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Greg woke from a doze in the small hours when Mycroft shifted away from him, having apparently already disentangled himself from the circle of Greg’s arms. 

“What?” Greg grunted, not quite awake. “Alright?”

“I need to go soon,” Mycroft said with regret, shifting back across the bed to press a chaste kiss to Greg’s cheek. “I had hoped not to wake you.”

Greg caught his wrist to keep him from moving away again just yet. “You were going to sneak out?”

“I was going to be polite,” Mycroft replied, a touch of reproach in his voice. “I wouldn’t sneak.”

Greg tugged at him, pulling him down and back into the snuggle they’d been in before Greg fell asleep. “It would have broken my heart to wake up and find you’d gone.” 

“I was going to leave you a note.”

Greg scoffed. “Ridiculous. I’m glad I woke up. You’re sure you have to go?”

Mycroft sighed. “I have a conference call with China in two hours.”

“Someone in China or China as a whole?”

Mycroft made that noncommittal humming sound Greg was beginning to realize was just another way of saying ‘I can’t or won’t speak further but I don’t want to be weird about it.’ It made Greg smile against Mycroft’s sleep-warm cheek. 

“Alright,” Greg said after a moment. “I understand, of course. Let me help you gather your things.”

“I can—”

Greg quieted him with a kiss, and his heart skipped at the way Mycroft let him. He’d imagined this for months now, but he had never thought Mycroft would just...soften, like this, for him. “I’m helping.”

It seemed to amuse and arouse Mycroft all at once when Greg slithered out of the bed and onto the floor, finding Mycroft’s shoes where he had left them hours before and then knelt there expectantly, holding one leather brogue at the ready. 

“I am capable of dressing myself,” Mycroft murmured, even as he allowed Greg to slip on one and then the other shoe before carefully tying each. 

“I want to do it,” Greg said. It wasn’t the time to get specifically dirty about it and explain that he would love to simply kneel there at Mycroft’s feet; that some time soon he’d do it in a more interesting context if Mycroft let him. He didn’t say it, but he thought it with a smile as he tied the laces neatly, then stood with a popping of his knees. 

Mycroft surprised him again by circling his arms around his waist and tugging him in, encouraging him to sway closer. Greg embraced him back, arms round his shoulders, and kissed the top of his head before breathing in the scent of his hair: posh product, sleep-warm skin, Greg’s laundry soap, and a hint of Greg’s cologne. Delicious. 

“I’m so glad you stayed as long as you did,” Greg said softly. “Did you sleep at all?”

“I did, and very restfully,” Myroft replied with a tightening of his arms. “I’m fairly certain that I’ve never napped so enjoyably in my adult life.”

“Come over any time, then,” Greg told him, petting one hand over Mycroft’s head in an attempt to smooth down his ruffled hair. “I’ll cuddle you into submission and kiss you to sleep anytime.”

“Careful,” Mycroft warned, speaking into Greg’s torso, eyes hidden. “I may take you up on that.”

Greg leaned back and tilted Mycroft’s face up, gently. “I wish you would,” he said. 

Mycroft’s sleepy eyes were terribly endearing, as were the cowlicks in his hair. He looked up at Greg, his face a picture of sweet surprise. 

“When can I see you again?”

“Like I said.” Greg grinned. “Come over any time. Or call me. Text me. Send a smoke signal or a posh car. I’ll come to you, if you like. Today would be great. Any time.”

“We both need to work today,” Mycroft said, voice full of regret, “and I will likely be chained to my desk well into the evening. But… tomorrow, if schedules allow, could I… Would you allow me to take you to dinner?”

Greg’s smile grew somehow wider. “So formal,” he teased. “But yeah, of course. Text me tomorrow, and we’ll figure out a time?”

Mycroft paused as if surprised it was that easy. As if surprised that Greg had said yes. “Excellent,” he said after a moment, a touch awkward.

Greg helped him with his cufflinks. It felt wildly intimate to gently and carefully refasten them at Mycroft’s wrists. Greg stroked his fingers under the edge of the fine fabric of Mycroft’s sleeve and then down his palm. Greg couldn’t remember the last time he’d touched someone this way. He was glad he hadn’t gone and tried it with some random dating app prospect. Having Mycroft be the first in so long felt right. Felt like the way things were meant to be.

Still, it wasn’t all easy. They didn’t actually live in a romance novel, so when they said goodbye at the door it was, for a moment, very awkward. Greg stopped himself from chewing on his lip, forced himself not to fidget. He wanted badly to kiss Mycroft again, just one, maybe two more times before he let him walk out the door. But Mycroft looked stiff and uncertain now that he had his coat on. Greg, more out of practice even than he’d realized when it came to interpreting that sort of thing in another person, hesitated. 

“I—” he tried, but cut himself off before his mouth could move too far ahead of his brain. He didn’t have a clue what to say. 

Mycroft stared back at him, and he seemed just as frozen as Greg. Greg swallowed hard and tried to come up with something to say. Mycroft cleared his throat. 

“Kiss me goodbye,” Greg blurted at last, horrified that his social skills were so rusty. “Uh, if you want t-”

Mycroft leaned in and stopped him from embarrassing himself too much, stilling Greg’s mouth with his own. 

Greg’s breath stuttered, and Mycroft moved to back off after just the one chaste brush of lips. 

No, Greg thought, and caught Mycroft round the back of the head to pull him back in for something a little hotter; a lingering lock of lips, plus the tiniest brush of tongue. 

