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“Please,” Mycroft heard himself say before he had fully processed the question. “Please do.”

Almost instantly he felt he ought to take it back. Greg couldn’t have meant that sincerely. He couldn’t have. Besides, Mycroft hadn’t even answered the question. He couldn’t possibly, as he truly had no idea what he would do if Greg kissed him now. Implode, perhaps? 

But Greg had already placed his empty glass on the coffee table, and now he was gently taking Mycroft’s and setting that aside, as well. He shifted across the sofa cushions slowly, cautiously. 

“Alright,” Greg said, nearly whispering, as if approaching a spooked horse, once he was close enough to take hold of Mycroft’s nervous, hovering hands. “You’re sure it’s okay?”

“I…” Mycroft glanced down at his lap, where their hands were clasped, his own pale, bony fingers woven between Greg’s shorter, stronger-looking ones. Of course he was sure, what a question. “Yes, I’m sure.”

“Good,” Greg said, and then he leaned forward. 

He didn’t kiss Mycroft. He simply moved toward him, an invitation, and then seemed to wait, patient and careful, for Mycroft to move, too. 

“Little closer,” he said, teasing, with an encouraging tug of their hands. “Don’t make me do all the work.”

Mycroft found himself smiling and swaying forward, angling his own face so that their noses would not collide. 

“There you go,” Greg murmured, then brought his mouth close enough for Mycroft to feel the warm gust of his breath. Greg’s eyes drifted closed. His fingers twitched around Mycroft’s, and then he pressed gently forward. 

Mycroft drew in a sharp breath, his mouth opening just slightly under Greg’s first, tentative touch, as his eyes fell shut.

It was… warm. Soft. So incredibly soft. Mycroft couldn’t resist the urge to press back, eager to feel more. 

Greg made a small, pleased sound, then moved away and quickly back in again, adjusting and refitting them together so that his mouth closed ever so gently over Mycroft’s lower lip in a soft, fleeting clasp before pulling away to repeat the action with painstaking gentleness on his upper lip. 

Mycroft’s breath shuddered in his lungs. They only touched in two places - at the hands, at the mouth - but his entire body seemed to be waking up from a long hibernation. Greg pulled back again, just far enough to breathe, quickened and humid, against Mycroft’s lips. He seemed to wait again for Mycroft to make up his mind. 

Under Mycroft’s hands, which had somehow wandered without his notice to Greg’s chest, he could feel the change in Greg’s breathing patterns; could feel the effect of the kisses, small as they were, on Greg’s body. 

He felt suddenly bold, even as he felt himself tremble. 

Experimentally, as he tried in vain to still the tremble beginning to shake his body ever so gently, Mycroft allowed his mouth to fall open before leaning back in. When their lips met again, his tongue brushed across Greg’s soft lower lip, just briefly, and Greg sighed, slipping one hand away from Mycroft’s hip (when had it settled there?) to wrap, broad and warm around the back of Mycroft’s neck. Greg pulled him gently closer, this time tasting Mycroft’s tongue with his own. 

Mycroft groaned, and it was muffled as he opened his mouth a little further, letting Greg in. 

The kiss deepened, tipping over the edge into something hotter and wetter than before; something that was still sweet but no longer tentative, something that was now undeniably, electrifyingly, sexual in nature. 

Greg’s tongue stroked against Mycroft’s. His hand wandered up into the hair at the back of Mycroft’s head, and his short fingernails felt delicious there against his scalp. His other hand found its way to and gripped Mycroft’s thigh, kneading at it, then slid down to his knee and back up in a long, soothing sweep. 

Mycroft realized he had taken fistfuls of Greg’s shirt in hand, gripping him tightly below the shoulders as if poised to haul him right into Mycroft’s lap. 

Mycroft did groan then, at the thought of it, and Greg answered with a soft moan of his own. Mycroft could feel the shudder of Greg’s body as he made the sound. Greg kissed him harder, sucked Mycroft’s tongue and nipped at his lips. 

