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Inexplicable (Mystrade)

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A/N: Okay, first, I must say that this fic would never have been possible without jaimi-or-jaemi, whose prompt allowed me to explore an avenue I hadn't even considered myself. Second, I want to apologize in advance- if you've followed me for any length of time, you know that I pretty much post a chapter every day, when I'm working on a multi-chapter fiction. Due to the fact that my next semester of college starts up tomorrow, I will be much busier, which means that updates are highly likely to be less frequent. I will do what I can, when I can, and I hope that nobody is disappointed if it takes a little while longer than usual for me to post. I will be around, my darlings.

Now that I'm done rambling, I shall let you get on with my latest work! Thank you for reading, and if you have anything you'd like to say, do let me know. Enjoy!

"This is not—"

"This is most definitely your fault, brother dear, now do shut up!" Mycroft was snippy with Sherlock for once, instead of the other way around, and rightfully so. Mycroft, after all, wasn't the genius consulting detective who'd pissed off one of London's foremost drug dealers by causing his brother to get arrested, and prompting retaliation. And for once, it hadn't actually even been Mycroft's fault he'd been with Sherlock. The younger brother was the one who'd requested that they meet, and requested that he not bring Anthea as the matter was "sensitive."

Mycroft, who hadn't done field work in years, hadn't even managed to convince their kidnappers that he should be allowed to keep his umbrella. Not that it'd have helped; just one of him against six of them that he knew of was a bad risk.

So instead of fighting, or acting in any way, he and Sherlock had decided to be patient, and see if they could get any information out of their captors. So far they'd not been hurt, but then, the man who'd paid for Sherlock's kidnapping hadn't arrived yet. With any luck, he would understand that to harm Mycroft Holmes was a torture and death sentence, and would immediately give up on his plans. If he did not… Well. Mycroft didn't really fear death, as he knew death would come for him eventually regardless of when, and he'd recently found life rather unfulfilling anyway.

If he was honest with himself, he was probably lonely. He'd spent the past couple decades of his life simply watching over his little brother and doing his job, and now Sherlock didn't even really need him. He had John to take care of him now, and Mycroft had been doing his best to not interfere with their lives. Which left him with no one and nothing, really, at the end of the day.

So while Sherlock spat insults at their captors, Mycroft sat calmly, eyes closed, meditating on his life and how he'd come to be here. It was only after the kidnappers had left them tied to chairs and exited the room that Sherlock finally fell silent for a little while, audibly seething while he worked to free himself from his bindings.

Mycroft internally rolled his eyes at this, at least until his younger brother grunted in failure.

"John will be coming for us soon. We just have to wait." Mycroft sighed, giving in and opening his eyes.

"How lovely that your white knight will be coming to rescue us, when this all could have been avoided had you let Anthea come and meet you with me. What was it you wanted to talk about exactly?"

Sherlock blushed a little, biting his lip.

"Erm… Well, it seems a little silly now, but I was actually… John and I are getting married, and I was wondering if you should like to be my best man. I know that you and I are not close, but as you are the only family I have, and the only person I might call friend beside Lestrade and John, who neither of whom can obviously be my best man, so… Well. I suppose I was in the mood to play cloak and dagger as you do, but I truly did not mean to get you kidnapped."

Mycroft blinked, a little surprised, then sighed and nodded. It was the closest thing to an apology that Sherlock was ever likely to give him, and the offer was, frankly, unexpected enough to startle the elder Holmes. Not as much, however, as the gunfire he heard coming from the floor above them just seconds later.

Still tied up, there was little either of them could do but listen as a series of shots, a few screams, and the sound of pounding footsteps rang out, followed by two pairs of feet running down the stairs.

Mycroft was not surprised to see John Watson leading the charge, ignoring the fact that a bullet had nicked his arm in his rush to get to his flat mate… fiancée now, Mycroft supposed. He wondered when exactly that had happened, as he hadn't picked up on it, but decided it probably didn't bear thinking about.

What did surprise him, and instantly draw his considerable attention, was when Gregory Lestrade was right behind him, and instantly set to his ropes while John took care of Sherlock's. Mycroft hadn't ever actually met him face to face, but they had shared a number of surprisingly nice phone conversations over the years, concerning their mutual efforts to keep Sherlock safe, sober, and most importantly, alive.

He knew what Gregory looked like, but was a little surprised when he addressed him while hastily undoing the ropes that held him to the chair.

"Mycroft, are you okay? They didn't hurt you, did they?" Mycroft nearly gaped at the DI's obvious interest in his welfare. He hadn't considered the two of them particularly close, though he supposed they had shared more phone conversations than he would have with a mere acquaintance, and it was surprisingly pleasant shock to realize that Gregory cared about his condition, at least a little.

"I'm perfectly fine. They didn't hurt either of us. They were planning to when the drug lord arrived, I'm sure, but you arrived with plenty of time to spare, as it would have been at least another forty-two minutes before he would have been able to get here." Greg snorted at Mycroft's matter-of-fact tone, choosing the ignore the casual way he talked about the potential of getting injured or dying. That was something that maybe, maybe they could address later.

"How did you know who I was, Gregory? We've never met face to face before."

"Well, first off, I found an umbrella upstairs, and that's how John always talked about you. Second… you just sit like a Holmes. You've got that same haughty dignity Sherlock does, even when you should be terrified. It's a little scary, frankly. I think you might even have 'dignified' down better than he does. Anyway, let's get you out of here. I've got my men watching the doors, so everything should be good. Do you need to call anyone?"

"No," Mycroft murmured, even though he should probably have gotten in touch with Anthea. He had the strange urge to linger around the cop for a while longer, enjoy his candor and not think too much about the fact that there was no one, on a personal level, he would have been compelled to call. Until tonight, he'd thought his brother was the only one who might care… now, intrigued at the possibility that against all odds he might have found himself a "friend," he decided to see if what he was feeling was true friendship, or if it was just a reaction of realizing that the man had saved his life. It appeared, he realized with a small smirk that got him more than one raised eyebrow, that he had his own white knight.

Chapter Text

Mycroft ignored the insults slung back and forth between his younger brother, Sergeant Donovan, and the idiotic Anderson, who to his mind didn't deserve a title. All his attention was on the DI who was competently securing the scene and ordering his people around. He did spare a moment to be amused when John grabbed Sherlock for a long, passionate kiss that clearly said he didn't give a damn who was watching, and when his brother responded with equal enthusiasm, but for the most part, he kept his focus on Lestrade's calm handling of the scene, and the way he occasionally glanced at each little grouping of people.

More than once, Mycroft felt a shiver of awareness when the cop cast his brown eyes in his direction, but then someone else would have a question or comment to make, and his attention would be diverted once again. Mycroft was content to watch from the corner of the room, which was more or less a giant warehouse. He was half in the shadows, as it was poorly lit, and clearly a place where crimes were frequently plotted or committed. There were remnants of at least six different batches of cocaine here and there, just that the politician could see from where he was standing, umbrella casually resting with the tip against the ground.

As he watched, he occasionally tapped out a melody absently, something he remembered from when he'd learned piano as a child. He could still play flawlessly, but preferred to write his own pieces, on the rare occasion when he had the time and inclination to play. For him to tap out an old melody suggested he was lost in thought; it was a habit of his, one of the few tells he allowed himself. He occasionally faked it on purpose to make others think he wasn't listening, but his mind was always at least partially attuned to his surroundings.

It was because of this that he noticed the fact that Lestrade's eyes strayed to him nearly twice as often as they did to his little brother, and the way his body had turned toward him as if his first move, when he was able to get away, would be to come over and check on him once again.

He and Sherlock were technically required to stay on the scene as the only non-criminal witnesses in order to give their statements, and Mycroft had actually had to bite back a chuckle when he'd heard one of the newer officers suggest that they might interview him and allow him to go home. Gregory had snapped at the young man, making it clear that only he was technically even qualified to take Mycroft's statement. He found it strangely endearing, that the man was a little possessive of him.

Mycroft wasn't quite as amused when Sherlock came over and leaned against the wall beside him, rolling his eyes with his arms crossed over his chest. He looked even paler than usual, with the strange lighting of the warehouse, and his eyes followed John like a hawk, even as he made a customary offhand comment about Mycroft's weight.

"You know, dear brother, asking someone to do you a favor and then insulting them is a poor way to achieve your aim." That shut Sherlock up quickly, and he shot a sharp, startled glance in Mycroft's direction. He was used to bullying his older brother, and always getting away with insulting him and wounding him. It was unusual that Mycroft would fire back calmly instead of getting upset or offering a terse smile and leaving. But the elder Holmes wasn't really in a mood to pander to Sherlock's whims after the past couple of hours, and he wanted to make that clear.

"I suppose that's a fair point," Sherlock conceded after a long moment of silence, watching Mycroft warily with one eye while never completely losing sight of John. They were both wondering what exactly had triggered that specific change in dynamic, but then John headed their way, obviously worried they were going to start killing each other any second, and Sherlock was distracted.

"Yes, by the way." Mycroft said off-handedly as Gregory finally got a break and headed his way. Mycroft met him halfway, ignoring the fact that his brother was staring at his back, likely gaping, and offered Lestrade one of his trademark smiles… almost. He was aware it was a little warmer than normal, but Gregory wouldn't know the difference.

"Gregory." It was very late at night now, and most of the other officers were getting ready to go home. The DI nodded to Mycroft and ignored the few of his people that remained.

"Would you like to go someplace more comfortable to give your statement, Mycroft? I'm sorry for the hold up. I was expecting an associate of mine to come and secure the scene so that I could take your statement hours ago, but there was a murder across town, and since kidnapping isn't technically my division, I told him to go ahead and take care of that."

"I certainly don't mind. Detective Inspector Dimmock was needed elsewhere." If Greg though it strange that Mycroft knew who his "associate" was automatically, he didn't comment, instead leading Mycroft out to his personal vehicle, rather than a cruiser. It was obvious he'd been at home when he'd gotten the call, and Mycroft realized that he'd probably given up his day off in order to help John save him and Sherlock. He felt a warm rush of pleasure, and spared a moment to wonder where it'd come from as he stared at the motorcycle in front of him.