“I’ll see you soon,” Greg said, low, when he found it in him to release Mycroft again. 

“Yes,” Mycroft breathed, then cleared his throat again. “Yes.” 

“Okay.” Greg tried to bite down on his grin. “Good.”

“Good,” Mycroft echoed, and opened the door. 

“Great,” Greg said, chuckling. 

Mycroft nodded and stepped backwards out of the flat. 

He did turn and go, but it took him half a second to unstick himself. 

Greg tried not to feel too smug about it. 

 

***

 

Of course - things being the way they were in Greg’s life, and from what he knew, in Mycroft’s too - things got delayed. Significantly. 

“Thanks for calling. I know it’s early,” Greg said into his office phone just shy of a full twenty-four hours since he’d said goodbye to Mycroft at the door to his flat. “My mobile’s almost dead, and I need to go out and buy a charger, I guess, at some point. Can’t find mine.”

He hadn’t been back to his flat since just a few hours after he’d kissed Mycroft goodbye, and he was dead tired. The sound of Mycroft’s voice, after the time Greg had been having, was intensely comforting. 

“I saw you on television last night,” Myroft said, sounding wide awake, though the sun was barely up. 

“Yeah,” Greg sighed, rubbing a hand over tired eyes. “Hope they got my good side,” he joked weakly. “I’m—  I need to…Uh-” He just couldn’t get a handle on his words, could he? “Sorry.”

“Greg.” Mycroft’s voice was gentle. “Have you slept?”

“No,” Greg admitted. “Of course not. Of course I haven’t.”

“And will you be going home to get some sleep any time soon?”

“...no.” 

“Then I understand, and we shall reschedule our dinner,” Myroft said, saving Greg the discomfort of spelling it out. “I also understand that it may not be possible to do so anytime soon. We can worry about that after the children are located.” 

“I just… hope they are ,” Greg managed, feeling despair edge back in. 

The call had come in a couple of hours into his workday, the day before. A kidnapping, the two daughters of a wealthy arsehole with no discernible job description. As much as Greg couldn’t stand the father - he really was an arsehole - the man was distraught, and publicly so. The press were already having a field day. It was a mess. There had been no ransom note. The little girls’ shared bedroom an absolute wreck, and a nanny badly injured on her way to hospital by ambulance. 

Greg had woken from a few extra hours’ sleep, still high on touch and kisses from the night before, and gone into work feeling on top of the world. The call had effectively doused all that in gasoline. The hours following had lit it all on fire. 

It would soon be twenty-four hours since the girls went missing - halfway through the critical window of the first two days of investigation for any disappearance. 

“You will find them,” Mycrot murmured reassuringly down the line. “Keep the faith, Inspector.”

Greg sighed. “Distract me for a minute. Reset my brain. Please tell me your day was better than mine.”

“Yesterday was…” Mycroft paused. “Fine. I wasn’t entirely present, to be quite honest. I was… mildly distracted.”

Greg found himself smiling through his worry and exhaustion, mustering up a bit of tease in his voice. “Only mildly?

“Don’t fish,” Mycroft admonished him with a tsk. “Today will prove more tedious, I’m afraid. I’m sorry we won’t be meeting later, to say nothing of the case you’re facing, but at least this way I shall have some chance of focusing.”

Despite the lightness in Mycroft’s tone, the clear intent to make him feel better, Greg winced. “I’m really sorry to cancel.”

“Nonsense. I understand. Work is…”

“Work.”

“As you say,” Mycroft murmured. “And of course this case is incredibly urgent. I understand, Greg. Completely.”

Greg didn’t know what else to say. He was pretty sure Mycroft did get it, and he really didn’t sound bothered. But the instinct to apologize again was strong; the vague, familiar feeling of dread that Greg always used to get when he would have to call home and regretfully cancel plans, knowing it would mean a fight sooner or later, settled in the pit of his gut like concrete. 

It didn’t help that he was experiencing a weird cognitive disconnect; he was so tired even as he burned with a drive to push through and steamroll his way through this case. Find them, keep them safe, unravel the threads. 

At the same time, it was just strange to talk to Mycroft like this. They’d been in bed together a day ago. Mycroft had shaken in his arms just from kissing. And now here they were, Greg stretched too thin while they talked like it was just another Sunday evening they’d have to skip, and Mycroft sounded sort of like the British Government again. It made Greg itch with discomfort. It encouraged an insidious voice in the back of his mind to tell him he’d imagined it all. He’d pushed too hard and Mycroft hadn’t been all that into it. Or thought he’d been into it but would inevitably come to his senses. Would hate the way Greg gets around cases like this. Would eventually tire of coming second to complete strangers. 

“Greg?”

Greg shook himself. “Sorry. Sorry, I…” 

Mycroft waited, and then when Greg offered nothing further, sighed. “You need to rest.”

“I know. I will. When it’s done.” 

“Would it— “ Mycroft cleared his throat. “That is, would you like to speak on the phone again when it is? I’d… like to know you’re alright. To…” he cleared his throat again, a nervous little tic. “It would be good to hear your voice.”

Greg closed his eyes and swallowed hard. There it was. There was just the thing to get that little voice in his head to shut the hell up. The relief, on top of his exhaustion, drove him dangerously close to tears. “Yeah,” he managed to grate out. "Yeah, please, I’d like to call you.”

