 minutes to himself from his highly demanding job. Even if he did not want to linger on them, the elder Holmes’ suddenly popping up at his crime scene or kidnapping him for tea constantly triggered warm sensations in his belly and the longing to touch the man always hit him with force. It was unmistakably attraction.

Greg felt confused. He had never been attracted by men before. He had had a very active sexual life when he was young, always with women; then he had been married to a woman for almost 20 years and never cheated. After his divorce, he had had several short-term relationships, nothing serious, but again, only with women. He had male friends, good mates, with whom he had fun and enjoyed his scarce free time, whom he was very fond of and had a strong brotherly feeling for, but the idea of a romantic or sexual relationship with any of them … had never been on the table. He had never been interested. He never even had the thought.

He had met Mycroft many years ago. He slowly got to know the man, realizing that he was much more than his carefully presented persona. He discovered the man behind the armoured layers. He learned to respect him, to be in awe of his intelligence, to cherish his dry wit humour and to admire his care for his crazy family. They became friends, and he was sure Mycroft cared about him, in the Mycroftian way of caring. Greg was almost sure that there were some aspects of Mycroft that he was only allowed to see. However, he was not prepared for the romantic and sexual pull he recently discovered. Thinking it trough, it did not happen all of a sudden. It was a slow continuous progress. First the realization that Mycroft had long, nice legs and lovely eyes. Then the thought that it would be nice to discover his freckles hidden under all those layers. Followed by a desire to simply touch him, topped by the deep pleasure he felt when he was in the company of the man. He did not see it coming, but it was unmistakably there. He was falling for Mycroft Holmes, and he did not know how to deal with it.

 

****

 

“Thank you, Mycroft.”

“I have to thank you, Detective Inspector. My brother would have been seriously harmed without your intervention.”

“Yeah, well, but without his deductions we wouldn’t have fetched the murderer, so we are even. I simply wish he’d call us before doing anything reckless, but I’ve lost hope.”

Mycroft faked a small smile and nodded.

Greg lowered his tone of voice, although they were alone in his office. “How is he?” They always tried to hide their friendship in public. Mycroft said he could become a target, if people understood that they were close.

Mycroft shook his head and sighed. “He is not using. But I fear it is due to my people’s raids of the drug dens in London rather than his own restraint. The word that whoever sells drugs to Sherlock is in for really big troubles has been efficiently spread.” Mycroft’s eyes darkened and Greg was sure that Mycroft could keep his promise, at the cost of wiping out all drugs cartels in Britain. 

“I know you care about him, Mycroft.” Mycroft lifted his head and stared at Greg. “Oh come on now! We've known each other for ages, and you don’t give me credit if you still think that I believe your charade of hating your brother.”

Greg was not prepared for what left the redhead’s mouth. “You are right, as usual, Gregory.”

“Greg.”

Mycroft looked at him with a little smile.

“Sometimes I think you forget my name like your brother.” At the comparison with Sherlock, Mycroft wrinkled his nose. “And by the way, I have something for you.” Greg opened a drawer of his desk and took a small package wrapped in wrinkled paper.” Sorry for the package, but I managed to…sit on it.”

Mycroft was frozen on the other side of the desk, looking at the present Greg was offering. He blinked a couple of times, while a rosy flush was expanding in his face. Mycroft then snatched the gift, uttered a “thank you” and substantially fled the detective’s office. Greg remained still for a couple of seconds with a large smile on his face. He was developing a kink for a flustered Mycroft, it seemed. It took a while before the fuzzy feelings in Greg's stomach disappeared.

 

****

 

It had been a long day, too many meetings, too many idiots to convince of the obvious. Mycroft was tired and he felt the initial symptoms of a migraine. It was definitely time to go home, have a shower and finally sleep. He had not indulged much in the latter activity in the past week. There was not only his demanding job, but also – and in particular – his brother and his addiction that stole all his time, including that portion which should have been devoted to resting. He closed his laptop and was driven home by one of the cars at his disposal. He showered, put on his pyjamas and went to bed. Ready to switch off the light, he saw the small package on the bedside table and remembered Gregory’s present. He had completely forgotten its existence.  How impolite of him not to even send a thank you message to the police officer! He unwrapped it and found a book. ‘Grimm’s Complete Fairy Tales’, the title said. Mycroft browsed through the first half of the book and it became clear that it was a children’s book; the index revealed stories such as "Cinderella", "Snow White", "Hansel and Grethel", "Rapunzel", "Rumpelstiltskin", "Little Red Riding Hood" and "The Frog Prince”.  He had heard about a couple of them. He put it back on the bedside table. Why on Earth the Detective Inspector has bestowed a fairy-tale book upon him was a mystery that he was going to solve after a good night sleep. 

The book remained on the side of Mycroft’s bed the next day. In the late evening, the Government official went to bed at a less ungodly hour, determined to understand a bit more of the puzzle. He opened the book and started reading. It was indeed a children’s book, however something strange forced him to keep reading. It was childish of course, but the stories were … not stupid. There was often a meaning beyond the simple sentences and unpresumptuous words. It was so refreshing to have a good clear-cut line, between the good and the bad. A line that was many times blurred in his line of work.