Mycroft sighed through his nose, surprised at the sound that accompanied it - almost a whimper - as Greg’s arms wrapped tightly around him and trapped his clenched fists between their heavin chests.  

Greg mirrored that small sound. Of course coming from his chest it sounded delicious; gravelly and deep. His arms squeezed Mycroft tightly, once, before he softened his hold, gentling the kiss and pulling away. 

“Wow,” Greg said, his forehead pressed to Mycroft’s. “Just. Yeah, no, wow’s all I’ve got.”

“Oh,” Mycroft said shakily, his fingers flexing in the fabric of Greg’s shirt. 

“I’ve wanted to kiss you goodnight just like that so many times,” Greg confessed in the scant air between them. “I can’t believe you didn’t know.”

“No,” Mycroft replied, grateful for the way the closeness of their bodies showed him that they both shook in the aftermath. It wasn’t just Mycroft’s world spinning the wrong way on its axis.. “I’m sorry that I didn’t. I would have liked you to kiss me goodnight.”

“Good.”

Mycroft didn’t want to speak anymore. Didn’t wish to break the spell that had fallen over them; not just yet. Greg’s hands were still on him, and Mycroft experienced a flash of sense memory from many, many months ago, before he had made himself set the books aside: 

Sitting up late at night, a drink at his elbow and his tablet in one hand. Halfway through a lovingly written passage describing a passionate embrace, Mycroft realized that he had reached up and clasped his hand around the side of his own neck. He had, without thinking, mimicked a touch from the scene he had just read. He realized then that he ached with the need for it contact such as that. He told himself not to be ridiculous.

He had touched the very place on his neck where Greg’s hand now rested; had stroked his own fingers in much the same way Greg’s did now - gently, absently, unhurried. 

Mycroft’s entire body shuddered. He didn’t know he could possibly press himself further into Greg’s hands but he suddenly needed to, very badly. 

“Hey,” Greg soothed. “Hey now, it’s alright.” His hands tightened around the bits of Mycroft they touched. “Isn’t it? Are you okay? You’re shaking.”

“Yes,” Mycroft managed to say over the sound of his own hammering pulse. “It’s only that it’s been… a very long time.”

“I know.” Greg leaned back and quirked a self-deprecating little grin. “For me, too.” 

Mycroft didn’t say out loud that Greg had at least been married in the last decade. He must have been touched at some point even towards the end. Mycroft didn’t say that for him, ‘a very long time’ meant decades. Multiple. He couldn’t bear to see the pity a confession like that would inspire. 

“Should I back off?” Greg asked, and though Mycroft knew he was only offering to be polite, and though Mycroft did appreciate that on some level, he nearly failed to tamp down the sudden panic, the wild certainty that if Greg stopped touching him now he never would do so again. 

Mycroft’s hands spasmed against Greg’s body and he shook his head. “Please don’t,” he said. “I… would very much like to kiss you again, if that would be—”

Greg leaned in, cutting him off with his mouth, gentle and slow. Mycroft, thrilled and desperately relieved, gave in to temptation and pulled, tugging at Greg’s shirt until he understood his meaning and hummed into the kiss, tipping Mycroft back against the sofa cushions and covering him with his own body. 

That was nearly Mycroft’s undoing then and there. Greg didn’t break the kiss; he simply broke it down, for a brief time, into smaller kisses while he arranged their limbs and adjusted his weight so that he pressed Mycroft down into the sofa but did not crush him, and so that Mycroft’s thighs cradled his hips. 

Mycroft shuddered again, realizing that the hard line of pressure snugged up against his own rapidly hardening cock was Greg’s erection. He whimpered into the next kiss and pressed past the seam of Greg’s lips with his tongue, desperate to taste his mouth again. 

Kisses melted, one into the next, like warm chocolate. The two of them moved together, lazy with the lingering effects of wine, and, at least in Mycroft’s case, kiss-drunk and skin-high. He found himself taking in the tiny details of Greg when they briefly broke apart for air, holding Greg’s head in his hands and keeping him still so he could breathe deeply to catch the scent of his hair product, rubbing the tip of his nose down the bridge of Greg’s and noting the texture of his skin before their mouths sealed together again. 