“Any time of day or night,” Mycroft murmured. “If I’m in a meeting, I will call you back straight away. If I’m asleep, I will wake up. Greg? Yes?”

“Yes,” Greg said. “Yes, okay. Talk soon.”

“Alright,” Mycroft said softly, impossibly gently. “Soon. Good luck. You will find them.”

“Thanks.”

Greg hung up because if he didn’t he’d lose his composure right there over the phone, and no one needed that. 

He had a tiny bit of battery left on his mobile. He reached for it. Sherlock wouldn’t like it; he understandably hesitated to involve himself in kidnapping cases since Moriarty. But Greg needed to find those girls, and fast, before something happened to them. 

He had twenty four of the first forty eight hours left. He backed out of the messages with Mycroft, where he’d sent: could you call me?,  found his ongoing conversation with Sherlock, and sent the text. 

 

***

 

Eighteen hours later, Greg threw Sherlock out of his office. Or, actually, he gave John a significant look and let him do it. 

“Come back Monday, Sherlock,” Greg growled, upright only because he held himself that way, and only about halfway. He was standing, hunched over his desk with his fists pressed to its surface. 

He vaguely heard John cajoling Sherlock out of the room, but he was already slowly collapsing into his chair, eyes squeezed shut. He was so tired that even with his eyes closed the room seemed to tilt around him. 

This case. It had been awful from start to finish - not that it was really finished. The kidnapped girls had been recovered, the youngest unharmed but badly traumatized, the older of the two in stable condition in hospital having nearly drowned in the Thames. 

The kidnapper, a woman whose motive was still entirely unclear, had in fact, managed to drown in the Thames. 

Greg felt nauseous just thinking about the scene. He’d been off the bridge, watching their negotiator trying to talk the woman down. Between one blink and the next, six year old Angelina Matheison had been thrown. And then the kidnapper had jumped. 

His desk phone began to ring. Greg jumped, pulled out of the replay in his mind, and groaned. He rubbed his hands over his face, and picked it up. 

“Yeah,” he started, then stopped to clear the gravel out of his throat. “Lestrade speaking.”

“Will you allow me to send you a car to take you home?”

Greg nearly dropped the phone. Mycroft’s voice was such a balm for his frayed nerves, flooding him with relief so quickly that it was disorienting. “Mycroft.”

“Forgive me,” Myroft said, and Greg realized he sounded nervous. “ I don’t mean to pry or overstep. News broke about the recovery of the girls and the unfortunate events after, and I thought… I’m sorry. I believe you said the other day that I am too nosy for my own good.” 

Greg closed his eyes. “I think you might be, but I like it. Don’t worry.”

“You sound exhausted,” Mycroft replied after a beat. “Please, don’t drive yourself home. Let me do this for you.”

“You still working?”

Mycroft paused again. “Yes, for now, but I will be finished soon.”

“Soon enough to be inside the car when it picks me up?”

Greg gripped the phone tightly, waiting out the hesitant silence on the other end of the line. 

“No, not soon enough for that.”

Oh.

Greg cleared his throat. “Right, no, I underst--” 

“Perhaps soon enough that I could arrive at your flat with a warm meal in hand, giving you enough time to bathe and change?” 

Relief washed over him again, and Greg sagged, his elbows holding him up but his head hanging low. “It’s nearly midnight as it is. I won’t be the most sparkling company,” he said. 

“I had hoped to be out to dinner with you earlier tonight,” Mycroft said gently. “Instead, I had an early supper with my assistant, consisting of Pret sandwiches and tea. I’m utterly ravenous, and frankly a bit over-caffeinated. You are not required to be good company. Consider it my privilege to dine with my favorite author for a second time this week, regardless of his ability to converse with me about all manner of loaded personal topics.”

Greg laughed weakly. “You’re funny.”

“I’m being utterly serious.”

“‘m not your favorite author.”

“How would you know?”

Greg smiled to himself. “You’ve got me there.”

He could hear the sounds of typing on Mycroft’s end. “I’m going to tie up these loose ends and then leave things in Anthea’s capable hands until tomorrow morning - excuse me--” Another pause. “I have been informed that her hands will be capable enough to free up my morning as well.” 

Grinning now, Greg rubbed a hand over his face and wondered at his luck. “That so?”

“...Yes, though I don’t wish to presume—”

“Presume away. Please stay with me. I’ll… make breakfast.” Your fridge is bare. “Or buy it.” 

“I’ll see you at your flat soon.”

 

***

 

When Greg slid into the waiting town car, an unopened phone charger waited for him on the seat. He plugged his mobile into one of the USB slots in the door and spent the rest of the ride nodding off with one hand pressed to his swelling heart. 

 

***

 

When Mycroft arrived just after midnight, Greg was just barely finished dressing in sweats and a t-shirt. He answered the door barefoot again, but was too tired to spare it a thought. 

He was also too tired and, he realized, too desperately in love, to bother hiding the way the very sight of Mycroft standing there in his suit relaxed his shoulders. He didn’t even think to temper his reaction or restrain himself from stepping directly into Mycroft’s space, slipping his hands inside Mycroft’s unbuttoned coat and wrapping his arms around that incredibly fine suit. 

Mycroft, holding a bag of takeaway in one hand, recovered admirably from his obvious surprise and wrapped his free arm around Greg’s shoulders

“Are you alright?” He murmured. 

Greg breathed deeply. The cold of the night still clung to Mycroft’s coat and skin, but he smelled like cologne and warmth underneath. He nodded against Mycroft’s shoulder. “Fine,” he said. “Thank you for coming. For sending the car.”