"There's only one helmet, and you can have it. Have you ever ridden a bike before?" Mycroft could only smirk.

"I've never heard of a knight who rode a motorcycle." His dry tone earned him a confused look, but he didn't care to explain where the stray thought had come from just yet. Instead, he informed the DI that he had been on a motorbike a time or two, and swung on behind him, wrapping his arms around his waist and holding tight. It was an interesting opportunity to study the man up close, and feel the strength he still carried despite the fact that he was a little older, and Mycroft wasn't above taking that chance.

Greg barely managed to avoid showing his surprise at Mycroft's willingness to get on his Suzuki, but he knew his eyes widened a little when he found himself wrapped up in the tall politician. It was a really good feeling, but he knew better than to dwell on it; he would deal with the small bud of attraction he was feeling later, and figure out if he wanted to do anything about it or not when he was where a Holmes couldn't deduce his every thought.

"Back to the Yard, or would you prefer to go elsewhere?" Greg made the offer before he fired the machine up, and then it was purring beneath them like a kitten. He had to repress a shiver when Mycroft leaned forward and put his lips right next to his ear to answer over the engine, the tone downright sinful.

"You tell me; you're the one driving." The statement, of course, only fired up a plethora of questions in Greg's mind, but he managed to disengage the kickstand and start driving, Mycroft clinging close to him in a very distracting way.

Chapter Text

A/N: Here it is, darlings, the update as promised. This story's not quite behaving the way I thought it would, but I'm liking it anyway, so that's fine. I hope that if you read it, you'll like it. There is smut coming, and you will see it pretty soon. Enjoy!

The inside of the coffee shop was brightly lit, but Gregory and Mycroft settled at a little café table outside, wanting a bit of privacy for their conversation. The night was a warm one, and there was a soft glow coming from the street lamps that fought the omnipresent smog of the city, transforming the street and making it appear as it might have a hundred years ago or longer.

In the strange lighting, Lestrade looked younger, darker, edible… Mycroft's mind froze for a moment then rebooted, wondering just where that thought had come from. Had he ever considered a human being edible before? Had he ever wanted to devour another person in long, slow licks, delicate nips, and the occasional harder marking bite? He couldn't think of a moment in his life when those thoughts had occurred to him, but now here they were, so late to emerge he wondered that they could exist at all.

It was with only half his mind that Mycroft answered Greg's questions, his voice low and soothing. He was very good at his job, the politician knew, far better than Sherlock gave him credit for. He knew how to talk to people, how to figure them out and make them feel at ease, a skill which Sherlock admired in his John Watson and missed entirely in everyone else. But the DI had made Mycroft feel comfortable from their very first interaction, a nearly impossible feat. Perhaps that was why his heart was still a little fast from their motorcycle ride earlier.

"I really like this little café. They're always nice in here. I guess I've been a regular since the divorce, but even so, they certainly know how to keep customers coming back. And the coffee here is certainly better than the sludge back at the Yard."

Mycroft, who'd gotten tea, couldn't comment on the state of their coffee, but offered a small smile in acknowledgment. He'd often considered arranging for this man to get a promotion, but had resisted the impulse for two reasons. The first, which had almost instantly put the brakes to the thought, was that Sherlock worked poorly with everyone else, but actually almost liked Gregory. That made it easier to keep him on cases and off of drugs. The second reason, which had only occurred to him later but definitely reinforced his decision, was that Greg truly loved his job. He wouldn't really want to be behind a desk.

There was something about adrenaline junkies that attracted those with the last name Holmes, Mycroft thought with amusement as the DI continued to ask him questions and fill out the report, interspersing personal commentary through them occasionally just so Mycroft wouldn't get bored or impatient. He fielded the questions easily, even asked one or two of his own, earning a confused but pleased smile from the cop when he wished him a happy early birthday.

"It has been surprisingly nice, spending time with you in person. I must say, you're not at all like your brother would paint you." Greg's comment drew Mycroft's attention firmly back to the conversation, and more, earned a chuckle that even surprised him. It had been a long time since he'd felt any sort of genuine amusement that merited more than a small smile, and that only increased his loneliness at the realization that when Gregory took him home, he would be alone again, all night long. And it sounded as if that moment was coming shortly.

"Sherlock and I have an interesting relationship, but I wouldn't let it color your perception of me, Gregory. Though I wouldn't necessarily trust my own observations were I you, either."

"And why's that?" Greg's head was tilted to the side and his eyes gleaming with silent laughter, as if Mycroft was funny, instead of terrifying. Somehow, that was not people's usual reaction around him, and he wanted more of this.

"Because, Gregory, I am an excellent liar, even to myself. I am the only man left alive on this earth who could fool my brother, and that makes me very, very dangerous. Unlike him, I have no John Watson to hold me in check." It was the simple truth, but Greg smiled slowly, like spring spreading slowly over the landscape of his face and thawing and melting away winter.

"Well then, perhaps you need to find yourself one. Shouldn't be too hard for you, all things considered." There was an innuendo in Greg's voice that Mycroft wasn't sure how to interpret, but since his tone bordered on flirtatious now, and he had mentioned the fact that he was divorced casually earlier in their conversation…

"What things should be considered, then, Gregory?" Mycroft all but purred his name this time, and was pleased, and astounded, to notice that his pupils dilated a little at his tone, before that smile grew even wider as he leaned in a little more.

"Well, have you looked at yourself lately? And even beside that, you just carry this… aura of power about you that's damn near irresistible to anyone who's into that sort of thing."

"And where would I find someone who's 'into that sort of thing,' do you think?" Playing along both because it amused him and because it stirred something in him that he'd never known existed before, Mycroft watched the DI closely, unaware of the sparkle in his own eyes.

"I wouldn't think you'd have to look too terribly far. Might be as close as your own back yard." With that, Lestrade winked and stood, taking both their empty cups back inside and leaving Mycroft to consider his words for the few brief moments he had while the cop made small talk with the barista.

He'd obviously been making a reference to New Scotland Yard, as well as the fact that Mycroft's powerful position—disguised as a minor one, though everyone who was anyone knew better—meant that he had the entire police force essentially at his command. That, and about a dozen other little signs throughout the evening as well as a few more significant ones, indicated that he was interested in Mycroft as more than just a friend.

And who was he to argue? The man had technically saved his life that very night, after all, and Mycroft was both amused by that and a little in awe of it. Gregory was no Special Forces man, yet he'd been every bit as fearless as one of the droves Mycroft had at his command, making him wonder at the simple courage that he possessed, courage that was every bit as appealing as it was impressive.

Mycroft was no damsel in distress, but as Gregory returned and casually swung on his motorbike, waiting patiently for Mycroft before firing up the engine, he thought that he might just have to find some way to reward his hero after all.

He murmured directions low in Greg's ear, taking it turn by turn so that he could have the pleasure of feeling the man he was more or less wrapped around tense up a little every time his lips casually brushed against his ear. Mycroft had to resist the temptation to nip at the lobe, deciding that if he was going to seduce this man, he would make sure that Greg was with him every step of the way, and could escape if he chose to. His victory would be all the more rewarding then. Still, it was fun to tease, and to toy with the idea of simply taking what he'd never before even considered wanting.

When they arrived at the building where he stayed while in London, Greg actually got off the motorcycle to walk Mycroft to his door, instead of simply waiting and then driving off when he got there. That told the politician all he needed to know, so when they reached the doorstep, he put his key in the lock, then very deliberately turned around to find the DI practically breathing the same air he was.

Greg's eyes were wide and luminous, reflecting the streetlight and turning his chocolate brown eyes strangely silver as his pupils dilated even more in anticipation. When his tongue flicked out and licked his lips, Mycroft held his position, barely daring to breathe as he leaned in at a torturously slow pace until finally, their lips met perfectly.

There were no exploding fireworks, at the gentle brush of lips to lips, but there was a definite spark that smoldered even as he took a step back, satisfied to see that Gregory looked bereft, as if he wanted more. But Mycroft wanted the sense of expectation, wanted to draw this out as it was the first time he'd ever attempted a seduction, let alone been involved in one.

Yes, there was a desire to invite the cop in, only fed by the knowledge that he wouldn't say no. It could be over all at once, quick as a snap of his fingers, a fast brush fire that eroded and consumed everything in its path. And that could be satisfying. But Mycroft wanted more, and unless he was mistaken, the DI wasn't any more interested in a one-off than he was.

"Goodnight, Gregory. Perhaps you will let me take you out soon as thanks for having rescued me. It isn't every day that I require rescuing, but I am quite pleased that it was you who freed me." And indeed, he had. It was more than physically; he'd unlocked a flame inside Mycroft with his heroics, a flame that burned a little brighter now after their brief, teasing kiss. He looked forward to claiming more of them, but was going to make certain that the cop wanted it every bit as much as he did.

More than pride, it was an impulse to for once be on the same wavelength as another human being. Not twelve steps ahead, and not in opposition as was the case with his brother, but for once to be in step with someone sounded… irresistibly appealing.

And for Mycroft, who was used to taking what he wanted, it was nice to know that for once, it was being given. He didn't just want the DI's cooperation; he wanted his surrender. Not because he was technically his superior, and not because it might make things more pleasant, or unpleasant, when working with Sherlock. Mycroft wanted Gregory to be interested in him as a person, and maybe lose a little sleep over him. And for once, it wouldn't be fear, but intrigue, that inspired that reaction.

"I… That would be good. Thanks. I trust you'll let me know when?" Greg had recovered from his astonishment and was now smiling in amusement, though there was still a little confusion in his eyes. Mycroft supposed that was understandable. It wasn't just anyone who received a kiss, let alone a date, from the Iceman. Still, he seemed pleased by that, as he accepted Mycroft's nod, got on his motorcycle, and drove off only after the door was closed.