Once upon a time, Mycroft would never have done that. He wouldn’t have let himself… feel, without thinking. Even in his younger days, he wouldn’t have tipped so easily onto his back; wouldn’t have allowed things to devolve so quickly into something so raw. But those days were long behind him, and in between there yawned a chasm of nothing. No other’s hands on him. No mouth pressed to his. No weight to hold him down, safely covered. Not ever. Not once in so long. He couldn’t bring himself to stop for thought; to temper his actions; to wonder if he seemed too desperate. All of that simply… dissolved away. 

Mycroft was distantly aware that their hips were hitching together in a disjointed rhythm; that if one of them would focus and put in just a little more effort, this would lead very quickly to at least one fully clothed orgasm. But Mycroft didn’t feel the need to do anything about it. That was even less important than theoretical embarrassment over appearing too eager. 

The kisses, the touches, were overwhelming enough; were more than good enough. 

“Mycroft,” Greg murmured, and pressed his mouth to Mycroft’s left cheekbone. “Mycroft, Mycroft.” Now his right. “I could do this all night.”

“I—” Mycroft swallowed hard, surprised at the tightness of his own voice. “I want you to.”

“Oh, god,” Greg said. “Good. I’m glad.”

They kissed until it was painful. Until it naturally bled into long, sensuous breaks to simply touch and breathe together. Mycroft gathered data greedily, testing theories and delighting in the results. His mouth at the hinge of Greg’s jaw: would that elicit a response? Yes. And if he allowed his fingers to tease at the inch of skin exposed along Greg’s lower back where his shirt had ridden up? Yes. 

Eventually, Greg shifted his weight to the side, wedging Mycroft up against the back of the loveseat so he could settle half beside him and half tangled with him from the hip down. Mycroft felt incredibly warm, and nearly overwhelmingly surrounded. It was good.

“You are really good at that,” Greg informed him once they had rearranged themselves and exchanged an indeterminate number of additional kisses. 

“At… what?”

“Kissing,” Greg sighed. “God, I had wondered. Well, I knew it would be good, I just—  wondered about all the ways it would be good.” 

Mycroft knew he shouldn’t admit it, but he felt dizzy and utterly flayed open by the flood of sensory input he had just experienced - was still experiencing - and more truth just seemed simpler in the moment than saying nothing at all. 

“The way you write kisses, especially first ones, caused me to… want such things. For the first time in a very long time.”

Greg  made a soft, concerned sound and curled, somehow, even closer, his face tucked against Mycroft’s shoulder. The position hid his face, which Mycroft realized was by design. “Well I don’t know if I can live up to the prowess of fictional men,” Greg said. “but I hope I came somewhat close in my efforts here tonight.”

Mycroft heard the truth behind the stilted joke. He pushed at Greg gently, until he leaned up on his elbows so that his face was no longer hidden. 

“I never wanted a fictional man,” Mycroft said. “Before you—  by which I mean you, the author, as well as you, the man I have known and respected for many years—  I didn’t even want, or allow myself to want, a real one.”

Greg’s breath caught audibly. He sat up and pulled Mycroft with him, holding Mycroft gently by the shoulders. “And now?”

Mycroft closed his eyes. Of all the honest things he had said so far, this was the ultimate. This truth had been there in his chest, like a living thing he fed and carried but otherwise ignored, for months. It had clawed at him all evening, itching to spill out of him. Their conversation over dinner, over wine, seemed a lifetime away, not minutes. Every word Mycroft had said about his work, his age, his lifestyle… they were now null and void. They had been for a long time, but everything had changed in the moment Greg touched him. Mycroft didn’t fight it. Couldn’t. Speaking the truth had gotten him here. He understood now that more of it could get him the unimaginable. 