“Of course,” Mycroft murmured, and Greg felt the tentative press of lips at his temple. 

He could’ve fallen apart, it was so tender and hesitant. Lovely man. “Come in, sorry,” Greg said, stepping back and releasing his hold on Mycroft’s waist. “Didn’t mean to just…” 

“As if I minded at all,” Mycroft chided him softly. He held out the takeaway bag. “This late, I’m afraid the only thing I could obtain quickly and close enough to keep warm on the way here was Chinese. The restaurant is good, though, and I ordered a variety.”

Lovely, lovely, ridiculous man. 

“I’m sure it’s great,” Greg told him, and led the way into the kitchen and set down the food while Mycroft removed his coat and draped it over one of Greg’s kitchen chairs. “You’re welcome to risk my hall closet.”

“No need,” Mycroft said easily, already consigning his suit jacket to the chair as well. “Step aside and allow me to plate this. You should sit.”

Greg let Mycroft steer him away from the counter with gentle hands; a bit hesitant at first, then more confident once he seemed to realize that Greg was going to let himself be moved. 

“This is kind of you,” Get heard himself say, feeling like everything he said was coming from a great distance. “Thank you.”

“It’s selfishness on my part,” Mycroft replied. “I wanted to see you. Sit down at the table.” 

Greg did as told and a moment later Mycroft set a plate of noodles and beef down in front of him. Greg blinked at the food, breathing in the smells. “Christ, I’m so hungry.”

“Then you should eat,” Mycroft said, returning from the counter with cutlery to place at Greg’s hand. “Go on, I’ll join you in a moment.”

Greg ate mechanically, slowly, pausing to smile gratefully and (he was sure) dopily at Mycroft when he sat across from him at the table. 

Christ, had it only been two and a half days since they’d had dinner here? It felt like a month.

“I missed you,” Greg said, head ducked to watch his hand twirling the noodles on his plate round a fork. Across from him, Mycroft wielded chopsticks like an expert, but Greg lacked the energy to even try tonight. 

“Did you?” Mycroft’s foot nudged Greg’s under the table.

Greg glanced up. Mycroft meant the question, was the funny thing. Greg was punchy enough with exhaustion that his feelings about that were probably more obvious than he might normally like. He probably looked horrendously soppy at the moment, but he didn’t care. 

“‘Course,” he said. “It was good to have you here the other night. I… yeah, I loved it. Maybe it’s strange to say I missed you. Sorry.”

Mycroft laid his chopsticks down and chewed, considering Greg over their plates. “It was wonderful to be here,” he said after a few moments. “I missed you, as well. I don’t think it’s strange.”

“It wasn’t the first time I’ve missed you,” Greg admitted, thinking of all the times they had to skip dinner. All the times they said goodbye at the end of the evening, went their separate ways. The way it had begun to ache, every time. 

Mycroft paused. Greg was horribly grateful that his face must show everything, and that Mycroft could so easily read it, understanding his meaning without needing words to explain it. “I… Same.”

They smiled at each other, and then ate in the delicate silence that followed. 

Greg cleared his plate. The food was delicious, but he didn’t taste it much past the first bites. His body was beginning to ache in ways that told him he’d be paying in the knee and lumbar areas tomorrow. He remembered squatting down to check in with a medic back when it was still daylight, and winced.

Mycroft had stopped eating a while ago, Greg thought, when he managed to look up from his own empty plate. 

“Sorry,” he said. “It’s been a long couple of days.”

“I know,” Mycroft said simply. “You really mustn’t apologize. Do you wish to talk about it?”

“No,” Greg replied instantly. “No, no. I know you can look at the file. Probably already have. It’s… it was bad. That’s all.”

“I didn’t look at a file,” said Mycroft gently. He reached across the table and pressed two long fingers to the side of Greg’s wrist. It was an awkward gesture, but it felt grounding, and Greg realized he really wanted Mycroft to touch him a little more, maybe hold onto him and tether him to the present. “What I know, I saw on the evening news with everyone else. I will read the file if and when you ask me to. I know that it was an unspeakably difficult day, and I do not need to know more. Now, tell me what you need.”

Greg stared across the table at Mycroft, his exhausted brain struggling to process it all. He felt the rush of blood to his face, the thickness in his throat. He tried desperately not to let his face crumple, but it did. Mycroft’s fingers circled his wrist and tightened. 

“I need to lie down,” Greg gasped, and swallowed hard to keep from following the words with a sob. “Could you… come lie down with me?”

“Of course,” Mycroft murmured, and in the next moment he was out of his seat and guiding Greg out of his. 

“I can get the dishes,” Greg said, knowing as he did that it was feeble. 

“Later,” Mycroft told him, with the finality of a man who already knew he’d be the one doing the dishes. “Don’t worry about it.”

Greg let himself be steered to his own bedroom, and felt the threat of tears and imminent emotional breakdown recede. That kind of thing was rare for him, but oddly enough he wasn’t even embarrassed to be feeling it like this in front of Mycroft. He felt, if not good, then at least safe to be a bit less than good. A lot less than good. 

Mycroft pulled back the covers and guided Greg down into the bed. 

“What next?” He asked. “Held or holding?”

Greg squeezed his eyes shut and breathed through his nose, sure he was going to go over all weepy again. “Held, please. Christ.”