He closed the book and put it back on the table with his reading glasses. Mycroft scrubbed his eyes with his hands and sighed. He could not understand the meaning of the present. He knew he was not objective in deducing the Detective Inspector. He had spent so much time and energy repressing any possible romantic feelings he had for the officer and he always tried to avoid getting too close as it was too dangerous. Lestrade was one of the incredibly few, unique, men he had ever felt attracted to and he could not succumb to sentiments. He should be thankful enough to be able to have a friendship with him. He never thought he could have a friend in his life, but Gregory more than once stated clearly that they were friends, once he even said he was honoured to be his friend! The man was straight so there was no risk of any dalliance, but he also did not want to hurt himself or lose his only friend. Mycroft survived till the age of 48 without succumbing to the craziness of love and he was determined to continue like this. Intelligence was his asset and he could even pretend to have social abilities. He managed to have a friend, didn’t he? But they would crumble in a real relationship, so better avoiding the latter at all costs.

 

****

 

A couple of weeks later, Mycroft reached the end of the Grimm’s tales. He had so little spare time that he could not read more than a few pages per night. However, he still had to find the courage to discuss the meaning of the present with the Inspector, and the longer he waited, the more awkward it was going to be. Mycroft was known for many things, but not for being impolite. Confronting the man in uncharted territory however frightened Mycroft and he hated it, despite the fact that with Gregory he could be more open than with anyone else. How could he explain that he had no previous knowledge of fairy tales and the book was almost enchanting him? No, this was not something that could be said, it was a sign of weakness and he would lose all the respect the DCI had for him. He cherished their meetings – Gregory called them kidnappings - too much to risk them. They were a breeze of fresh honest air in his world of lies and subterfuge. So, the fact that he was deeply regretting that no one read those stories to him in his childhood was definitely not the DCI's business.

A knock at the door startled him.

“Yes?”

Anthea entered his office with a rather large parcel in her arms. Mycroft looked at her quizzically.

“This is for you, Sir, from Lestrade. He stopped by and dropped it at the entrance, saying that he could not stay because he had a case with your brother. It has been scanned according to our standard procedures and it is clean.”

Mycroft indicated to put the parcel on a small table on the right side of his desk. Anthea obliged, nodded with a strange gleam in her eyes and quickly left the office. 

Mycroft’s frown deepened while looking at the parcel suspiciously. The startling behaviour of the Detective Inspector was reaching new heights. Why was he now receiving several gifts from the man? They already had exchanged a few presents during the past years, but it was be sure of occasions such as Christmas or birthdays. Was he trying to achieve something? Normally, all the gifts he received were aimed at a very specific goal: to obtain a favour. On the contrary, in all these years, Lestrade has never asked for a favour, even when Mycroft himself has proposed to help him, such as when he offered to speed up his divorce. The silver-haired man always refused. Mycroft told him more than once that he would do a lot in order to repay the extreme kindness that Lestrade showed towards his brother when he needed it the most. Lestrade never took advantage of it and simply answered that ‘helping each other is what friends do’.

While pondering the situation, Mycroft managed to open the parcel and a colourful box appeared. An oversize container of Lego bricks.

Mycroft straightened his spine and clenched his fists. Terrible thoughts invaded Mycroft’s brain. Gregory was indeed a good detective. He must have spotted the areas of his ignorance and awkwardness he always tried to keep covered. The Inspector was probably trying to mock him. Mycroft was not expecting this cruelness from the policeman, who normally was an extremely kind person. He thought Greg was his friend.

Mycroft sighed. He knew he should never trust anyone.

He had to do something, so he took his mobile and called Lestrade. The pain in his heart was so strong that he needed to sit down to make the phone call.

“Lestrade.”

“Good afternoon, Detective Inspector.”

“HI, Mycroft. I am sorry but I am in the middle of an investigation. Can we have this discussion later if it’s nothing urgent?”

“Of course, it can wait.” Mycroft paused. “I have received your parcel.”

Mycroft heard Lestrade shouting some orders before he reverted back to him.

“Shall we discuss it over a coffee?”

Mycroft thought he hadn’t understood correctly. “A coffee?”

Some more noise and then Greg’s voice came back. “Yes, as in going out together to have a drink. It could also be tea. I don’t care. Normally you kidnap me and take me to that club of yours. But now I'm asking you out, please note without kidnapping.”

“I do not kidnap you, Inspector, I merely-“

Other loud noises cracked over the line.

“Mycroft sorry, it’s not the right time. Yes or no?”

“Tomorrow at lunch? I will come to your office.”

“Perfect,” and Greg closed the communication.

 

****

 

Mycroft hated his reactions. On the way to Lestrade’s office, a clamp seemed to have fastened around his stomach. He met the Detective Inspector so many times that it simply made no sense to be so nervous for just another meeting with him. Was he so angry just because whom he thought to be an honourable man, a friend, turned out to be cruel like all the others? Normally he did not care. Lestrade was different. His behaviour towards him was different. He believed in their friendship. Not to mention the bloody damn attraction! Caring is not an advantage. What was wrong with his body’s reactions then?

Arriving at the Met entrance, Mycroft managed to put the Iceman mask back in place and strode to the Inspector’s office, noticing the looks he was receiving from the rest of Lestrade’s team. They went from scared to annoyed, if not resentful. He stayed impassive and knocked at the door.