“There is no question,” he said at last. “I want you, have wanted you. I only need to know whether you’ll have me. And if you will, I… I will give you everything.” He shuddered again, clenched his fists in Greg’s clothing again. “Everything.”

“Holy shit,” Greg breathed.  

Mycroft opened his eyes as Greg kissed him, smiling against his mouth, and Mycroft felt his own lips curve in answer before Greg had even pulled away.

“First of all,” Greg said, “I’d use that line in a book, and you’d not be allowed to tell me I couldn’t because that is the single most romantic thing anyone has ever—  but I won’t ever use it because that was mine, and I’m keeping it all to myself, oh Christ, you dark horse. You’re a romantic, Mycroft, did you know that? Have you? Yes, please. You can have me too, and I don’t require everything in exchange. Just you, Mycroft. Do you understand?”

In truth, Mycroft didn’t understand; this was so far outside his purview that he couldn’t even begin to understand what would be required of him in exchange for even just one night of Greg Lestrade’s affection and attention. He shook his head, helpless. 

“I’ve been trying to figure out whether I should tell you I’d like to date you for months,” Greg said gently, and as he spoke he kept his hold on Mycroft, steady and firm and encompassing. “It felt like we already were dating, some nights. I know who you are, you know?” He reached up and stroked a hand up and over Mycroft’s forehead, then smoothed it gently over his hair. Soothing, caressing. Mycroft arched into it on instinct, without a thought. “I know what your schedule is like and what your family is like.” Greg kissed his chin. “I know you have a scary assistant and intimidatingly fancy cars. I know your job is...way above my clearance level and my competency.” He pressed their foreheads together. “And I don’t really care about any of it. I don’t expect you to be any other way. I just want to be with you a little more often than most Sundays. And I want to touch you. Kiss you. Say stupid, sweet things to you. Hope that’s okay?”

Mycroft nodded, struck mute. Greg grinned and tightened Mycroft in his embrace, pressing a kiss to his cheek. 

“Good,” he said, and sighed. 

Mycroft marveled at the concept of being the person to cause that soft, contented little sound.

 “This is going to sound like a line,” Greg said after a moment, “but this sofa is really tiny. If you don’t have to leave any time soon, we could maybe move this to my bed? Not—  Not for anything we haven’t already done, I don’t want to sound presumptuous—” 

“It’s quite alright,” Mycroft managed to say, dizzy again at the prospect of lying down in an actual bed with this man. “Yes, we can move, I would like that.”

“I don’t think we should have sex,” Greg blurted, his fingers scrabbling nervously at the back of Mycroft’s jumper. “Not—  not tonight.”

“I…” Mycroft paused, realizing that what he felt at those words was relief. “I agree.”

“But I really would kiss you all night if you’d let me.”

Mycroft couldn’t think how to respond to that. At some point this evening, he would need to reintroduce himself to reality. He’d been given the gift of a clear schedule tonight thanks to the changes in his travel plans over the weekend, but tomorrow would start early and run late to make up for it. He would need to leave this flat sooner than he’d like. 

Mycroft resolved not to think about it just yet. He allowed himself to be helped up off the sofa, and then led down the small hallway to Greg’s bedroom. 

It was dim, lit only by the yellow glow of the streetlight positioned just below the window. Greg didn’t bother with the bedside lamp or overhead light. Mycroft could see that the bed large and neatly made, but the bedskirt was askew in a way that indicated something had been shoved hurriedly underneath. Dirty clothing. Mycroft bit back a smile and turned, a teasing comment at the ready, but he was cut short by a sweet kiss, delivered as Greg’s tentative fingers brushed against the hem of Mycroft’s jumper. 

“Can I take this off you?” He asked, his fingertips pinching and rubbing the soft cashmere between them. “I meant what I said. Just want to get a little more comfortable, if that’s alright.”