“Good,” Mycroft murmured, and after a couple of minutes spent shedding waistcoat and tie, shoes and socks, slipped in beside him, arranging Greg against his chest as if they’d done this hundreds of times and not just once, in reverse, two days before. 

“Thank you for this,” Greg said into Mycroft’s chest. “Seriously.”

“I maintain that it is selfish of me,” Mycroft replied. “Do you feel ready to sleep?”

Greg thought of the way the eldest Matheison girl had looked when the constable had pulled her from the river.

She’s alive, Greg thought. Stop it.

He couldn’t help picturing the way the kidnapper’s body had looked, floating out on the water. 

“I can’t sleep,” Greg said, “not yet. I promise I’ll be alright, it’s just…”

“You have been stretched to the limit,” Mycroft soothed. He ran his hands over Greg’s arms and back in large, sweeping circles. “Past the limit. I understand, believe me.”

“We tried to talk her down,” Greg murmured. 

“Of course you did.” 

“The little girls—  they’re alright.”

“I know.”

Greg’s breath shuddered in his lungs. “She was just… someone. She didn’t know them. She wasn’t right, wasn’t well. And she took them. And she nearly—” 

“Yes.”

Greg decided to stop speaking for a while and just breathe in the faint scent of whatever the fancy dry cleaners must use on clothing like Mycroft’s; the stronger scents of posh deodorant and absurdly delicious cologne. He breathed and let Mycroft gently touch him until he felt steady again. 

“I don’t think I want to talk about it after all.”

“That’s quite alright.”

“Mycroft.”

“Yes?”

Greg sighed. “You’re so wonderful.”

Mycroft’s chest moved with his wry little chuckle under Greg’s cheek. “I’m pleased to hear you think so.” 

“Would you kiss me?”

It was amazing, getting to actually hear Mycroft’s breath skip, but that feeling was quickly overcome by the perfection of having his head tilted up, two of Mycroft’s fingers under his chin, and his lips kissed, painfully and perfectly gentle. 

“Thanks,” he said, when Mycroft drew away. “Do that whenever you get the urge.”

“Every other minute, then?”

Greg smiled, his first really good smile in hours and hours. “Like I said the other day. You’re just a secret romantic.”

“Perhaps,” Mycroft murmured. “I’ve had plenty of inspiration.” 

“Flatterer.”

“You assume I mean you.”

“I’m your favorite author.”

“Mm.” 

 

***

 

Greg must have drifted off. His eyes snapped open and his body roused into half-alertness some time in the small hours. He nearly sat up; he did gasp. It took his brain a moment to register Mycroft’s arms around him, and by the time it did, their embrace had tightened. 

“Greg?”

Greg turned in Mycroft’s arms - when had he rolled to his other side? - and curled in close. 

“Are you alright?”

“Just leftover adrenaline,” Greg murmured. “Body doesn't know it can stand down yet.”

Mycroft’s hands moved to grip him gently at his upper arms, tipping him away just enough to find him in the dark, push their mouths together in a brief, sweet locking of lips. Greg felt himself relax into it instantly, as if this was all normal business-as-usual. 

It wasn’t. 

It’d been years since he could rely on someone to do that for him. It wasn’t just that he hadn’t actually slept in the same bed as another person since his divorce. In the last years of their marriage, Dana had been unwilling to hear a word from Greg about the job. She hated when he couldn’t sleep. Couldn’t stand the way he jerked awake in the middle of the night. It disgusted her when he got silently weepy over coffee the morning after a rough case. 

It hadn’t always been like that. But it was like that for a long time. 

Greg’s body still remembered how to be comforted. The thought filled him with sadness and joy at the same time. God, he was so tired. 

“Do you need anything?” Mycroft asked, once he had pressed a series of kisses over Greg’s face in the dark, aimless and dry, but sweet and reassuring all the same. “Water? Lights on?”

“Just more sleep,” Greg sighed, melting into Mycroft’s body, into the mattress. 

“Sleep, then,” Mycroft murmured.

Greg did. 

 

***

 

He woke again around six, still heavy with tiredness and achy from days of tension, but miles better than he had been when he arrived home the night before. 

Mycroft was asleep, and deeply so. Greg wondered if he had been able to drop off as easily as Greg had. They had migrated apart a bit, one of Mycroft’s arms under the pillow and the other between their bodies, snug against Greg’s back instead of wrapped around Greg’s waist. He slept with his face half-buried in the pillow, just one side visible. Greg resisted the urge to reach out and trace the fine cheekbone. He didn’t want to wake him. 

Greg left the bed carefully, silently, and padded to the bathroom on quiet feet. His mind turned over the events of the night before while he relieved himself and washed his hands and face, brushed his teeth. 

He never would have expected things to go that way. When Mycroft called, when Greg got into the car, he had thought how nice it would be not to go home to an empty flat, eat with someone, maybe talk a bit. He hadn’t expected Mycroft to just… completely take care of him. 

When Greg got back into the bedroom, Mycroft had shifted in his sleep, more of his face visible in the pale morning light. He had pillow creases on his cheek. Greg would have to kiss those in a bit. For now, he’d let Mycroft sleep and occupy himself for a while. He knew he wouldn’t be able to drop back off at this point. He’d be able to sleep more solidly tonight, with a day in between himself and the worst details of the case. 

He found his laptop where he’d left it, half-shoved under the bed. Sitting up against the headboard, careful not to disturb Mycroft, Greg got comfy and opened the laptop, waking it from its sleep. The screen blinked to life, offering up the manuscript he’d been editing a few days prior. 