Mycroft smiled wickedly into the darkness, reminding himself a bit of some kind of predator. He'd been compared to a shark more than once, and decided it had been an apt comparison. Well now, he thought to himself as he walked through the flat he knew so well even in the dark, it appeared that Gregory was prepared to swim with the sharks, as the saying went. He could already taste the blood in the water, and if he whistled to himself as he walked through the dark rooms, the tune a little eerie and remote, even the slightest bit threatening… well, Mycroft had never pretended to be anything but.

Chapter Text

Greg stared at the note on his desk, the one that had been delivered with the single red rose earlier that afternoon. It had been nearly a week since he'd seen or heard from Mycroft, and he hadn't bothered trying to ask Sherlock if he'd heard from his brother. He always pretended to despise his brother, even though he would serve as the consulting detective's best man at the upcoming wedding.

Now, he was feeling a flutter of nerves in his stomach, ones that were both hopeful and just a little bit frightened. Mycroft was new and exciting, and appealed to Greg in a lot of ways. He was mysterious and elegant, with just a hint of danger to keep things interesting, and had the manners of a preacher with the eyes of a sinner. He was the sort of man who could make countries rise and fall, all from the comfort of his own home, just because he was bored.

The only thing that worried Greg was the fact that Mycroft was not the kind of man who wore his emotions on his sleeve. He was much like his brother in that regard. Greg hadn't even been convinced Sherlock had had feelings until he'd found John, and even then, they'd been stunted and awkward. Who could say what the Iceman could or couldn't, let alone would or wouldn't, feel?

Sure, he'd seen interest glimmering in those eyes for a moment, as well as something far older, deeper, and much more basic, but that could be the end of it. Did Mycroft know joy or pain, or love or hate? It might be impossible to tell for months, and it would be different than the dating experiences he'd had in his long distant past. He hadn't, admittedly, put himself back on the market after the divorce. He'd simply decided to stick with the bachelor life, until Mycroft's eyes had burned him from across the room. Now, it was all up in the air again.

It wasn't that Greg wasn't excited. He just wasn't sure how to go about dating someone like Mycroft. Should he bring flowers? No, Mycroft had sent him a flower. Did that mean he was the woman in the relationship? That didn't make sense, considering Mycroft was the one whose mannerisms tended more toward the feminine, though he had that sense of unmistakable masculine power about him…

Fuck. Greg ran a hand through his hair, reading the elegantly scrawled words on the thick, creamy invitation.

Please do me the honor of joining me at the Diogenes Club after work tonight. A car will be waiting for you. Mycroft had signed in the same elegant hand, and Greg instantly knew that he'd taken time out of his day to write it himself, even though he could as easily have had a secretary write it. Then again, a secretary probably wouldn't have written it more as a command than as a question, leaving no option but"yes" on the table. Greg didn't know if he could have turned it down anyway, however.

Frowning, he remembered that he had, in fact, essentially agreed to it the night he'd dropped Mycroft off. He just hadn't been thinking about it, so preoccupied had he been by the kiss, as well as the potential that hadn't come to fruition. If he went back from more, would he earn another perfunctory kiss, or would Mycroft give them a chance to ignite? Did he even want that, or would it burn them both up to try this?

Greg wasn't sure, but he also decided he was going to give it a try anyway. Even though he'd felt like he was drowning in the icy waters of Mycroft's eyes, and he knew it was likely suicide to dive deeper when he should have been getting his ass out of there, he decided that if he was going to die, he was going to go out swinging.

He flipped a text to Sherlock asking for Mycroft's assistant's phone number, and received a response immediately, to his surprise. He'd assumed that Sherlock would tell him at a crime scene, if he bothered telling him at all, but that gave him a chance to put his plan into action a little bit earlier. Grinning, he shot his text, and then waited.

The response wasn't long in coming, but it was a phone call, which surprised him, and wasn't from the woman who occasionally went by Anthea, which surprised him more. It was Mycroft, and on his own personal number.

"Gregory, if you wish to get in touch with me, you can contact me personally. There is no need for you to go through my assistant." There was a wealth of cool amusement in Mycroft's tone, but Greg heard past the typical chill to the truth beneath it. Mycroft was… intrigued by the fact that the cop had made an effort, and not only that, but pleased that Greg was giving as good as he got. That fact soothed the rougher edges of his nerves away, leaving him free to flirt and enjoy himself for the first time in what felt like forever.

"I didn't have your number though, did I?" Greg practically purred the words, leaving Mycroft to take from that what he would.

"Well, now you do. Feel free to call anytime. I might not always answer, but I will call you back." It was a promise, and Greg knew in that moment that Mycroft wasn't looking to casually date him. This was a courtship, and if they kept making grander and grander gestures toward each other, it wasn't going to be too long before the two of them were between the sheets together, burning up.

"Since if you always get in touch so swiftly, I guess I can deal with you personally instead of going through Anthea, so I may just take you up on that. Right now, I just have a simple question. Do they serve decent food at your club, or would you prefer I bring something for the two of us?"

"Am I courting you, Gregory, or are you courting me?" Mycroft's tone was a fraction warmer now, touched with laughter, and Greg grinned even though Mycroft probably couldn't see him. Probably. He wasn't ruling anything out.

"A little bit of both, I believe. Now answer the question, Mycroft. The sooner I get done, the sooner I can arrive."

"Fair enough. The food here is good, but I have a feeling you like your meals to have a little more… spice." The innuendo was unmistakable, and Greg licked his lips instinctively.

"I do like things hot, yes. So I'll see you soon, then. And Mycroft?" A hummed, lilting response encouraged Greg to continue. "I might just bring desert."

They were both chuckling when they hung up, pleased with the results of the phone call. Mycroft returned his attention to his work just in time for another meeting with a foreign dignitary, and Greg smiled at the ceiling, wondering what would kill him first—the fire or the ice. Somehow, he thought before continuing with his report, it might just be both at the same time.

Chapter Text

A/N: And now we move rather quickly from flirting to the other stuff. You guessed it: smut. This chapter is pretty much purely designed around that toe-curling prospect. I'll give you more plot next time, I promise, but in the meantime, enjoy.

The car that picked Greg up seemed entirely too posh, definitely something he could never have afforded to rent, let alone own by himself, and he wondered just how rich Mycroft was while he absently ran the tip of his finger up and down one of the seams on the leather seat, his only giveaway gesture of how he was feeling as the car, which seemed to have some sort of automatic green light trigger, finally dropped him and the Chinese takeaway he'd selected off in front of the Diogenes Club.

Greg knew a little bit about how the place worked, so kept silent as a man in an official looking uniform, with white hair and a balding head, led him at a rather slow pace to a room near the back. He smiled his thanks and entered, hearing the soft click of the door behind him as he looked at Mycroft, seated behind an elegant, obviously antique, wooden desk, looking at him. Greg had to resist the urge to swallow, well aware that he'd followed the lion into his own den. What happened now?

"You may speak now, Gregory. This room is for my private use, and as such, is not restricted to the rules elsewhere in the club. Though we must be careful not to speak much louder than normal, if we wish to preserve the sanctity of the atmosphere for the other members." Mycroft smiled his wolfish grin as he rose, almost seeming to float as he crossed the room to the small café table already set for two.

"This is a nicer date than I'm dressed for, I think." Greg commented as they sat down and dished out the meal, earning a small chuckle from Mycroft and a smoldering once-over that nearly had his toes curling.

"I think you look stunning, Gregory. But then, I expected that." Mycroft sounded pleased with himself, and Greg realized that once again, the man who had no experience with relationships—as far as he knew—was leading theirs. He'd once again forgotten that he was dealing with a Holmes, who would simply take over everything if given the chance.

"Did you? So if I'd shown up in a ratty old shirt and torn jeans, would I have been admitted here or told to leave."
Mycroft blinked at this, then a slow smile spread over his face, making him look both younger and a little more… well, feral was the only word that Greg could think to describe that particular gleam in his eyes.

"It would not have been the strangest thing this club has ever seen, and in any event, you would have been let in even if you were naked and covered in honey simply because you are my guest, and I invited you."

Greg wondered if he was imagining that particular occurrence, and realized that Mycroft could probably make it happen, if he wanted to. It was a slightly uncomfortable though, but not enough to make him back away now. He'd known what he was getting into; here, in a club frequented by some of the most powerful men in Britain, Mycroft had a private room, which was an honor given to only the most elite of the elites, and had the ability to invite anyone he wanted inside, including a cop whose family had never been among the lords and ladies that the club had boasted for the entirety of its existence.

"You're a very dangerous man, Mycroft." Somehow, instead of the simple comment he'd meant it to be, it sounded like he was flirting, perhaps even daring Mycroft to prove his words correct. And that was okay; Greg wasn't shy about his feelings, and wasn't about to start being so now.

"I can be." Mycroft replied easily, finishing the last of his dinner and watching as Greg took his last bites as well. When they were both finished, they stood, and Greg moved to box up the leftovers. Mycroft was around the small table in a flash, his hand landing gently but insistently over Greg's and stopping it.

"Leave it." The words were whispered in his ear in an undeniably seductive way, and Greg shivered a little in response. That was good, but now Mycroft was just a little bit stuck. He knew, in theory, how this was supposed to work. But theory often had little bearing on reality, and Greg was the one who knew the right and wrong steps in a relationship. Perhaps Mycroft should have let him lead, but that wasn't in his nature.

"Mycroft…" Greg turned his head and captured Mycroft's lips before the younger man could so much as blink, and this time, there was no teasing, not even the illusion of it. It was a fierce kiss, involving teeth and tongue, and when it was over and Greg let him breathe, Mycroft found himself flat on his back on the luxurious sofa, somehow down to just his dress shirt and trousers. The rest of his clothing had gotten itself scattered somehow, in a strange, meandering sort of path to where they currently lay.

"Don't worry, honey. I've got you." Sensing the younger man's nervousness Greg continued to kiss him then, but didn't stop with his mouth. They were past that, and if the bulge currently pressed against his own hip was any indication, Mycroft wasn't going to ask him to slow down any.