Mycroft nodded and lifted his arms to allow Greg to slip the sweater up and off. Greg unclasped Mycroft’s cufflinks next, depositing them atop the tall dresser by the door. He circled one of Myroft’s bare wrists with his fingers and brought it up to his mouth, pressing his lips to Mycroft’s pulse point gently. Mycroft’s breath stuttered. 

“Oh,” he murmured, as Greg pushed the sleeve up as far as it would go, placing more kisses in a line up toward Mycroft’s elbow. 

“Your skin,” Greg said, nearly groaned, then stepped forward. He guided Mycroft’s arms around his own waist and leaned up for a closed-mouth kiss while he tugged the tails of Mycroft’s shirt out of his trousers and slipped his hands underneath. As Greg’s mouth opened, his fingers made contact with the bare skin at Mycroft’s sides, and they moaned together as their tongues met. 

Yes, Mycroft thought. Yes, yes, yes…

Higher thought processes seemed to have abandoned him, and he was left quivering in Greg’s arms, unable to speak and unsure of what he could possibly ask for should he remember how to find the words. Then, Greg walked them toward the bed and guided Mycroft to sit at the edge, where again there was a pause while Greg took Mycroft’s face in his hands, bending down to kiss him again, again, and again. 

“Shoes,” Greg muttered when he pulled away, and then he dropped to his knees at Mycroft’s feet. 

“My god,” Mycroft gasped, his hands tightening into fists at his sides. “You’re going to send me into a cardiac event at this rate.”

Greg chuckled, already finished unlacing one shoe and moving on to the other. “Hope not,” he said, slipping one and then the other shoe off and placing them to the side. He stood and made quick work of untucking his own shirt, flicking open the top buttons. 

Mycroft sighed and slipped his palms over Greg’s hips and up to his waist under the shirt, stroking his thumbs over the ribs of the vest. Greg kept himself fit, and the abdominal muscle beneath the fabric was lightly padded and firm; to the sides, a bit of softness. Love handles. Mycroft squeezed those and Greg laughed, covering Mycroft’s hands with his own. 

“Middle age,” Greg said wryly.

“Mm,” Mycroft hummed, thinking that he’d have to investigate these places later. With his mouth. 

“Covers?” Greg checked, and Mycroft shook his head. Soon, they were lying atop the duvet. Greg had Mycroft in his arms, and they were kissing again. 

Kissing. Mycroft didn’t remember it ever being quite this thrilling, even when the concept had been a novel one. 

Greg moved to roll Mycroft onto his back, but Mycroft surprised himself by resisting and turning the tables, nudging at Greg’s shoulder until he reversed their earlier position and allowed Mycroft to hover over him on his elbows, dropping heated kisses to his face and neck. Every so often he made his way back along Greg’s jaw to his mouth, and their tongues met and slipped together while hands wandered over small patches of exposed skin. 

Greg seemed fascinated by Mycroft’s forearms; by his hair, which was probably by now a complete mess. Mycroft shivered with every scratch of Gregs nails over his scalp, every sweep of Greg’s palms over the soft, sensitive undersides of his wrists. 

“I feel like a teenager,” Greg murmured at one point, one of his legs pulling Mycroft closer into the cradle of his thighs. 

“I never felt like this as a teenager.”

Greg’s fingers soothed over Mycroft’s back, up to his shoulders, where they kneaded gently. Mycroft groaned and let his head hang down, pressing his cheek up against’ Greg’s.

“That’s a shame,” Greg said into Myroft’s ear before he kissed there, too. “Never just sort of… fooled around like this?”

Never. 

“No… not quite like this.”

“In that case,” Greg said, teasing, “allow me to tutor you in the subject.”

“Please do,” Mycroft replied, amused and grinning with it, as Greg tipped them sideways and arranged Mycroft on his back once more. 

“First,” Greg said, straddling him, “hands should wander.” He picked up Mycroft’s hands and placed them on his own hips. “But one must never wander too far.” He stroked his own hand down Mycroft’s chest, partially exposed now that several buttons had, without his notice, been undone. Greg paused with his hand just over the waistband of Mycroft’s trousers, where he fiddled with the button. “One might imply an interest,” he continued, and hooked two fingers just under the wool, against Mycroft’s skin.