Immediately, he felt the door opening and Lestrade exited the office carrying his coat on an arm. Their eyes met and the detective pointed to the exit door. “Mycroft, let’s go. If I stay here one more minute, I am sure I’ll be called to assist in some random emergency.” The two men left the Met and hurried to a nearby café.

Lestrade put a hand between Mycroft’s shoulder blades and the redhead could not avoid a shiver going down his back. Without noticing, the officer kept his hand there, while guiding Mycroft to a table that he had reserved in the morning for this lunch. They sat and browsed the menu.

Mycroft eyed the man sitting in front of him. He envied his relaxed state, his confidence, his being at ease in all social situations. The opposite of him. He had to force himself to find a good action plan every time other people were involved, nothing came natural. It was so difficult to cope with the completely illogical reactions of people. Being so comfortable as Lestrade was, happy to be himself everywhere, was mind-blowing.

Greg, probably reading his thoughts, smiled. “So… you received my box, didn’t you?”

“Yes, I did, Anthea brought it in my office yesterday.” Mycroft deeply inhaled. “What is the purpose of all this?”

Greg did not answer him directly, but studied him with those warm brown eyes. “Did you read the book I gave you?”

Mycroft shamefully felt his ears getting warm. Damn his fair complexion, blushing so easily! “I did. I do not understand the reason of all this. If you wanted to point out my social ineptitude, you should be aware that it has been already done, Inspector.” Mycroft managed to keep his voice low and cold.

Shock and worry spread over Greg’s face. He faltered. “That was not… definitely not my intention, Mycroft.”

Mycroft could sense the truth in Greg’s words, which worried him even more. “What do you want, Lestrade?”

Greg broke eye contact, moved his gaze to his hands, and started  fidgeting. He did not seem as sure as he was before. “It’s Greg. And ….and I wanted to attract your attention.”

Mycroft could not believe the uttered words. “I beg your pardon?”

The policeman started playing with his napkin. The waiter decided that it was time to take their orders and they both enjoyed the break in the tension that was forming between them. Greg ordered a sandwich and a coke, Mycroft a water and salad.

“You should eat a bit more, you know? How can you have energy till evening?” Greg inquired.

“I need to lose some weight,” Mycroft said, even before realizing what was going out of his mouth. He froze.

Greg looked skeptical. “Your weight is perfect as it is, possibly on the thin side.”

Mycroft scoffed. “Shall we go back to your packages?”

Greg looked somewhat vulnerable. “You know, it is difficult to impress someone when they already have everything. You are elegant, smartly dressed, and incredibly intelligent. You have power and money. There are not many ways in which an aging copper can make himself noticed by you.”

“And you decided to do it by sending me childrens books and toys?”

“Well, my childhood is defined by childrens books and toys. I loved fairy tales and I loved to play. I realized how important reading and playing was now with my nieces. It is not just silly stuff. It teaches you a moral, the good and the bad, it fosters imagination.  So when I realized that you were completely oblivious to all that, I decided that maybe I could, I dunno, teach you something? In case you were interested?” During the speech, Greg managed to destroy his napkin and tear it in many little pieces.

“And why do you want to teach me all this?”

“We are friends Mycroft. But I realized that… I fancy you and I thought you could enjoy a bit of levity in your life. A moment in which you could forget all the weight of the craziness of the world present on your shoulders.”

Mycroft was so shocked that his mouth hung open without any sounds coming out. He needed all his self-control to blurt out “But you are straight!”

“Does it mean you are not?” Greg said hopefully.

Mycroft regained his control and continued “Gregory, it has never been a secret that I am homosexual. However, you have never given any indication that you were anything other than heterosexual. You said we are friends. You always told me you wanted to date women.”

“I am not so sure about that, now.”

Mycroft did not dare to hope. He became scared. “Lestrade, I am not willing to become your experiment for a middle age crisis.”

“This is not what I mean!” Greg stated, loud.

“Among all the reasons you may have to be repelled by my body, I do not want to add the fact that I have a penis.” Mycroft stood and put some banknotes on the table. His expression was unreadable. He departed, leaving a flabbergasted Detective Inspector sitting at their table.


****

 

Greg was not yet ready to confront Mycroft after the rejection, but the contingent situation required otherwise. He hoped Mycroft was going to pick up his phone.

“Detective Inspect-“

“Mycroft, Sherlock has just been admitted at Bart’s. You should come immediately.” He stopped and heard the sharp inhale of the redhead. “Overdose. He is alive, they are trying to stabilize him.”

“Thank you” was all he heard from the other man before the line went dead.

Greg waited for Mycroft in the lobby of the hospital. Sherlock was in ICU, with an IV of naloxone. He was stable, but anything could happen in his frail body, battered by a long life of drug abuse. His heart beat was still slow and his breathing was complicated. A very pale Mycroft arrived, almost running aa he approached him. “Follow me,” Greg said, and rushed towards Sherlock’s room. Mycroft sat in the plastic chair at Sherlock’s bed side and took his brother's hand between his. The anguish in Mycroft’s face was heart breaking. The desire to hug the man hit Greg at full force and, before embarrassing himself, the policeman decided to retreat and go back to his office.