Greg kissed his way down Mycroft's neck, unbuttoning his shirt as he went so that by the time he reached the base, which had formerly been covered by his collar, he had the room to kiss, suck, and nip the sensitive zone. Mycroft wouldn't appreciate any hickeys where they could be seen while he was at work, but Greg wanted to mark him, and decided that as long as it was hidden, it was probably okay.

Mycroft let out a groan when Greg sucked particularly hard, and Greg chuckled, pulling back long enough to see his eyes. His pupils were huge, nearly eclipsing the iris gone molten mercury with desire, and then graceful, surprisingly strong fingers were tangled in his hair, yanking him down for another demanding kiss.

"Don't worry, Mycroft, I'm not going to stop." Greg reached down and palmed him through his trousers, earning a hiss of pleasure as Mycroft leaned up and nipped at Greg's neck, trying to take back some small measure of control.

Instead of a slow moving seduction, like Greg had half-expected from the Iceman, things moved quickly, hands gripping and stroking and nearly tearing at clothes in an attempt to gain more territory. Each new inch of hot skin was something to be explored now, savored later, and it wasn't long before they were each stripped bare, hands trying to be everywhere all at once.

"How do you want to do this, Mycroft? Who takes who?" Greg was almost painfully hard, and the question was an important one. Perhaps later, they would take their time with things, but at the moment, he was burning up with need that was much more insistent.

"I… Take me. Show me how it's done." Mycroft couldn't think of a time in his life when he'd ever consciously given control to another person, and maybe it wouldn't ever happen again. But in that moment, somewhere between where he handed Greg the lube and the other man prepared him and then fucked them both to completion, he realized that there is as much power in giving as there is in taking. And then his brain ceased to work at all for a few minutes, thoughts burned away like cobweb under a potent wave of white-hot pleasure.

Chapter Text

A/N: Just so you guys know, I didn't forget about you. Apparently ff decided that one of my titles for one of my other works was a sex joke or something, and I was unable to post for a couple of days as a result. Because of this, I am also going to be posting on AO3 (Archive of our own for those of you who don't know) as well as here, just so my work is still out there in the event that ff dismisses it.

This chapter is the tiniest bit angsty, but ends up being all fluffy. I'm still working on the next chapter, so I don't think you'll get a third update today, but do please remember that this is the second chapter I'm posting today, to make up for the lost time. Do please enjoy, and forgive me for my absence. It wasn't something I had planned.

"So what is this?" Greg asked, idly tracing patterns on Mycroft's chest with a finger. The two of them had wound up sprawled on the floor after three rounds of rather fantastic sex, and they were both too lazy to do much more than lay there tangled up together. Mycroft was sprawled on his back with one arm under his head and the other stroking down Greg's back where the older man leaned over top of him, half collapsed though he was now supporting some of his own weight.

"What do you mean?" Arching one eyebrow elegantly, Mycroft glanced at his new lover, a little surprised by the question.

"Are we dating? Or are we just going to be fuck buddies, or whatever the Holmes equivalent of that is?"

"Does it matter?" Mycroft immediately realized his question had been the wrong one when those formerly warm eyes cooled and shuttered over. Greg sat up, putting a physical distance between them as well, so Mycroft rose, too. He didn't know how to go about being in a relationship like this, well aware that stories in books were a pale comparison at best, and he hated that he was already making mistakes. He was Mycroft Holmes, for heaven's sake; he couldn't remember the last time anything had made him feel unsure, unless it came to his brother.

"No, I suppose it doesn't. Same time next week, then?" Greg's voice was acidic, while inside, he was cursing himself for even having brought the question up at all. Of course Mycroft didn't want a relationship. He was Mycroft, the Iceman, the man who basically ran the government and had no heart at all, by all accounts. Just because they had some really fantastic sex, and Mycroft could burn him up with a look, meant nothing. He wasn't going to become a different person just because they'd slept together.

And that should have been fine. Greg had known what he was getting into. Hadn't John warned him how strange it was to be in a relationship with a Holmes, how differently they saw the world? But Greg was not by any means used to such callousness when it came to relationships, and hadn't had a one-night stand since uni. He was dependable and solid, reliable and caring and just an all-around nice guy. Mycroft wasn't even in his league. He would probably only deign to date some high-powered government official like himself, who knew better than to get attached through a few flirty phone calls, texts, and conversations.

"Gregory… Please, stop. I did not mean it in that way." Mycroft reached out and lay a hand on Greg's shoulder, having expecting it to be shrugged, or even smacked, off. Clearly, he needed practice with the whole relationship thing, but that didn't mean he was going to hurt Gregory and chase him off while he was getting it all figured out. At least, he would try not to. And that had to count for something, right?

"Look, Mycroft…" Greg paused, ran a hand through his already rumpled silver hair. Mycroft, it seemed, quite liked his hair, and had spent a few minutes running his own hands through it, even tangling his fingers in it to hold on while they'd had sex one of the times. Those memories temporarily distracted Greg, before the careful look in Mycroft's eyes drew him back. Right, he'd gone and made it complicated.

"I don't expect you to become a different person just because we've… Well. I'm not normally shy, and I'm not going to be now either. The fact that you and I had sex doesn't mean I'm going to become one of those clingy types that needs constant reassurance that we're in a relationship or anything like that. I suppose I was just curious if this was an exclusive relationship, or if you had planned to seek other companionship. That's all. It's not a big deal either way, but I do prefer to know. Don't worry. I won't get all sentimental on you."

"Gregory, I think you've gotten me wrong. This isn't… I'm not interested in some sort of occasional companionship situation. I was under the impression that we were entering into a relationship, and that you, because you are the one who has actual experience in these matters, would take the lead, so to speak. I don't know how this works, honestly, and since you do, I assumed that you would enlighten me. I was unprepared for your query."

Mycroft nearly cursed himself; he sounded like the boy he'd been all those years ago, retreating into big words and stiff manners because he was insecure and horribly, horribly lonely. It only ever made things worse. He could still hear the laughter that had mocked him during his few painful attempts at making friends as a child, remembered his vow that he would never, never be in a position where he was the weak one in the room again. Yet here he was, admitting his ineptitude to someone he desperately wanted to impress. Closing his eyes and letting his hand drop, he waited for the scorn, knowing that he wouldn't be able to steel himself against the hurt.

"Mycroft… Hey. What's wrong? I wasn't trying to offend you or imply anything. I just… Oh, fuck it all, I've never been good at this sort of thing." Greg pulled Mycroft into his arms and realized that for all his nearly feral capability in the outside world, when it came to a more intimate, one-on-one interaction with someone he cared about, he had no idea what to do. It was just another layer of mystery for him to unravel, and many things, including his strained relationship with Sherlock, began to make a lot more sense, now.

"I really wasn't trying to hurt you. Please tell me you know that. I'm willing to take the lead if you want me to; I guess I just thought that since you initiated this… I'm an idiot, sometimes. Don't take it personally. I want a relationship, too. If we're being honest, I wouldn't be here if I didn't. It's only that I know how Sherlock used to feel about more emotional matters, and he once told me that you were the one who taught him that caring isn't an advantage, so I guess I just… Didn't believe my eyes."

Greg knew that his explanation was really bad, even lame as his younger cousins would have termed it, but it was all he had to offer. Mycroft's eyes snapped open and surprise was visible, vibrant, oddly radiant in those silvery pools tinted red from reflected firelight. It was a mildly disconcerting effect, but too beautiful to look away from.

"Gregory…" Mycroft's mouth was suddenly very close to his, but there was still a shadow of uncertainty in those eyes, and Greg knew that just to kiss him, no matter how mutually satisfying it would be, wasn't going to be quite enough. He needed to find the words, something he'd never been very good at.

"I mean it, Mycroft. I'm here for so much more than the sex. Sometimes, you're just so damn human, more than anyone else I've ever met, that it breaks my heart a little. I should know better than to put stock in the Iceman routine, after everything tonight, but… Okay, maybe we both needed a little reassurance. We didn't really talk this over. We've just kind of been going with it, and I think that's made us both vulnerable to doubt. So let's just do away with that right now. I want you, and you want me, and it's not a temporary situation, but an actual dating relationship."

"I… Yes." Mycroft agreed slowly, barely able to believe it but trying to trust in it anyway. You can do this, he told himself, you can trust Gregory. You wouldn't have brought him here if you didn't believe that. Take the leap. If faith is one of the very few things you can actually offer this man, than by heaven and hell you will give it to him.

"Brilliant." Greg grinned, relief making him both excited and just a little bit weak. To compensate, he lay back down, drawing Mycroft down on top of him for another long, drawn out kiss.

Chapter Text

A/N: Back to some plot, and while I realize that my version of Mycroft is going to be a bit OOC for the purposes of this chapter, you'll understand why by the end of next chapter if he says a few strange things. It's in the works, and you should see it tomorrow. Until then, my darlings, please do enjoy!

"So what does your brother think about this?" Greg and Mycroft were on the phone again, though reception was sketchy at best. He knew he was probably in a better position to figure out what Sherlock was thinking or feeling as far as location went, considering Greg was in London and Mycroft was in an undisclosed location, but Mycroft also knew Sherlock far better than anyone else in the world, and had an uncanny knack for knowing even the things he shouldn't have so much as been able to guess.

"Why should my brother think anything about this? I believe he assumes that we have simply worked out an arrangement. Sherlock believes me incapable of sentiment, Gregory. I once warned him that caring isn't an advantage, and I think he took that to mean that it isn't one of my weaknesses. That isn't true, but he seems to have forgotten that the best understanding of a weakness comes from possessing it."

Greg realized that Mycroft was about to seriously start confusing him with the direction of his commentary, but also knew that he couldn't just let it go with that.

"Okay, but Sherlock's the only family you ever talk about, which would indicate that he's the one who's most important to you. Shouldn't he know that you and I are a couple now, in a real relationship? Unless you don't want him to know, that is." It was a cold slap to the face, the realization that Mycroft could want to keep him secret. He would have understood keeping it away from the world, but knew that it would be truly painful to realize that Mycroft didn't even want Sherlock knowing.