Mycroft’s hips jerked and he attempted to swallow the desperate whimper spilling out of him. If Greg would just slip his fingers a little further down— 

“But fooling around isn’t sex,” Greg said. “More a… practice run. So once one has demonstrated appreciation,” He slipped his fingers out of the scant space between trousers and skin and traced them, feather light, down the hard line of Mycroft’s clothed erection. “One must then move on.” He leaned forward, weight on his palms, and brushed his mouth against Mycroft’s. His next words puffed hot air across Mycroft’s parted lips. “Kissing is obviously mandatory,” he said, and demonstrated. By the time he pulled back, Mycroft’s breath had quickened to the point of near-hyperventilation. Greg’s hips ground gently down, and his body shuddered over Mycroft’s.

“This is torture,” Mycroft gasped, his hands tightening around Greg’s hips. “You realize that?”

“Torture isn’t fun,” Greg corrected with a smile. “Isn’t this fun?”

“God, yes.”

Greg chuckled and leaned down again, kissing Mycroft even while he kept laughing. His hands were warm against Mycroft’s skin, slipping up under Mycroft’s shirt to lightly tickle at his ribs and elicit an answering laugh. “Knew you’d be ticklish,” he murmured. “Sensitive.”

His fingers quested further up Mycroft’s torso and brushed, at the same time, both of Mycroft’s tightened nipples. Mycroft’s entire body responded to the unexpected stimulus, tightening and jerking under Greg so hard that the man was nearly bucked off of Mycroft’s lap. 

“Very sensitive,” Greg amended, sounding pleased. 

“I—” Mycroft swallowed hard. “Please don’t make me come in my trousers.”

Greg raised an eyebrow. “Do you think you might?”

“If you keep doing, ah, doing that,” Mycroft said, indicating the slow circling motion of Greg’s fingers under his shirt with a jerk of his chin. “Yes. Please, it’s just that I—”

But Greg had already retreated, and his face showed no disappointment as his hands slid back down and away before smoothing Mycroft’s shirt over his belly. “Shh,” Greg soothed. “You don’t have to say please, sweetheart, I won’t do anything you don’t like.”

“I like it,” Mycroft hurried to say. 

“Good.” Greg smiled. “Then I’ll do it again, when you ask me to.”

Mycroft felt the need to clarify. “I’m not a blushing virgin.”

“I didn’t think that.” 

“I’m…”

“Nervous?”

Mycroft averted his eyes, unwilling to admit it. 

Greg nudged him and held up one hand for Mycroft to see. It was shaking. “Me, too.” 

Mycroft caught the trembling hand in his and brought it to his mouth. He brushed his lips over Greg’s knuckles and took a moment to breathe slowly in and then out.

On the next inhale, Greg began to match him, breath for breath. 

Mycroft tasted the skin of Greg’s fingers with the tip of his tongue, unaware he was doing it and only realizing when Greg’s lashes fluttered. Mycroft watched his face as he traced his tongue along the web of skin between thumb and forefinger. The image of Greg’s mouth falling open in pleasure burned itself into Mycroft’s memory, and he knew he would replay this moment many, many times in the coming days and weeks. Possibly for years.

He kissed Greg’s palm and went back to counting breaths with his lips pressed there.

“There’s another aspect to fooling around you’ll need to familiarize yourself with,” Greg said after a half dozen breaths or so. 

“Oh?”

“Mmhm.” He swung his leg back over and settled beside Mycroft on the bed. “It’s the cuddling bit.”

Mycroft laughed, keeping it quiet, just between the two of them in the close space beneath the sheets. “Oh?”

“Yeah,” Greg replied, serious and comically grave. “There’s just one preliminary question.”

“By all means, let’s have it.”

Greg’s hands stroked sweetly over the small places where Myroft’s skin was exposed. “D’you want to be held? Or do the holding?”