 

****

 

Greg knew that pursuing Mycroft Holmes was not one of his best ideas. The man was so out of his league and so aloof that…  Why couldn’t he fall for someone else? Why did he have to have this damn attraction and ruin their friendship? However, despite the sting of rejection and misery, Greg was mature and seasoned enough to realize that Mycroft was right on a point. Greg had to be sure of his feelings, Mycroft was not the man to have an experiment with. Greg needed to be sure of his newly discovered sexuality and that sex – intimacy -  with a man was not going to freak him out. Since he discovered his desire for Mycroft, he had watched a fair amount of gay porn. At the beginning, he felt somewhat embarrassed. Now, he was turned on. However, he realized that it was one thing to watch a “performance” on a screen and it was something entirely different to be part of it.

Greg wanted a relationship, not a fling. He was too old for one night stands and, in any case, they did not make him happy. He wanted someone to come home to, to take care of, to be himself with, to open up and trust. He wanted someone he could share a life with. He was a family man, that was always his idea. He always thought that this “someone” would have been a woman, a blonde or a brunette, he did not care too much. He was more interested in the soul of that person.  He tried to replay his dream putting a man in place of the woman. It worked…somewhat. He then decided to put Mycroft in it and replayed the dream in his head. It felt… just right. Homey. Greg smiled at himself.

He recalled what Mycroft said during their meal. It seemed that the Government official was convinced he was ugly. Greg had to smile. For all their intelligence, the Holmes brothers were so thick in the emotional department. Furthermore, Greg had the feeling that Mycroft thought he was not relationship material. He mentioned it more than once during their kidnappings. The constant care he had for his brother said otherwise.

It was probably time to be brave and risk some more rejection and hurt feelings if he wanted to have a chance of anything with Mycroft Holmes.

 

****

 

An amused Anthea entered his office with another parcel in her hands. This time, the size of it was rather minimal.

Mycroft raised an eyebrow, and before Anthea could say anything, he stated “Put it there, please. I assume it is from the Detective Inspector?”

Anthea dared to smirk. “Indeed, Sir. He said-“

Mycroft interrupted her. “What he said is not important, thank you. Just leave it over there.” He continued typing on his keyboard.

When Anthea left the office, Mycroft dared to approach the parcel. It was indeed very small, smaller than a standard letter, but thicker. Mycroft was torn between throwing it away immediately and opening it. Curiosity won and the redhead unwrapped it. It contained an unmarked small black box and a folded sheet of paper. He could see that the sheet was fully covered in the chaotic handwriting of the Detective Inspector. Mycroft decided to open the box first and with – to his astonishment – trembling hands he unfastened it. He took a glimpse of the object inside then suddenly he threw the box away as if it was burning hot, jumping backwards at the same time. For God’s sake, a butt plug?! How did Lestrade dare to send him a butt plug? To him, of all people! Why?

Mycroft tried to call himself despite the flood of emotions which were trying to overwhelm him. He picked up the box, putting it back on his desk. He unfolded the sheet of paper and started reading.

Mycroft,

I am sure the plug angered you. I wanted to get your attention – again - and I think I managed. Let me explain. I get that you don’t want to start anything with someone who is insecure about his own sexuality. It is perfectly understandable, you know? This is not the case. I might have never had …anything with a man, but I am sure I would like to have …whatever you are willing to give... with you. If it does not work, it won’t be because I got scared by your penis.

God, it sounds awful. I’m not good with words. I'll try again.

So, I like you Mycroft. I like you because you are hardworking, smart (yeah, maybe too smart), loyal, caring. Yes, you are caring. Look at what you do with your brother. I found these qualities endearing. I consider you a good friend, you know? I respect you.

And then attraction struck. Yes, like this. I started to consider you not only as a possible good friend, but as something more. You are right, it is the first time I have been attracted to a man. But it does not mean that it is not real. We could have something good you know?

I know you are out of my league, and I am embarrassing myself. But I am not going to experiment with you. I would like to try to have a relationship, if you agree, that is. I can promise that I am loyal and not the cheating type. I also promise to explain to you all about fairy-tales and Legos construction blocks.

And yes, sex is on the table too. If you want. But it is just part of the package.

Greg

Mycroft needed to reread the letter a couple of times. The Detective Inspector was amazingly brave to be so open regarding his feelings. Mycroft felt the butterflies tingling in his stomach. Of course he was interested, this was not the question he had to ask himself. He had been interested in the Inspector for years. It was whether he could allow himself to be interested. Interested not only in a relationship he had no tools to deal with, but also with a man who never had a relationship with another man before. Bugger, two relationship-virgin men trying to have something serious together? It sounded the perfect recipe for disaster.

 

****

 

Mycroft tried to avoid Greg for a whole month. A month in which most of his nights were plagued by dreams of strong arms holding him, big calloused hands stroking his skin and brown eyes looking at him with love and lust. He consequently woke up with a morning wood as hard as steel and – to his utmost embarrassment - a couple of times he even came during sleep, distributing semen in his sheets and pyjamas.  

This was not tolerable, he had to take proper counter-measures.

 

****

 

The counter-measure Mycroft came up with was to confront Lestrade. He was going to be rude to the man, showing him how different they were and how unfit for a relationship Mycroft was. Wounding the policeman was not what he wanted, but he needed a strong reaction from the silver-haired man so that he could see in his eyes not the warmth but the hate. This could help to forget him.