"Why would I not want him to know?" Mycroft sounded confused, and Greg felt a strong rush of relief, and instantly cursed himself for acting like a teenage girl in his first relationship. Why did it matter if anyone knew? They knew, which was all that should really matter.

"Well, I suppose if you were afraid that the fact that you have decided to invest in sentiment might make him vulnerable, you might not want him to know. And now I sound like I'm trying to talk you out of telling him." Greg sighed, wishing Mycroft was in front of him. They had some rather blatant communication issues, when it came to words, but their bodies always seemed to know how to fix that. Whether it was a single burning glance, or a gentle caress or kiss, it was so much easier for them to connect and understand each other's worlds when they were physically close.

A phone conversation just wasn't cutting it. No matter how much Greg loved that smooth, aristocratic voice, it just wasn't the same as being able to kiss that half smirk off his face or surprise him into blushing.

"Gregory, I think that if something's bothering you, you should tell me. Then we can figure it out together." Mycroft's tone was sympathetic and a little bit sad, too, and Greg found himself being completely honest, when he'd told himself that he wasn't going to rush things with them.

"I want you here with me again. It seems like no matter how many times I have you, I want more, and the fact that I haven't seen you in a week only makes it worse when I think about how many times I've wanted to reach for you that you haven't been here. I hate that it makes me question everything, having us apart like this, but it does. You have this whole other life, Mycroft, one into which I don't even factor. That's hard for me to swallow."

There was a long moment of silence, and Greg's heart sank. Was Mycroft going to give up on him because he'd said too much?

"Gregory, I've just looked at my schedule, and I believe I can wrap everything up and be home tonight. I'll be with you as soon as I can. I didn't think it would bother you this much, having me away."

Greg cursed himself for a fool.

"You don't have to rush home just because I miss you. I am capable of taking care of myself, Mycroft, and I am pretty used to being on my own. Don't drop everything just because I'm insecure or whatever."

"Maybe I miss you just as much as you miss me, Gregory. Did you consider that? Life can't be life as usual now, because something rather critical has changed. I will be home tonight, and I hope you'll be there waiting for me. I can have a car sent for you, if you like. We could spend the weekend together."

"I have a shift this weekend, Mycroft. As tempting as that is, I do still have work. Tonight sounds fine, but I can't promise you the rest of the weekend."

"You let me worry about that. Now, if I'm going to keep my promise to you, I have a rather urgent matter to see to. I'll see you in a few hours, Gregory. Take care, my darling." Greg heard a distinct click on the other end and found himself blinking confusedly at his phone for a moment. Not only was it unusual for Mycroft to hang up without saying goodbye, it was beyond strange for him to use an endearment, especially so casually.

Greg was a little lost in thought as he finished filling out the paperwork for and older case John and Sherlock had helped him solve. Fortunately, they'd actually shown up an hour ago to fill out their reports for the most recent one, and were gone now, leaving him in blissful solitude to catch up on case files he'd neglected. He'd been trying to keep busy the past couple of days so he didn't have to spend time by himself, but he supposed that would change in a few hours.

Running a hand through his hair and ruffling the silver strands, Greg stretched then bent back over his desk, writing up his version of the day's events and quickly checking to make sure John and Sherlock's reports agreed with his before filing it all away.

By the time he'd finished with the last of the cases on his desk, it was long since time for him to leave for home, so he figured he should head out. Nearly everyone else had already gone home, and when he hit the streets, one of those signature, nondescript long black cars was waiting for him. With an amused smile, Greg slid in and lay his head back as the driver courteously closed the door for him, whisking him away for a weekend at Mycroft's country mansion.

Chapter Text

A/N: A little smut, but mostly fluff, this chapter is where Mycroft softens and actually has a completely unguarded moment with Greg. I really wanted to show the rapidly growing trust between the two of them, and I hope I did that justice. Do let me know what you think, and enjoy!

The first thing Greg noticed when they arrived was that Mycroft's "country home," as he referred to it, was massive. A marvel of brick, steel, wood, and glass, it was tall, wide, and very beautiful, especially in the starlight that could reach it here. It was far enough out of London that the smog dissipated, letting the house glow in the silver light of a nearly full moon.

The second thing he noticed was that Mycroft, although he greeted him with an enthusiastic kiss that almost didn't stop at a kiss, looked exhausted. The driver left as Greg took Mycroft's hand and the two of them walked together up the steps to the front doors, which were polished dark cherry panels with actual knockers and windows cut in to the top half. They were open, as Mycroft had come out of the house to meet him in the drive, and Mycroft graciously gestured for him to enter, an amused smile making his face look a little less tired for a moment.

"Welcome to my home, Gregory. Please make yourself right at home." Mycroft was all Old World elegance and grace, though his movements were a little slower than usual. He hadn't looked quite so worn out even after being kidnapped, and Greg was curious enough that when they settled at a small table in Mycroft's kitchen, with food set for both of them and wine for Greg, while Mycroft sipped at a cup of coffee, he had to say something.

"Are you okay, Mycroft? You look really, really bushed. I kind of feel like I should have come over tomorrow, let you rest tonight." Mycroft offered a small smile at this, one that wavered a little as he contemplated his answer. When he did speak, the words came slowly.

"We live in this crazy world where cities fall and people die every day, and something we're so used to that we just tune out like it means nothing, when it ought to mean the world to us. We would self-destruct if we cared half as much as we should, but the secret to surviving is realizing that we can't save everyone, maybe can't even save ourselves, but that we can enjoy this life while it's ours, because it's only so long, and all we can do in the end is hope that it all counted for something."

"That's not really an answer," Greg pointed out, only to have Mycroft shake his head, taking another slow sip of his coffee.

"It is, and it isn't. I suppose what I mean by all of that is that I am tired. I spent my time away playing political games which could save or cost thousands of lives, all of which are balanced on a knife's edge, and most of those I work with, particularly those who are good at their jobs, are so cold and careless about the very people they are meant to protect and serve that they have all but ceased to truly care about any of it, outside of considering it an amusing game with which to pass their time.

"The second part of my little speech referred to the fact that I want you here to remind me why I do the things I do. It isn't a game to me, no matter that I would like to pretend that it is. If I am to be truthful, having you here reminds me that I am human, and that I have the right to have personal investments even when they are not the easiest thing in the world to have. You seem to have a way of soothing my rough edges, making the world make sense when I start to lose my focus, and I… I needed that, tonight."

Things started to click together for Greg all at once, when he remembered the airstrike he'd heard about on the news the day before. It had taken out a terrorist cell, one that had been about to attack several countries, but there had been civilian casualties involved, and the death toll was more than a dozen innocents. It had been an extremely covert mission, ordered by people so high up in the government that their names had been kept classified even when the other details had become clear. Mycroft had obviously been a part of that.

"I interrupted you from doing damage control, didn't I?" Greg's voice was low and sympathetic, and his eyes held too much knowledge. He understood what Mycroft meant without him ever having to say it, and that somehow meant the world to him. He shrugged, finishing the last of his coffee, sighing when he felt the caffeine starting to wake him up. There had been little time for sleep over the past week, but more than rest, he had needed Greg.

"The worst of it was already done. My assistant can handle the smaller details, which is all that's left, so I decided to come home. I rarely take a break, but not even I am completely invulnerable when it comes to these matters. After I was sure that things were under control, I was going to come home anyway, but our conversation earlier just gave me a reason to speed up the process. And no, before you ask, I do not mind that in the slightest. It was actually… a relief, knowing I had something beautiful to come home to in the midst of so much ugliness."

Greg, who understood that well considering his own line of work, nodded and remained silent, in case Mycroft wanted to talk about it. The information was probably classified, and they'd talked about it in the most abstract way, but both of them knew what they were referring to. According to Sherlock, Mycroft was the British Government, so he could undoubtedly tell him whatever he wanted with no consequences. It wasn't as if Greg was going to go off and sell government secrets, after all.

But Mycroft had no interest in talking about death here in his private home, where not even his assistant was ever permitted to enter. He lived here alone, and had no housekeepers or gardeners, or even chefs in residence. He had a woman come in and clean once a week, but other than that, it was his private domain, and no one, save his brother, had ever been welcome here before. Gregory had changed that, like so much else, and Mycroft was grateful for that now, when he could finally admit to himself that he needed the comfort of another warm body beside his when he slept that night to chase away the nightmares that would inevitably find him.

"What would you like to do, Gregory? The grounds are beautiful if you wish to take a stroll, or if you want to stay in, I have a telly and a lovely fireplace, as well as more of that wine. I would play piano for you, but I'm afraid I'm a bit too tired at the moment. Tomorrow would be better, if you want to hear something that's actually pleasant."

Greg smiled slowly, rising from his seat to come around the table and draw Mycroft to his feet with a gentle hand. The younger man was practically swaying on his feet, yet his words were just as crisp and posh as ever. Mycroft was a man who rarely let his façade slip, and the fact that he was willing to let Greg inside meant more than words could express. He felt a wave of tenderness overtake him as he pulled the redhead into his arms for a kiss, trying to make sure there was no doubt how Greg felt about him.

Mycroft melted into the swirling colors that danced behind his eyes when Greg's lips touched his, barely aware when Greg led him from the kitchen to the dining room. It was only when he asked Mycroft where the bedroom was in a whisper against his lips that he even realized they'd moved. He gestured upstairs, and the cop continued his assault, nipping and kissing his lips as they moved up the stairs carefully and, on the third try, found the master bedroom.

Undressing the politician slowly, Greg stroked over his body with gentle hands until Mycroft was trembling with need as much as weariness. He laughed softly as he encouraged his lover to sit, then lie down, covering his body with kisses and more of those soft, teasing strokes while Mycroft writhed and made noises beneath him.

At one point Mycroft tried to touch Greg back, but those hands, with all the casual strength of a man whose work depended on power and skill, pinned his to the mattress for a moment.

"It's okay, Mycroft. Just let me take care of you." The policeman proceeded to take him apart then, so slowly that Mycroft almost didn't realize he was about to orgasm until it was happening, ripping him apart and putting him back together, leaving him feeling more complete and whole than he had his entire life.