Greg sighed. He was a little behind on those edits; he had a deadline next Friday. 

He couldn’t begin to describe how much he didn’t feel like murdering all his beloved semicolons that early in the morning. He could cut himself some slack, he decided, and swapped to another document. An outline. Something new and exciting. Something he could play with and not feel in any way concerned about. 

Greg began to reread what he’d come up with so far, filling in little notes here and there with bits and pieces he’d come up with in the back of his mind in his idle moments since the last time he added to it. There wasn’t much; he’d been slightly busy that week, what with finding out that Mycroft Holmes wanted to kiss him and then throwing himself bodily at a kidnapping case as if ruining himself would make the answers come faster. 

But early morning, even on little sleep, was always the best time for this sort of thing. Greg was quickly absorbed in the flow of a story forming line by line, and he didn’t notice Mycroft waking beside him at first. He didn’t notice until he got down to outlining the revealing moment of the story, where the protagonist would realize his growing feelings, and found his gaze drifting away from his screen and toward Mycroft, the thought half-formed in his head: When was our— 

He was met with Mycroft’s open eyes, surprisingly clear this early in the day, just after waking. 

“Oh,” Greg said, inexplicably embarrassed; like Mycroft had woken up to find him doing something private. He supposed that up until that second, his writing had been private. “Hello.”

“I have wondered,” Mycroft murmured, with more poise than any person just waking up had any right to have, but also endearingly fuzzy by his standards. 

“What about?”

“What you look like when you’re writing.” Mycroft shifted, rolling more onto his back with a stretch. 

Greg set the laptop aside, knocking over his alarm clock on the side table as he did. “Oh? And what do I look like?”

“Content,” Mycroft said immediately. “Handsome.”

Greg found himself grinning. He leaned down and pressed his mouth to Mycroft’s cheek, and then to his lips. “Flatterer,” he said when he pulled away. 

Mycroft reached up and tugged him gently back down. Greg couldn’t stop smiling long enough to properly kiss him, but it didn’t seem to matter. 

“Feeling better?” Mycroft wondered, still close. 

“Much,” Greg replied. “Thanks to you.”

“I… hated to think of you on your own.”

Romantic.” Greg’s tone was teasing, but he meant it.

“I never was before,” Mycroft admitted. 

Greg leaned in and kissed him, sweet and close mouthed. “I don’t believe that.” An idea formed vaguely in the back of his mind. “You said you’ll be free ‘til the afternoon?”

“At least until then,” Mycroft said, then smiled wryly. “Anthea would probably assassinate my 3 o’clock meeting if I asked her for more time. She is rather impressed with you and is curiously invested in our spending time together.”

Greg laughed, collapsing down beside Mycroft to bury his face in his neck and breathe him in. “God,” he said. “Is it weird to say I want you to ask her?” Greg took advantage of the fact that his face was already hidden to ask the question that kept posing itself in his mind “Are we… is this too much? Too fast?”

Mycroft’s long fingers threaded through Greg’s hair. “It has taken me many years to… feel this way. To want…” He trailed off, but then repeated himself, more firmly, a complete sentence. “To want. ” Full stop. “Please. Don’t slow down.”

Greg shivered and wrapped his arms around Mycroft the best he could without moving. “Okay,” he said. That could’ve been considered an opening, once upon a time, with anyone else, to just go for it. Maybe he’d get an article of clothing or five off Mycroft and illustrate with his tongue how very little he minded going very fast. But…no. Not just yet. He propped his chin against Mycroft’s shoulder and tried not to let the skip in his heart show when Mycroft looked down at him with eyes as vulnerable as Greg had ever seen them. Yeah, not yet.   

“So, then… should we get up? Breakfast? Or be disgustingly lazy and call it brunch?”

 

***

 

They had a lie-in, curled together in Greg’s bed, just talking. Greg explained the way cases involving kids always got to him, and how he was always more likely to push himself too hard when dealing with one. Mycroft was reassuring. Understanding.

“There is no shame in needing to… settle,” he said gently. He held Greg’s hand as he said it, his thumb soothing circles over Greg’s palm. “It might be hard to believe but I… that is, my job… of course it can be quite intense now, but I am afforded a certain amount of distance. I wasn’t always.”

Greg tsked. “And who took care of you when you had a week like the one I’ve been having?”

Mycroft shook his head. “You know the answer to that.”

“You’re very tight-lipped,” Greg replied, scooting closer. Maybe if he got so close that they didn’t have to make eye contact, Mycroft would feel more comfortable telling him. “I can guess that you didn’t have someone, at least not recently. But never?”

Mycroft’s eyes closed, and he did as Greg had hoped, tilting their heads together so that they touched almost everywhere, but didn’t have the space to lock eyes. “Never,” he said softly. “I didn’t know how. I still don’t.”

Greg smiled. “You’re doing great so far.”

“Am I?”

They kissed, gentle and brief. 

“Yeah.” Greg thought it might be time to give Mycroft a break from all the sharing. “D’you like sweet breakfast? I know a place.”

 

***

 

They walked together to the bakery a couple of blocks away, for pastries and coffee, and then back to Greg’s flat. Mycroft never bothered to re-dress in his suit, and Greg felt stupidly distracted by the sight of him in his shirtsleeves, rolled and shoved up to above his elbows. They ate flaky, jam-filled pastries in the kitchen, trading sugary kisses when the mood struck, which was often. Greg thought with no small amount of wonder that he had never been this soppy over anyone before. 