With this intent in mind, Mycroft showed up at Lestrade doorstep, sure of the presence of the Detective in his flat. He had control of all CCTV cameras in London, after all. What he was not prepared for was the sad, miserable, look Lestrade had on his face when he opened the door.

Slowly, Mycroft’s mind went back to work. Maybe, only maybe, he did not take one of the variables into account. Maybe, just maybe, Gregory was sincere and he was genuinely interested in him, so his indifference, his disappearance for one month after Gregory barred his soul in a letter to him, might have harmed the good inspector. But this new path of thoughts could only lead to destruction and harm, so it was not the preferred one to follow.

“Oh…Hi Mycroft” Greg said, sweeping his finger through his silver hair. The two men starred at each other awkwardly. “Do you want …uhm…to come in?” Greg said, in order to end the embarrassing silence, out of politeness.

“I apologise for disturbing you, Detective Inspector. I believe we need to talk.”

“Do we?” Greg murmured, but he gave way and led the Governmental official in his flat.

Greg’s flat was welcoming and warm. It was small, and maybe not perfectly clean, but it showed that whoever was living there took care of it. Since his sister and her twins had started to visit the Inspector frequently, Lestrade made a big effort to make his place as nice as possible and he succeeded.

“Do you want some tea, or maybe something stronger? I might have some whisky somewhere, of course not of the level you are used to drinking but-“ Greg was rambling.

“Tea would be most welcomed.” Mycroft tried to put Greg at ease.

While preparing tea, the resignation in Greg turned into determination. “What do you want Mycroft? Any trouble with Sherlock?”

“No, Sherlock is fine, thank you.”

“So, why are you here?” Greg poured hot water from the kettle.

“To tell you that whatever you had in mind between us, it simply would not work.”

Greg grimaced. “You have been rather clear about the fact that you are not interested. One month of total silence.”

“I never said I wasn't interested in you.” Mycroft immediately regretted what he said. He tried to recover the situation. “I mean, I am not interested in being anyone's experiment. And in any case, I do not do relationships. I am not equipped for it.”

Greg, for the first time since Mycroft arrived at his flat, looked at him. “I think you do relationships just fine. I think that it is not me who is scared by your penis, it is you who are scared by your feelings.”

Gregory meant it as a retort, however he hit home much more than he intended to. Mycroft froze and found breathing hard. Greg noticed it and his expression immediately turned into a worried one. He got closer to Mycroft and asked “Mycroft, are you ok?”

“I am fine, Inspector. I am fine.” Mycroft breathed in and out deeply and forced himself to go back to his plan. “I just want to point out how different we are and the fact that you have never been with a man before. You cannot be sure of what you want. No one all of a sudden becomes attracted to men at the age of 52! And anyhow I am not interested in relationships.”

“You said that already. And have I ever lied to you before, Mycroft? If I say I have no doubts, I don’t have them! I still don’t understand why are you here. The ‘I am not interested’ was very clear before you came.”

Mycroft opened his mouth but did not know what to say. Indeed, why on earth was he there? To sweep away an erotic dream?

“To…. To convince you that your choice makes no sense.” Mycroft managed to say.

“My choice?” Two pots of tea were cooling untouched.

“Yes, your choice of potential partner.”

Greg cocked his head to one side and crossed his arms, leaning on the worktop. He looked like a Greek statue, the emblem of masculinity. Mycroft felt doomed.

“I am… incapable of having feelings. Not suited for relationships.” Mycroft continued, starting to panic.

A smile blossomed on Greg’s lips. “Pull the other one, Mycroft.”

Mycroft started trembling. “I am the epitome of homosexuality. I love to cook, love fine clothes and beautiful items.” Blushing furiously, Mycroft added “and I even cross-dress, in the privacy of my home. Not often, but…” Mycroft was sure this would put the brave detective off.  He kept his gaze on the floor, because he did not dare to face the disgust surely present in the policeman’s face. However, a smothered moan forced him to raise his head. Lestrade’s pupils were enormous and he was breathing heavily. Oh Lord.

The policeman slowly moved his hand to cup Mycroft’s check, allowing him all the time to step back. Mycroft did not. “May I kiss you?” Greg asked, softly. All of Mycroft’s immense brain was screaming ‘no’, but for once, his heart took control and he nodded. Gentle lips met his in a tentative kiss. Muscled arms pulled him towards the silver-fox body and encircled his waist. The kiss was a …hell of a kiss, respectful and patient, but full of promises. No one could deny that Lestrade was a great kisser.  Mycroft relaxed into it and moved his hand upwards to stroke the thick, soft, silver hair he has always admired.

They separated only when the need of oxygen became greater than the need of kissing, and they put their foreheads together. “Bloody hell, Mycroft,” Greg uttered, husky voice full of desire. Greg was looking at him with smouldering eyes. “I want to peel you out of this suit. I want to bring you to bed to show how incredibly attractive you are to me.” He swallowed. “But you have to guide me.”

Mycroft could not stop shivering, confronted with the intensity of the other man’s desire. Normally, he was not the object of anyone’s desire. Funnily enough, his very limited number of male lovers, with whom he had only sex with no strings attached, made him the experienced one now. “It is … not so difficult.” At least Mycroft hoped so.