His last thought before he drifted off, the sheer exhaustion finally getting the better of him, was that he didn't deserve a man like Gregory, but was so, so glad to have him. He might even fall in love…

And then Mycroft was asleep, not consciously aware of the way Greg cleaned him off with a damp flannel before crawling into bed beside him and wrapping his arms around him, prepared to hold him all night long.

"I think I might be falling in love with you," Greg murmured to his sleeping lover, more confident testing the words out in the dark where Mycroft wouldn't hear him anyway. When his stomach jumped pleasantly, and he didn't feel the overwhelming fear or instinctive panic he typically felt when he made a mistake, Greg smiled and nuzzled close to his politician, aware that at some point, the words would come out. And when they did? Well, Greg was ready. He just wasn't sure Mycroft was ready yet. That, however, was an issue for another day. For now, he slipped into slumber, grateful that Mycroft, however inadvertently, had suggested that Greg was his home.

Chapter Text

For the first time in what felt like ages, Mycroft woke feeling warm and safe, sheltered close to another beating heart which he could hear thumping soothingly under his ear. It might have alarmed him, if Mycroft Holmes woke up like other people, in a slow, lazy way, with thoughts returning slowly as feeling crept from one part of his body to the next. As it was, he woke as he usually did, his mind firing on all cylinders while his eyes came open, blinking impatiently a few times while he got used to the light.

He found himself pressed up against a hard, hot body, muscles not dulled by deskwork but kept strong by too many shifts on the streets. The skin beneath his cheek was tanned, not from the sun but from natural coloring, and Mycroft spared a moment to be envious of that fact. He'd never had a real reason to care how he looked before, outside of appearing professional and sophisticated, but now found himself wishing he possessed the simple masculine beauty of the man who lay half beneath him, if only to be worthy of holding such a magnificent creature.

Slowly Mycroft rose to a sitting position, so he could better study the cop, only to find that those brown eyes were open and looking at him in soft amusement.

"Good morning, beautiful." Greg's comment made Mycroft blush, to both their surprise, and look away a little guiltily. The politician had had no idea that Greg was awake, that much was obvious, but Greg had been lying there for more than an hour awake, just enjoying the way it felt to be tangled up with someone he loved and occasionally absently stroking a hand down Mycroft's back, enjoying the chance to caress that alabaster skin while his lover was unaware.

Mycroft wasn't muscular, but possessed the lithe sort of grace Greg had once admired in a jungle cat at the zoo when he'd been younger. His muscles weren't defined, exactly, but despite his little brother's teasing the man was built for speed, rather than strength. He had shown his flexibility to Greg in the bedroom more than once, and even now, when he self-consciously tugged the blanket up over his arse and looked down at the mattress, his movements were those of a dancer, all cool poise and flawless transition.

Greg was still feeling pretty good about the realization he'd come to the night before, so he relaxed even more and simply waited for Mycroft to lose his shyness. He did so by degrees, slipping cautiously from behind those high walls he'd spent so long building and coming out to play. He let himself cuddle back in, resuming his former position but for the hand that stroked absently up and down the plain of Greg's abdomen, feeling the muscles and enjoying the way they tensed under his fingertips.

It felt like heaven. That was all Mycroft could think as Greg began to pet him back, his hands not half so bashful as they roved over bared flesh, gentle but bold, laying his claim without aggression but in a way that was unmistakable. Mycroft, used as he was to power games, would have called himself a fool if he hadn't recognized that fact. But it didn't bother him, not when he still so badly needed to feel like he was part of something good.

Lost as they were in their lover's paradise, which led them down a gradual slope into a round of lazy, sweet lovemaking, they didn't notice it the first time Greg's phone went off. The second time, however, they had been at peace again long enough that the blood didn't roar quite so strongly in their ears, and the unmistakable tone of a text broke through their solitude. With a groan, Greg got out of bed and answered it, stretching and offering Mycroft a fascinating glimpse of the play of muscles across his back, and then lower as he bent to retrieve his jeans and fish his phone out of the pocket.

When he saw who the message was from he cursed, yanking his jeans on impatiently as he returned to the bed, still mussed from their passion, and took a seat.

"It would seem that your brother does in fact know about us. He just decided to ask if we were using condoms, or if you had deemed it unnecessary after viewing my medical files." Greg sounded somewhere between amused and frustrated, and Mycroft pulled a pillow over his own head, mumbling something into its plush surface. Smiling at the surprisingly childish scene for a moment, Greg reminded himself that in some areas, Mycroft's emotional growth was almost as stunted as Sherlock's. It was surprisingly charming in Mycroft, where in Sherlock it often simply annoyed him, and it offered Greg a glimpse into John's mind. If Sherlock was with him the way his older brother was with Greg, he might actually understand why John put up with him.

"It would seem as if I shall have to deal with my brother on this one, Gregory. He is bound to be… difficult with you, after this."

Greg nodded, checking his other message. This one was from Donovan, asking why she'd somehow managed to earn a weekend off. The cop found himself chuckling at that one, even as he showed it to Mycroft, who shrugged.

"If I was ensuring that you had the weekend off, it only made sense to also give the time to anyone who might tempt you back to the office. For a couple of days, I want you all to myself."

Apparently it was Mycroft's turn to claim Greg, and something in Greg's eyes said that he understood as he smiled and kissed him again, drawing this one out until they were both a little dizzy.

"Would you like me to cook you breakfast? When was the last time you ate before last night?" Mycroft's mind, superior to Sherlock's, actually recorded every detail of his life, not simply the ones he found convenient, and he did remember when he ate last. But he had a feeling that Greg wouldn't appreciate hearing that he'd been functioning on nothing more than tea for the past three days, excepting their meal together the night before, so he simply shrugged and said that he could go for a fry-up.

After breakfast, Mycroft took Greg's hand and tugged him toward the ballroom, where one of the two pianos in the house was kept. It was a relic of the days when their parents would throw balls here and invite all their friends, but Mycroft occasionally tuned it himself, keeping it in perfect working order.

Despite the fact that it was just the two of them in casual clothes, rather than a gathering of some of England's oldest families turned out in finery and gleaming gemstones, Mycroft felt as if he was stepping back in time as he sat at the piano and began to play, and that feeling soon infected Greg, who watched with wide, fascinated eyes as Mycroft's eyes fluttered closed, lips forming silent words of songs he remembered from all those years ago.

He played for a couple of hours, mixing songs from the past with pieces he'd composed himself, deftly weaving in and out of complicated melodies and elegant symphonies as if he were born to do so. Government was a family tradition, a calling Mycroft couldn't have ignored, but if he'd ever felt he had a real choice, he imagined that this was what he would have done with his life. Music was never duplicitous or cowardly, but was bold and unashamed to be exactly what it was. Mycroft had a true gift for it, and used every ounce of that gift now.

When he was finished, silence reigned in the ballroom for a time, until Greg walked over and kissed him full on the mouth, drawing back to applaud slowly.

"What was that for?" Amused, Mycroft raised an eyebrow at his lover, who simply shrugged, grinning a little wickedly.

"Well, at first, I was completely in awe of your performance. Then I entertained the notion of ravishing you on this very piano when you finished, simply because you look too passionate not to do so. But I decided you probably wouldn't appreciate it if we somehow managed to damage it as a result, so I decided to seduce you into coming back to the bedroom with me, so I can take you on a much more comfortable surface."

"And this was your seduction? A kiss and some rather blunt words?"

"Do I need a fancier approach? I could probably manage for you, but I'm pretty sure we passed that point a while ago."

"Fair enough." Grinning back, Mycroft rose and pinned Greg to the wall in a smooth movement, their lips only an inch apart.

"We might wish to go now if you want to make it to the bedroom. I have a feeling that between the two of us, that might turn out to be something of a challenge."

Greg chuckled at this, and the two of them made their way slowly through the mansion, stopping every few moments to reconnect their lips or tempt each other with a caress. They didn't quite reach the bottom of the stairs, but that was fine. By round three, they actually did finally manage to make it to the bedroom, and they both decided that that was good enough. At the end of it all, Mycroft found himself smiling at a sleeping Greg, thinking that that morning, he'd experienced by far the best wake-up call he'd ever known. He couldn't wait to do it again.

Chapter Text

A/N: We all know where Greg is as far as the relationship's concerned, but I really wanted this chapter to come out of Mycroft's point of view. I hope I did a fairly good job conveying his thoughts and feelings. I have about thirty different theories on why the Holmes brothers have such a bizarre relationship, and if you've already seen my work, you'll have seen one of them. This one is another theory, though again, I kind of discount "Mummy Holmes" here and make her colder than is indicated by canon. Perhaps I'll eventually explore one of my more flattering theories of her, but in the meantime, here you are! I hope you enjoy!

Courting a man like Mycroft might have required planning, were it not for the fact that Mycroft would undoubtedly have seen through any ideas Greg had within seconds and spoiled the surprise. But there was one thing he clearly wasn't picking up on, an obvious thing that Greg could only guess was too obvious for him to notice. Mycroft liked a challenge, and rarely wasted time on obvious details, so Greg was apparently being extremely obvious about his feelings… or Mycroft wasn't ready for that.

That was fine, Greg figured as they began their Sunday with a leisurely stroll about the grounds. It was truly beautiful at Mycroft's mansion, and they'd lucked out and earned a bit of sunshine, which was what had prompted their exploration in the first place.

"This is the pond where Sherlock and I would swim when it was summer and we had nothing else to do." Mycroft's gaze was contemplative, so Greg decided to risk a different, no less pressing, question.

"What happened between the two of you, anyway? Why is there so much conflict? You obviously love him, and he seems to feel the same, so why are your interactions always stilted?" Lips drawing into a thin line, Mycroft glanced at Greg and then away again, those eyes almost as remote as they had been on that first day. Except… Mycroft's hand, formerly tucked into his pocket, came up to find Greg's, grasping tightly.