“What were you writing?” Mycroft wondered. “This morning in bed?”

Greg leaned his cheek against his fist and smiled across his kitchen table at the blush that bloomed across the bridge of Mycroft’s nose when he said those last two words. “You want to know?”

Mycroft cleared his throat. “Of course I do. I’ve been deprived of my favorite author’s work for months.”

“Whose fault is that?” Greg teased. “Maybe I should make you join my newsletter, hope you get some sneak peaks—” Mycroft flushed harder. Greg barked a delighted laugh. “You already joined my newsletter.” 

“Before I realized,” Mycroft admitted, looking away in embarrassment. His lips twitched. “Yes.”

“Fantastic,” Greg said. “Bloody wonderful. You’re my favorite reader, you know?”

Mycroft looked back at him, appearing more pleased than he should for such an obvious statement. Greg’s heart thumped hard against his ribs. He would have to think of more things to say to get that sweetly surprised reaction. 

“How’s this,” Greg said after a moment. “What I was working on this morning isn’t really describable yet. It’s early days. But I know for a fact you’ve missed two books since you decided reading them was disrespectful to me as a person. Which, by the way, I still think is daft.”

“Allow me my coping mechanisms,” Mycroft grumbled into his next bite of danish. “I was… besotted. And…”

“Confused?” 

“Afraid.” Mycroft looked surprised at himself for having said it. 

Greg wanted to call him sweetheart and kiss his bloody face off. He pushed that down. Too much, too soon. Probably. He said, “Don’t be afraid of me.” 

“I’m not.” 

“Still afraid of my books?”

Mycroft quirked a smile. “Not that I was, but no.” 

“Come back to bed.”

 

***

 

Greg couldn’t believe his luck. Ten in the morning on a Friday and he was tucked up against the pillows with Mycroft Holmes actually cuddled into his side, listening to Greg read out loud the first chapter of L.G. Derien’s most recent work. 

“A romantic mystery involving shadowy government initiatives,” Mycroft mused when Greg read him the back cover. “Set in Dartmoor. Interesting.”

Greg grinned. “I was spending a lot of time with you,” he said. “I kept thinking about that time. I couldn’t be sure then but I would’ve sworn you were checking out my tan.”

“I was,” Mycroft said drily. “It was unfair of you to be that handsome.” 

“Should’ve said something.”

Mycroft elbowed him. “You were a married man.”

Greg sighed and opened the book. “You’re right. Well, you’ll have to go away somewhere sunny with me. All the tan you want, then.”

He realized as he said it that it was more than a bit presumptuous, and it must have shown on his face because Mycroft smiled and shook his head. 

“I already told you,” he said. “Don’t slow down.”

They hadn’t even slept together. Well, not in the biblical sense. Greg wanted to go on a two week beach vacation with Mycroft anyway.

“Right,” Greg said, and opened the book to read. 

 

***

 

“Don’t read the next page,” Mycroft said a while later, close to noon. “I’m quite sure my heart couldn’t take it.”

“Come on,” Greg cajoled, even as he shut the book and tossed it aside to roll Mycroft onto his back. “They’re almost gonna kiss.” He hovered his mouth over Mycroft’s. “Not quite, though. Also, I knew you were reading ahead.” 

“If I have to listen to your voice reading that,” Mycroft said, nice and even, his breath ghosting over Greg’s lips, “I will perish.”

I am in love with you, Greg thought. 

He’d known it for a while, though for a long time it had made him despair. Going for near-weekly not-date dinners, carrying a torch for a man who probably didn’t feel the same. Laura had given Greg such shit about it. But he couldn’t help it, and he didn’t try very hard not to fall for the Mycroft Holmes he was growing to know. 

He’d really known it the night before, when just the sight of Mycroft on his doorstep, just the feel of him, had been a relief. He couldn’t say it, though. Not slowing down was one thing. Hurtling them both off a cliff a couple of days in was another. 

“Wouldn’t want to kill you,” Greg said instead, and nearly rolled his eyes at himself. 

“A nice way to go,” Mycroft replied. “But perhaps not just yet. Kiss me.” 

Greg obliged him, but regardless of who asked who to do the kissing, the thing changed direction pretty quickly, Myroft’s hand around the back of Greg’s neck holding him still; Mycroft’s tongue slipping between Greg’s lips. Greg really did marvel at the sort of kisser Mycroft was. For someone who hadn’t had much recent experience, who was so unsure of his welcome and how to go about things like cuddling and fooling around just for the sake of it, he kissed masterfully.  

Greg was happy to give himself over, put himself in those capable hands. 

When they came up for air, Mycroft was breathing hard, his hands clenched tight in the shoulders of Greg’s t-shirt. 

“Can I ask you something?” Greg’s hands hovered over Mycroft’s hips. “Or, can I…” 

“Yes,” Mycroft replied, and it took Greg a moment to realize that Mycroft wasn’t telling him that he could ask, but that he had free reign . “Yes.”

Greg felt light headed. Like he was being handed a winning lottery ticket. “I didn’t ask you yet.”

“Touch me, please.” 

Greg let his eyes fall closed and brought one of Mycroft’s hands to his mouth, pressing his lips to the knuckles and breathing slowly to force himself into something close to control and restraint. “I don’t want to do anything you don’t want me to do. I want to take this... if not slowly, carefully. Want to make everything perfect.” 