Greg took Mycroft’s hand and pulled him towards his bedroom. The bed was not too big, for sure not as big as Mycroft’s, but it looked clean and comfortable. Mycroft’s arousal sparked again as soon as Greg's mouth started leaving wet kisses on his neck. His neck had always been an erogenous area. Determined, and at the same time somewhat uncertain, fingers started to unbutton his shirt. The redhead knew he had to do something, like reciprocate, but he was just overwhelmed by sensations. With his former lovers, it was different, there were not so many confusing feelings involved! His stillness did not deter Greg, who managed to remove substantially all his clothes, besides his pants and socks.

When the warm body left him, Mycroft’s brain returned on-line. He realized his undressed status and that Greg was intent on removing his own clothes. Gregory was a piece of art, strongly built, olive skin and well defined muscles. Mycroft looked back at his own body and a wave of despair went through him. He froze on the spot bracing for the rejection that was going to come as soon as Gregory turned and had a proper look at his own figure. The reaction he got was … quite the opposite. Greg’s eyes were roaming over his body, with an amount of lust that he could not grasp, although present in front of him.

Mycroft pointed at his body. “I know this is not very attractive,” he said to the room. He was pudgy, freckled and full of scars. His past as a field secret agent left clear marks on his sensitive skin.  Greg simply licked his lips and stated, “You are a complete idiot” and proceeded to ravish him. Strong hands touched him everywhere, and moved quickly towards his groin. Greg started stroking his shaft, inexperience making it rather clumsy. Mycroft did not mind, he was so aroused that even the most inefficient touch produced the pre-cum oozing from his cock.

Greg stopped his ministrations and looked at him. “Show me?” Gregory asked, pupils blown wide, placing Mycroft’s hand on his cock. Mycroft took his cock in his hand and started stroking. Greg placed his hand over Mycroft's and encircled Mycroft's cock as well, their fingers intertwined. After a few tentative common movements, Mycroft removed his own hand to enjoy the full skin-to-skin contact with the silver-fox. Mycroft could not stop his hips from jerking up and he was unabashedly fucking Greg’s fist. Another hand started to fondle his balls and that was all it took to make him climax. White semen started gushing out from his penis, in an embarrassingly copious amount. Mycroft felt boneless and lightweight, and simply collapsed on the bed. He needed a few seconds to remember his bed-partner. He raised himself on one elbow and tried to assume a flirting tonle. “Let me take care of you, now.” He should be the experienced one, after all.

Greg grinned. “It's not necessary.”

Mycroft raised an eyebrow.

“You were so amazingly erotic like that…reactive to my touch and all flustered… I came just from touching and looking at you,” Greg said.

Mycroft blinked a couple of times and glanced at the flaccid cock between Greg’s legs. He came looking at me. Mycroft felt like someone slapped his face. How could that be? Could I really trigger such reactions?

Greg was surely not deterred by his silence. “Ok beautiful, now that we’ve reached an agreement, and I convinced you that I’m not scared by your lovely thick penis, can we have dinner and build a castle?”

 

****

 

Mycroft quickly learned that, although a life changing event took place for him, the rest of the world continued to function and behave as normal. Therefore, although he wanted to spend time with his…boyfriend? Lover? Partner? ..with Gregory, his job was as demanding as ever and murders did not stop either, so when he was free often Greg had a case, and vice-versa. It was frustrating.

When they managed to be together, it was incredible. Of course a lot of whatever they did was new for both of them, and they had to take the measure of each other. Honestly speaking, Greg seemed to not have too many problems in having a man as a partner. They had many more arguments about Mycroft's general attitude towards life. “I am the British government” had to learn that, although Greg understood many things about his job were classified,  there was a minimum that had to be shared. If he was leaving the country, he had to inform Greg. If he was not coming home at all during the night, or if he was going to be unreachable for a while and he knew it beforehand, a warning was expected.  It was difficult for Mycroft to make space in his private life for Greg, but he was doing his best.

He also had to learn to live with the plethora of new emotions that were popping up every day. The night before he almost burst into tears when Greg, after wonderful lovemaking, looked at him and said that his body was the sexiest thing he had ever seen. He called him “freckles-decorated”. Before Greg, he would have felt humiliated, not delighted.

For his birthday, the silly man brought home an immense package and put it under the desk in his home office. They spent the night playing with a system called “Meccano” or something similar, that Greg assured was perfect for a genius like him. Greg had coerced Mycroft into playing with him at least once a week on the carpet in front of the fireplace. He should feel embarrassed. He did not understand why instead he felt his heart bursting with joy.  

Not everything in Mycroft’s life was happy, however. Sherlock was using. He was now in a rehab facility and refusing to meet him. Luckily Greg was his rock, his support in fighting the nightmares he constantly had, in which he found his brother dead in some filthy alley.

 

****

 

Greg phoned Mycroft and asked him to come to his latest crime scene. Sherlock was there, but he was behaving erratically and Greg was not sure whether he was simply pissed off and ruder than usual, or high. Mycroft postponed his next meeting and went to check on the situation.

Warm brown eyes welcomed him, together with a brief brush of fingers that tried to soothe him. If Mycroft had known that a relationship meant one was not alone in hard times, he would have started it years ago.