"I suppose it comes down to our father. I was, as you have probably guessed, the dutiful son. I did everything Father requested of me, following willingly in his footsteps, but Sherlock had no interest in politics. When he was a boy, he actually wished to be a pirate, which was obviously not a career that the Holmes name could encourage.

"It came down to one huge, nasty fight. I was unfortunate enough to be home for Christmas that weekend—that was admittedly probably the trigger—and Sherlock was upset that Father had had the maid clean up his latest experiments before he could get his results. Father told him, in the cold, disapproving tone, that marked most of our childhood, that he was to quit fooling around and actually develop a real hobby, and then perhaps he wouldn't feel the need to guide him toward the correct path."

Mycroft's eyes drifted shut, and he could still see it playing out in front of him. While the images played behind his eyelids, he told Greg the details, the memory blocking out almost everything else.

"Well, I'm sorry I'm not perfect like your precious Mycroft, but I never wanted to be a politician!" Sherlock rose to his feet, threw his napkin on the table, and shouted at their father, the outburst quite unexpected. The boy Mycroft remembered had been sweet, shy, and always inquisitive, quick to smile and easy to forgive. The boy who'd formed over the past year, however, wasn't one he recognized. And hearing his own name spat like acid from that tongue that used to poke out at him so adorably when his baby brother teased him… that hurt, rather badly.

"Mycroft, at least, is realistic enough to know his strengths. What do you want to do with your life? Play with your chemistry set and beg people for money for more ingredients? That is not a life for a Holmes. Mycroft will bring honor to our name, and if you continue like this, you'll bring nothing but shame, and I will cut you out of the will."

Silence greeted the pronouncement for a few moments, while Mycroft and Sherlock both stared dumbstruck at their father. Mother did not look surprised, so it was obviously something she'd been expecting for a long time.

A furious Sherlock had tears in his eyes, and his hands were balled into tight fists that, combined with his fragile bone structure, made him look like he was about to break. That inner fire that had always burned so brightly inside him blazed now, and Mycroft wandered if he was about to witness a supernova going off. At sixteen, Sherlock was set to go off to uni shortly, and he'd been arguing with their father for months over his major. That was another reason it had all come to a head—Father had declared his major Political Science without bothering to tell him.

"I hate you." His voice was a tremulous whisper now, whole body vibrating with anger and sorrow that was targetless. It was obvious to both of them that their parents would never care about their thoughts and feelings. Apparently they never had.

Sherlock ran from the room, and when Mycroft quietly excused himself and went up to check on the boy, he discovered that targetless rage, when given a target, could burn.

"What are you doing here, Fatty?" Sherlock was throwing clothes into a bag when Mycroft paused in his doorway, wincing at his brother's words. He'd had a lot of social anxiety in his younger years, which had resulted in his overeating more than he should have. He'd shed the weight after their father had thrown several such comments his way, but he'd never heard Sherlock be so cruel to him. They'd always stuck together before, despite their divergent interests.

"Sherlock, you aren't planning on running away, are you? You don't need to do that. Perhaps you can reason with Father, explain to him…" Mycroft trailed off, making what he knew was an ineffectual hand gesture, and Sherlock laughed scornfully at him, those eyes a more fiery version of their father's usual condescension.

"Perfect Mycroft. You'll never understand what it is to not be their perfect puppet. That's all you'll ever be, but I've always wanted more. And I'll have it. I can carry my own weight, and I don't see a point in sticking around to live in this house with two marionettes and Father always pulling the strings. As far as I'm concerned, I'm done with all of you." Sherlock had finished packing by the end of his soliloquy, and he shoved Mycroft roughly out of his way as he headed for the stairs. After a few moments, the door slammed, the ring of it echoing through the suddenly completely silent house.

Mycroft could only stand there in shock. Sherlock was gone, and somehow, it was his fault for listening to their father. But if he hadn't, he would be all alone in the world. He knew that soon, he would legally have no brother, and that he would be left to himself with no one he trusted in this mansion that felt more like a prison. There was no one who loved him now, not his parents, who he'd always struggled to please, or his brother, whose light had always been an inspiration to him when he felt himself losing hope.

Now what was left? Everything was gone, and he was finally learning the terrible truth that would haunt him for the rest of his life. Caring was not an advantage.

With a heavy heart, Mycroft packed his things that night, explaining quietly to Father the next morning that he'd been called in to work. When five minutes later, that proved true, he took it as a sign. He knew he would never return to the mansion, not while his parents were living, and in the cab, he visualized ripping his still-beating heart from his chest and putting it on ice. He proceeded to live his life that way for the next twenty years, even after his parents died two years later and he located Sherlock a few months after that.

"By the time I found Sherlock again, he was already an addict, and his personality had solidified into that of the angry boy who'd cursed me and left home forever. I still wasn't able to go to the mansion at that point, thanks to the memories, so I already had a flat here in London. I invited Sherlock to live with me, and he did for a few months, until he moved out abruptly and started using again. He lost that flat due to lack of payment, as I had no idea where he was and thus could not help him, and I believe that is where you came in."

Mycroft's chilly summary somehow described the truth but robbed it of all its horror. He seemed detached, almost viciously so, and Greg started to understand why he'd created his Iceman persona, made himself the remote robot the world knew him as. There was a lifetime of hurt buried beneath that ice, decades of tears locked away until even Mycroft wasn't positive he was human anymore. Understanding the truth only gave him more compassion, both for the young boy full of mistrust and unhappiness and for the older one, barely a man, whose heart had been so badly damaged by the few people he'd trusted.

"The two of you have never talked about it? Sherlock has to know that none of it was your fault." Mycroft sighed, then, his façade cracking a little and allowing Greg to see a flicker of regret in his eyes.

"Sherlock refuses to address those years, and I cannot make him. I'm not sure there is a way to repair the damage after all this time. Perhaps I did not create the situation, but I am not entirely blameless, Gregory. I could have tried to address our father myself, but I was afraid. I had always sought his approval in everything, and wasn't sure how to change a lifetime's habit, even at the expense of my little brother. I did fail him."

"It sounds more like the two of you disagreed than one or the other of you failing, Mycroft. And that does happen, even to the best of friends. You aren't in charge of his relationships with other people, you know."

"Perhaps." Mycroft's noncommittal answer didn't exactly sound convincing, but Greg wasn't sure how to get a more solid answer out of him. He decided to simply wait quietly, while Mycroft tugged him down to sit on the bank and leaned his head on his shoulder.

"I just don't know how to get through to him, my darling. He and I have always been so different, fire and ice, and I don't even know how to reconcile the two."

"Well, you make it work with me, and you and I are pretty different." Greg pointed this out with a soft smile, the kind that shrank the world until it was just the two of them, and Mycroft found himself smiling back, not sure what kind of magic the other man had worked to ensnare him so completely.

"That's different." Mycroft said, not able to come up with a better argument. He had a feeling Greg was going to win, a feeling that only intensified when that smile widened. Now Greg was the predator, but Mycroft didn't mind being prey, when he would be devoured so sweetly.

"Are you sure about that?" He'd already known he was sunk for the argument, but when Greg cupped his face and gave him a kiss that was somehow tenderer than any they had ever shared before, Mycroft realized he was sunk for life. He had managed to fall in love with this man, though he knew not how or why, and even as he submitted to the simple kiss that created a million not-so-simple feelings, he realized he was submitting to those feelings, too. They washed away the bittersweet memories that had been suffocating him and left him vulnerable, but more complete than he'd ever been in his life. And it was at that moment that he realized he wasn't afraid of it.

Chapter Text

A/N: I actually wasn't going to write tonight, but then this chapter just kind of struck me and I went with it. Please forgive both its brevity and sappiness, if you're not into that sort of thing, and understand that school leaves me with much less time to write for you, though I'll continue to make the effort regardless. I do not believe that this is quite the end, but it's probably coming soon, and I'll let you know when it does. Until then, my darlings, thank you for your lovely words and reading this story at all. It means so much to me. Enjoy the chapter!

 

Winter hands touched summer skin, and Greg would have sworn he could see steam rising with every casual brush of Mycroft's fingertips. It was late afternoon and Mycroft had had a strange look in those icy eyes—but never cold to Greg, not anymore—ever since they'd fairly shamelessly made out by the pond.

They hadn't spoken much, choosing to communicate with glances and touches, kisses and stray caresses, until they'd somehow wound up right back in bed, where the sun slanted golden through the windows and lit their skin, making Mycroft seem almost translucent and making Greg shine as if he'd spent his entire week on a beach somewhere, instead of a musty, dark office at the Yard.

Mycroft's paleness was a sharp counterpoint to Greg's tan skin, hands seeming somehow fragile as they painstakingly removed article after article of clothing, leaving him bared to the cool caress of those eyes, which stroked every bit as lovingly over his body. It felt like worship, slow and pure, and Greg wasn't quite sure how to handle that.

"You take care of me all the time. It's my turn to take care of you." Greg may have been Mycroft's white knight, but today, he was going to be the one who took charge and offered Greg the same tenderness and thoughtfulness that Greg so often showed him.

He found that it was easy enough to make that silver-topped head fall back, those lips part in a silent O as that strong, sun-kissed body writhed beneath him and finally exploded. It was hot and messy and very, very sexy, and Mycroft wondered why it had never occurred to him to take control before. He pulled out with care, gently wiping his cop's sweaty brow while he found himself chuckling. When he went to move, Greg caught his hand.

"Don't go. Use my pants." Mycroft frowned at this.

"I should clean you up properly, as you always do for me. The idea of trying to cuddle while you're covered in dried semen seems a little disgusting, darling."

"It's still wet at the moment. Don't go." Greg's simple logic, combined with his repetition of the order that sounded far more like a request, had Mycroft chuckling again as he wiped them down, chucked the pants in the direction of his own laundry basket, and then promptly collapsed half over his lover, not quite able to find the will to move away. He didn't particularly see why he should have to, either.

