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2018, December 10

 It's not often that Greg actually has a moment alone at work, and when he does he always takes the opportunity to have some coffee and a pastry. It never lasts long, and today is not an exception.

"Mycroft!" Greg exclaims around the donuts as he rises to his feet.

"I didn't mean to interrupt your...meal," Mycroft says with only the tinniest accidental sneer of his nose.

"It's quite all right. What did Sherlock get himself into now? Is he in jail again?"

Mycroft's face fights a grin, the way it almost always does when he thinks about his baby brother, "Not since John's ill fated bachelor party. This isn't actually about Sherlock."

"Well, if it isn't Sherlock, than it must be serious. What do you need?" He says with such intensity that Mycroft is certain that if he ever did call upon Greg's help in order to prevent the world from crashing down Greg would be someone that he could rely on.

"I've come to ask for something that is more in the line of a personal favor," Mycroft says suavely.  Greg is taken a back, but he nods. "I'm sure you are aware that my brother and his doctor have entered into a romantic relationship."

"Yeah, took them long enough," Greg huffs.

Mycroft's face is unreadable in the way that it always gets when he's hiding something, "You can imagine that Mummy is quite pleased with these developments."

"I'll bet, especially with Rosie in the family," Greg says.

"She's begun putting pressure on her oldest son to settle down," Mycroft says. He sighs, "Daily."

"Oh, I'm sorry mate," Greg says with sympathy.

"Am I correct in understanding  that you will not be spending the holidays with your wife this year?" Mycroft asks.

"My ex-wife, and no, that's over. Been over a for a while," Greg says looking really confused. Then he remembers Mycroft was asking for something personal, and he recoils at the thought of someone like Mycroft being with his ex wife "Oh, no Mycroft, I don't know what your spies and CTV have told you, but you would not be happy with Alice."

"No serial meandering, impulsive spending, and emotional distance are unlikely to make anyone happy," Mycroft says. Greg look at him in surprise. He'd ever figured that Mycroft would care enough to notice something like that about him. "Besides, if I were to show up at Christmas with a woman, my family would have a lot of questions." Mycroft shifts, and it's the first time that Greg has ever seen him look awkward. 

"Oh!" Greg says, "Forgive me for being heterosexual normative there. I should know better," he says with a shy smile, "I've had a few relationships with men myself." Mycroft nods, and Greg feels like an idiot, because he knew, of course he knew. "I'm sorry, my experiences are from college. I don't know any suitable partners for you..."

"Right," Mycroft says his face falling in a way that is far more open an honest than Greg has ever seen. "It was a bit much to ask, and I'm sorry to have interrupted your afternoon tea." He spins out of the room. Greg's stomach sinks. He knows that he's muddled the conversation horribly, but he isn't sure exactly what he did wrong. He follows Mycroft, "Wait, do you want a donut?"  Mycroft's eyes look amused, but he doesn't say anything. "No of course you don't want a donut. You eat posh food. I'm a slob. I just...you could stay. I could...serve you some tea which is a lot worse than the tea you are used to."

"I'm sorry I made you uncomfortable," Mycroft says softly, "It was too much to ask. I was pushing as hard as Mummy."

"Oh God!" Greg says, "You were asking me to spend the holidays with you?"

"It was a miscalculation, it was far too much to ask. I apologize," Mycroft says trying to make his escape. 

"No, I just didn't see it," Greg says quickly continuing to follow the other man down the empty corridor.  "It honestly never occurred to me seeing as how...out of your league I are. I would love to spend the holidays with you."

"It's quite all right. I'll tell my mom some edited version of this misadventure, and the sympathy will buy me a bit of time," Mycroft says.

"Well, I'm glad that I cause you enough suffering to warrant a reprieve, but seriously. I didn't understand. I would love to do this with you."

Mycroft examines his face for a long moment, and then he lets out a long sigh before he says, "You will be suitably compensated of course."

Greg feels a sinking in his stomach, because of course it's not real. Of course Mycroft bloody Holmes would never actually want to date him. To Mycroft, Greg is just someone easy enough to manipulate, and make a good showing for his mother. Greg shakes his head, "If I didn't take money for letting Sherlock detox at my house, or arresting him for you when he needed you to give him a wake-up call, or..."

"Taking care of him in a way he would never allow me to," Mycroft says with his voice thick with emotion.

"Right, if I didn't take money for all of that, why would I take money for his?" Greg asks.

They stare into each other's eyes for a second or two longer than is strictly necessary. "My secretary will send you the details, thank you." Greg watches the British government walk away, and has one of those moments where he can't quite believe this is his life.