His brother's location was easily identified from all of the shouting. Mycroft approached the bent body on the ground, which was insulting everyone around. Sherlock finished the examination of the corpse, looked around and his eyes stopped on his brother.

“You are shagging Lestrade,” he said, matter-of-fact.

“It is none of your business, Sherlock.” Mycroft prepared himself for the next blow.

“He is straight.” Sherlock continued.

Mycroft smirked. “I assure you, he is not.”

Mycroft felt his brother’s gaze intensifying. He was ready to utter another comment when he saw the pain. His brother was metaphorically bleeding and was allowing him to see it. Shocked, Mycroft turned towards Sherlock and quietly added, “This is the first relationship Gregory has had with a man, that is true. However, he is not straight.”

“Relationship, brother-mine? Since when are you doing relationships?” Sherlock’s sarcasm was back in full force.

Mycroft did not retort, because he saw how Sherlock was trying to protect himself. “Since Gregory asked me to,” he honestly answered.

Sherlock was not prepared to hear the truth from his brother and his head jerked upwards. “Was he scared?”

Oh, brother. “No, he was not. He was insecure, but not scared.”

Vulnerability again showed up in Sherlock’s features. “Do you think he can…teach John? Not to be scared?”

Mycroft’s heart broke a little for his brother. “I do not think it is something that can be taught. However, a talk between them could be helpful.” The redhead was sure Gregory could put some sense in John’s head. Or at least he could try.

Sherlock nodded.

 

****

 

That evening, Mycroft called Greg. Their routine now included evening calls, if their mutual situation of course allowed, to arrange a later encounter or simply to say hello. Mycroft was very much surprised to get comfortable so quickly with new…procedures. Normally, when he had to deviate from his own routine, it felt like it had been forced on himself. Everything regarding Gregory, on the other hand, came very easily.

“Hi, beautiful.”

Mycroft blushed pink to the tips of his ears. He had never been ‘beautiful’ for anyone.

“Good evening, Gregory.”

“So, what do you think about your brother? Was he high?”

“No, he was not. He was disappointed and angry. He is hurt by John’s behaviour. That is, by his dating, although it is not very successful from what I have heard. In any case, Sherlock is seriously wounded by his flatmate’s string of new women.”

“Mmmm, did he ever express his feelings to John?”

“Well, besides Sherlock’s inexperience, would you express your feelings to someone who is repeating ‘I am not gay, I am not gay’ like a mantra?”

Gregory started laughing and the warm sound of his partner’s voice made Mycroft’s heart beat quicker. “You’re right. It was difficult enough to disclose such feelings to someone I knew was gay,” Gregory said with fondness in his voice.

“Do you think you can talk to John?”

“Mmmmm, I don’t know. I tried once to discuss sexuality with him, but the outcome was a complete disaster.”

“You have discussed your sexuality with John?” Mycroft asked, quite surprised.

“Well, I didn’t. I tried, but as I said, it didn’t end well. Any suggestion to the fact that he might not be 100% straight is taken as an offence.”

“Were you worried when you discovered that you were attracted by men?” Mycroft inquired. In reality he wanted to ask ‘attracted to me’, but he was not brave enough.

Greg sighed. “You know, there’s still this stupid prejudice about gay men. If you’re gay, you’re sort of less of a man. Maybe more feminine, I dunno. It’s unfortunately still widespread.”

“And how do you feel?” Mycroft braced for the answer.

“Me? I never felt more virile and masculine in my whole life.” Greg said, laughing. “I mean, when you focus on me as if I am very important to you….”

Mycroft beamed. Without Greg’s courage, they would not be where they are. “Come here, tonight?” Mycroft was surprised by his own boldness. Normally, it was Greg who initiated everything.

“Shall I bring some takeaway? From that Indian restaurant you find tolerable?” came the response.

Having someone being happy to see him unconditionally was making Mycroft giddy.

“Yes, but please do not buy food for an army, as per your usual.”

The warm laugh started again. “No, don’t worry. And you’re not fat. See you later.”

Mycroft was the first to arrive at his home, and after a few minutes, Greg opened the door with the card and access code Mycroft gave him one month ago. Of course he brought a mountain of food, because Greg could not avoid indulging him, to dispel his idea of being overweight. With the takeaway in one hand, Greg immediately greeted him with a big smile. “Hi again, beautiful,” he said, kissing him on the lips quickly and openly breathing him in. “You smell delicious.”

Mycroft smiled. “Are you sure you are not confusing me with the curry?”

Greg put the takeaway on the table without breaking contact. “Oh, love, definitely not,” and to underline the statement, he started to lick Mycroft’s neck, triggering a loud moan out of the redhead. Mycroft immediately turned pink.

“Are you very hungry? Or can we wait for dinner, so that I can have my wicked way with you?” Mycroft did not manage to smother another moan.

“It will get cold,” Mycroft tried to object.

“Then we will put that expensive-looking microwave of yours to use, " Greg stated, opening few buttons of the redhead's shirt while tugging it out from his trousers. Mycroft stopped complaining and let himself be manhandled towards the bedroom where he barely suppressed a squeaking noise when Greg lifted him bridal-style and deposited him onto the bed.