"I'll stay, then." The words were relatively straightforward, and might have seemed like a purely situational statement, were it not for the fact that Mycroft had summoned the energy to prop himself up on an elbow and look at him, really look at him in a way few people ever did. Those eyes missed nothing, Greg knew, but there was nothing he really felt inclined to hide from this man.

"I love you, Gregory." The statement made Greg blink, caught completely off guard. He could practically see his own face, full of astonishment, while Mycroft blushed but refused to drop his gaze. "I have always been the kind of man who keeps his cards close to his chest, but after seeing my brother with his doctor, I understand that sometimes, the time we have with the people we love is all too short, and that we must take advantage of it while we have it and be as honest as possible, so we leave no doubt in our wake.

"I never want you to second-guess my feelings for you, never wish to leave you with cause to mistrust my affection and devotion. I may not have known what it was to love before you, but I understand what it is I'm feeling without a doubt now, and there is nowhere I would rather be that by your side, for as long as I am able."

It sounded like a declaration, almost a proposal, and Greg had a feeling that was exactly what it was. This was confirmed when Mycroft sat completely up, removing the simple gold band from his own ring finger.

"I've used this as a disguise for years, a mask to hide behind to avoid even the threat of companionship. I never believed I could even be close to someone else, never thought I could find the sort of relationship I pretended to have. I know what it is to be completely alone, and you made me realize that not only do I no longer want that life, I don't consider what I had before a life at all. I did not think myself capable of love, but I can see no more fitting recipient of my heart than the man who worked to prove me wrong."

Biting his lip now, Mycroft gently took Greg's left hand, which no longer bore the tan line from his previous marriage.

"Will you marry me, Gregory?" It was strange, that after the words that had preceded it the proposal itself was so straightforward, but it suited the man from whom it came… as well as the man to whom it was delivered.

"I love you. Yes." His answer was no more dressed up than the question had been, but it was certainly repeated when Mycroft grabbed him in gratitude and kissed him fiercely, before launching into another rather enthusiastic exhibition of their shared feelings. They made love, the action full of joy and sheer abandon, with the ring shining on Greg's finger in the bright sunlight and occasionally catching their eyes, making them smile brighter and brighter while they played and laughed and proved to one another that they meant every single one of their words.

Chapter Text

A/N: I was pretty surprised to discover that this was the last chapter- I somehow thought this was going to stretch out a bit more- but the completion of this project simply means that I'm free to work on other things, which probably means more one-shots. And if anyone has a prompt they would like for me to consider doing, of really anything in the Sherlock fandom, feel free to send it along. Otherwise, my darlings, enjoy this last chapter! Au revoir for now!

~Wings

After their weekend together, neither man seemed to have time in their schedules, between a rather vicious series of murders and a civil war in a country Mycroft was not-at-liberty-to-discuss-thank-you-very-much, so it was nearly two weeks later, at Sherlock and John's wedding, that they managed to see one another. Even then, between the rather antiquated practice of preparing the grooms, the ceremony itself, and then the obligatory toasts that began the reception afterward, the most they could do was make faces at one another for the better part of the day.

It was only when the guests had finished their meals and the music started up that the two were able to escape their duties as Best Men temporarily—especially considering the two grooms had mysteriously disappeared about ten minutes prior and had yet to return—and actually talk.

"Enjoying the party?" Greg chuckled as Mycroft expertly spun the two of them past a few of John's older relatives who were making comments about the "scandalous" nature of disappearing from one's own wedding.

"This is certainly a step up from the political parties I occasionally have to attend. You would not believe the 'scandals' at those. Men cheating on their wives, women cheating on their husbands, and instead of having it out, they simply carry on with petty little revenge games behind closed doors and never discuss the problems that are ripping them apart from the inside out."

Mycroft's distaste for that lifestyle was written on his face, and Greg kissed his cheek, drawing him back to the reception. A grateful smile, probably the first genuine smile he'd ever seen Mycroft give anyone in a public setting, had his heart skipping a beat, and he wondered if it would make things worse for the Best Men to disappear as well.

"Well, unless John's Great-Aunt Matilda is planning on converting to lesbianism or something, I'm pretty sure this party isn't going to be like those. Sherlock and John sure picked a beautiful night for this, too. And the venue is pretty amazing."

The politician blushed a little at this, and Greg had to bite back a grin. He knew Mycroft had purchased this piece of property for them as a wedding gift, offering them both the perfect venue and the perfect place to retire to, someday. John was the one who'd told him, not his lover, so Greg assumed he hadn't wanted anyone else to be aware of his generosity. Now, however, he would be able to judge that the game was up by the amusement in Greg's eyes.

"It's not a half bad idea, growing old in the country with someone you love more than anything else in the world." Greg's tone was contemplative, perhaps a little wistful, and Mycroft found himself thinking of their own upcoming wedding. They'd settled on autumn, as neither of them wanted anything elaborate and they wanted the ceremony to happen soon, and Mycroft had been hard at work figuring out what he wanted to give Greg as an engagement present. He knew the idea was old-fashioned, but as the perfect gift came to mind, he found he couldn't resist the idea.

The party lasted long into the night, and when it was over, the guests left, the workers Mycroft had hired quickly took care of clean-up, and then Mycroft and Greg went home while the newlyweds celebrated their first night together in the gorgeous cottage they would someday call home, before getting on a plane for their honeymoon.

Greg spent the night with Mycroft, but the politician was called to the office at four in the morning. He left a note on the pillow and crept out while Greg slept on, subconsciously reaching out for his lover in a way that broke Mycroft's heart a little.

He was gone for three days, and there was no opportunity for him to get in touch with his cop at any time during that period. When he was finally able to come home, he checked CCTV and found out that Greg had been spending quite a lot of time at work, and that he was sleeping at the Yard. Mycroft smiled softly, guessing his reasoning. He didn't like to sleep at his own flat anymore, because his bed was empty, and he probably hadn't fancied returning to Mycroft's flat, no matter that he had a key to it, because that bed would be equally empty, and probably smell like his lover, too.

Greg was the practical sort, not the type to mope about. Instead, he put his energies into his work, which was one of the reasons he made such a good DI. He mightn't have had the intelligence of a Holmes, but he had the heart and spirit of a warrior, and would doggedly pursue any lead until the end. He was proof to Mycroft that a human could be extraordinary without being born to it, no matter what his parents had preached when he was a boy.

Mycroft made one quick stop on his way to pick Greg up, tucked his purchase into his pocket, and was on his way again, quickly making a call to inform Greg's superiors that, since he'd worked nearly three days straight, he was taking some time off. It amused Mycroft, how they had no objections when they saw who was on the Caller ID. Normally he wouldn't interfere with Greg's life, knowing his love's pride was important to him, but in this case he didn't think that he'd mind.

He woke Greg with a kiss, feeling him tense, then relax, and then get swept away on passion temporarily. When he finally stood up because his back was protesting his bent over position, Greg had a small smile on his face, his eyes aware instead of hazy as he'd half-expected.

"Good morning, love. I don't know if you're aware, but the couch in your office is not the best place to sleep. Care to come home with me?"

Greg didn't grumble about it, but slept peacefully on Mycroft's shoulder the whole ride back to his flat. There were no questions about where he'd been or when he'd gotten back, as the cop was too exhausted for that, and settled in again as soon as they were in the bedroom. He even snored a little, which Mycroft told himself not to find cute but found cute anyway.

He let him sleep until it was truly morning, with soft dawn light streaming in through the partially closed blinds, and then those brown eyes drifted open of their own accord, reflecting the sunny smile on his lips.

"Good morning, Mycroft."

"Good morning again, Gregory. Are you certain you shouldn't sleep a bit more? Something tells me you haven't rested much these past few days."

Greg shrugged, looking a little bashful.

"I feel okay. I don't usually get all that much sleep anyway, between work and spending nights with you, so a couple of hours is usually all the more I need. Don't worry."

"Well, if you're certain… I made you breakfast. I figured you would wake up soon, so I took the liberty of preparing some food. I'm guessing you haven't eaten much, either." That was probably an understatement; he didn't appear to have shaved either, but that didn't bother him. It was interesting, seeing Greg with a few days' worth of stubble, not seeming to care how he looked. He looked completely casual, and that was beautiful to Mycroft.

Greg smiled and tucked in, occasionally tempting Mycroft into sharing a bite in a carelessly intimate way. It was only when he lifted his cup to take a drink, and saw the box that had been resting beneath it the entire time, that his expression turned into a frown of confusion.

"Open it up." Mycroft said, smiling, his face giving nothing away. Greg slowly picked up the small black box, opened it… and stared.

"My? What is this?" He held it up, a strange expression on his face, while Mycroft simply shrugged, placed it in Greg's palm, and curled his fingers around it.

"This, Gregory, is a key to our house in the country. I picked it up when I signed the papers that mean that the property now belongs to both of us. I can't imagine getting old and retiring with anyone else but you, and it seems only practical to have everything in both our names. While what we do isn't as dangerous as the things my dear brother and his doctor get up to, I wanted everything to be settled now, just in case. I don't see why I should have to wait until we're married."

Greg smiled then, face lit with pure radiance, got up and removed a box from his jacket pocket.

"I guess now would probably be a good time to tell you that I decided you needed a proper engagement ring, too." Mycroft smiled back as Greg opened the ring box with his free hand, still holding the key that symbolized so much, and revealed a platinum band with a small engraving on the inside of the band. It was a simple infinity symbol, with their first initials on either side in painstakingly tiny detail.

"It's lovely, Gregory." And it fit perfectly, too. Sherlock must have helped him, and that was a small miracle in and of itself.

"I love you, Mycroft. I can't picture ever wanting to live my life without you. We only have so much time in this fragile eternity of ours, and I want you to know that you mean the world to me. Hell, you are my world. Everything, love. You are everything."

The two men proceeded to prove their feelings to each other, matching caress for caress, stroke for stroke, kiss for kiss until they were coming, together, always together, and falling into that bright white glow with fireworks exploding behind their eyes. And as they fell, they fell together, falling up, up into the dancing sparks and further, joined so tightly they would never be apart again, always in each other's hearts, minds, and souls.