Mycroft was still very self-conscious about his body, and he never felt comfortable being naked in front of anyone. The reassuring lust and adoration he always saw in his partner’s eyes, however, was doing wonders and he allowed himself to be naked on top of the bed sheets, while Greg was licking and caressing him everywhere. The elder Holmes was lying on his back and Greg was on top of him, positioned between his thighs and playing with his nipples. Mycroft was so lost in sensations that he almost missed what Greg said. Indeed, he was almost sure that “I would like to try something new” had been murmured in his ear. He opened his eyes and looked at his partner, who was gently smiling.

“What do you have in mind?” Mycroft asked.

A flash of hesitation appeared in the warm chocolate eyes. “You said you generally…bottom..in your past experiences.” Greg was somewhat uncertain. “Would you like to try with me?” A small pause and then the policeman hurried up. “I definitely don’t want to hurt you, so I’ll follow your direction, you'll need to tell-“

“Yes.”

Greg mouth opened. After few second he managed to ask, “Are you sure?”

“Yes.” Mycroft was smiling and reached with a hand his bedside table. He opened the top drawer and swiftly put a small bottle of lube in the big hands of his lover. “I have not done it for a very long while, so you have to prepare me.”

There might have been a couple of awkward moments, maybe even embarrassing, when Greg was opening up Mycroft with his fingers, and some fine-tuning in their respective positioning had been needed as well, so that Greg’s cock could properly hit Mycroft’s prostate, but besides that, for both men the feeling of making love together in such an intimate way was overwhelming. Greg’s hip thrusts, met by loud whimpers from the redhead, set a natural pleasurable rhythm that brought the two to orgasm very quickly. Mycroft realized that, for the first time in his life, he came untouched.

Basking in the afterglow, gentle hands started stroking Mycroft’s side and little soft kisses were placed along his jawline. The official stilled when he felt one hand moving onto his tummy to rub it, but he forced himself to relax. It’s Greg, he thought. Probably mind-reading his thoughts, the policeman smiled at him, a kind, reassuring smile. “If I had known that sex with a man could have been like this, I would have started my explorations much earlier.”

Mycroft turned to face the Detective. “So, am I a successful experiment?” the elder Holmes said, and it came out probably more seriously than intended.

“No.” Greg answered, equally serious.

“No?” Mycroft repeated, a little worried.

“No,” Greg confirmed. “An experiment is something that starts and then reaches an end. This thing here,” and he waved his hand in the little space between their bodies, “I have no intention of terminating soon.”

If Mycroft had had less self-control, he probably would have burst into tears of joy. He managed to contain himself and – worried of betraying his emotions too much if he started speaking - simply took the hand of the policeman and put it over his heart. They stayed like this for a while, limbs entangled.

“I think my bed is much more comfortable than yours,” Mycroft managed to say, out of the blue, looking at the ceiling.

Greg looked at him, somewhat puzzled. “No doubt about it, Mycroft.”

“Wardrobes in the house also have enough space for your limited amount of clothes,” Mycroft continued.

“Well, not everyone owns a selection of clothes not even a fashion model has!” Greg wanted to sound offended, but he could not avoid giggling.

“And there is a spare room you already use as an office when you are here,” the official continued undisturbed.

“Spill it, Holmes.” Greg was openly grinning now, watching his lover with fondness.

“Live with me?” Mycroft asked, vulnerable.

Greg’s heart leaped. He reached his lover’s cheek and tilted the man’s head towards him. “It is a big step, you know, that people generally take after many months or years of being together.”

“Too early?” Mycroft uttered, eyes low.

“I honestly think it is a brilliant idea,” Greg answered, pouring all his love in his voice. Maybe five months were far too soon according to some standards, but they had more than 10 years of friendship to make up for it.

Mycroft’s eyes moved upwards. He gifted Greg with one of his rare, sincere smiles, one of those where his eyes crinkled. “Yes?”

Greg felt really sorry not to have the stamina of a teenager anymore, because it was one of those occasions when he would have happily buggered his lover twice. But unfortunately he was past 50. Nothing, however, prevented him from snogging him again. Soundly. “How can I refuse you anything, you amazing man?” Greg said, and proceeded with his project.

After dinner that night, Greg gathered Mycroft along his side under the duvet and started reading him Pinocchio, while the genius rested his head on his chest. On the bedside table on Mycroft’s side, a copy of the “The Travels of Marco Polo” sat, an original version in old French that the polyglot was reading on his own when Greg was not there.

 

****

 

John was already sitting at the table, with a beer in front of him. He greeted Greg waving his hand.

Greg sat in front of him and ordered his pint. “I need to tell you something, John,” he immediately began. If the tooth has to be pulled out, better to do it immediately, Greg thought. John, as expected, steeled himself and his eyes became cold.

“Well, then go ahead,” Captain Watson answered.

“Mycroft and I are together, together as in a relationship.” At this, John’s eyes grew wide. Greg decided to continue the speech, using the surprise factor. “The sex is amazing, among other things, and we have decided to start living together.” John looked down at the table, shaking his head in disbelief. “Are you willing to hear more about this?” Greg asked, preparing himself for an outburst from his friend.

John stayed silent for a few moments in thought, then lifted his gaze to meet Greg's. “Yes,” he said, with quiet determination.

 

FIN