“It is perfect.” Mycroft shifted and rolled them, pressing Greg down into the mattress with their hands intertwined above Greg’s shoulders, pinning him. “It is everything. I want… everything.”

“All at once?”

Mycroft’s lips twitched. He huffed his self-deprecating little exhale. “Yes, all at once,” he said. “But perhaps we could start with…” He slipped on hand up under Greg’s t-shirt. “The basics?”

Greg’s heart fluttered in his chest. He nodded. “Yeah, okay.”

Long, uncountable minutes later, Greg had to wonder just what the definition of the basics was , because Mycroft had proceeded to more or less trap him there and was edging him blind. 

He rucked Greg’s shirt up his chest and then decided, apparently, that it was in his way just there, and shoved the neck of it over Greg’s head without actually letting Greg sit up to get it off his arms. He wasn’t bound by the shirt or anything, but the tightness of the fabric made him feel like he was. Then, Mycroft just… set upon Greg’s skin, his mouth soft and aimless at first, but quickly finding the strangest erogenous zones —  Greg’s belly button; the space below his last rib — and then moving on to the more obvious ones. 

He spent an inordinate amount of time laving his tongue over Greg’s nipples, paying what Greg was sort of positive was a perfectly equal amount of attention to each. Greg began to wonder if this was payback for his own inadvertent foray onto the knife edge of an untouched orgasm, touching Mycroft’s nipples the other day. But that didn’t seem like the sort of thing Mycroft was thinking about now. He seemed intent and focused, but not like he was collecting data or driving at any particular goal. 

When he drew away from Greg’s left nipple to bite along the lower edge of his pectoral, Mycroft seemed to be doing it just to do it. There was no finesse there, just enthusiasm and curiosity.

It was delicious. Greg felt like he was being enjoyed. Tasted. Maybe even used, a little, which was vaguely weird, considering all the pleasure in the world seemed to be on offer to him, and Mycroft was still fully dressed and hadn’t even put his cock anywhere near Greg yet. 

Mycroft drifted across Greg’s body again, and this time he bit the hardened nipple, sharp and stinging, before licking over it to soothe. 

Greg gasped and whimpered, his hips jerking involuntarily. He was painfully hard, and shocked by it. Just from having his chest played with? Greg couldn’t remember if that had ever happened before.  

Greg craned his neck to try and watch as Mycroft moved down his torso in a line of sucking kisses, dipping his tongue into Greg’s navel again in such a way that Greg couldn’t keep his head up. He collapsed back against the pillows and wished he could move his arms enough in the confines of the t-shirt to reach up and grip the headboard. Something. There was no way Mycroft could have missed the fact of Greg’s straining erection, not in the sweatpants Greg had changed back into after the walk to the bakery. Still, he seemed to be ignoring it for now, tracing his lips along the waistband of the sweats, his hands holding Greg at the hips firmly, but not hard enough to be painful. 

Greg remembered the other night, making out like teenagers on the sofa, and the way Mycroft kept pressing his nose to Greg’s hairline, darting his tongue out to taste the hinge of his jaw. 

This was the same; Myroft exploring him, taking him in, cataloging him and managing to make it extremely hot. 

“May I?” Mycroft asked in a murmur against the softness of Greg’s right love handle, one hand hovering over the tented fabric over Greg’s crotch. 

“You don’t need to ask,” Greg replied, breathless. “But yeah. Yes. God, please.”

Mycroft surprised him; Greg had been expecting that uncertain hand to rub against him through the fabric, which would have been just fine. Instead, Mycroft leaned up on his other elbow and hooked his fingers into the waistband of Greg’s sweats, pulling it up and over Greg’s erection and slipping it down just far enough to sit tight around the very tops of his thighs, snug under his balls. 

“Oh my god,” Greg moaned, when Mycroft’s perfect, long fingers wrapped around his bare prick. “Mycroft.”

“It’s alright?”

“Yes,” Greg said. “God, yes, but it’s been long enough that - oh - this might be over embarrassingly fast.” 

Mycroft’s hand tightened, nice and snug, around Greg’s cock, and he leaned up to kiss him, tongue slipping in alongside Greg’s in a dirty, invasive stroke that Greg groaned into. Mycroft sucked Greg’s bottom lip as he pulled back. “Don’t come,” he said. 

Greg bit down on a cry, strangling it in his throat. “Jesus—” his hips tried to come up off the bed. “Don’t say that, or I will..”

“I had forgotten,” Mycroft said, urgent, even as his hand stroked Greg slowly from root to tip and then back down again, “how much I could enjoy this.”

“Mmph,” Greg nodded. “Good! I mean, no—  not good, forgetting isn’t good.” Mycroft’s clever fingers formed a tight ring just below the head, jerking a couple of times, experimentally, over it and then snugly back down in short little strokes. Greg’s brain was probably melting, and that was fine by him. “Enjoying is good.” 

Mycroft hummed thoughtfully. He kissed Greg again, just as messy and filthy as before. And then he caught Greg off-guard again by sliding back down his body and taking the head of his cock into his mouth, hot and wet, without warning. 

“Fuck,” Greg cried out. “Mycroft, I’m—”

Mycroft’s tongue did something utterly wicked and Greg’s entire body shuddered. He slid his mouth down, expert and precise, and then he pulled off entirely. 

Greg twitched, caught there between Mycroft’s hands - one at his hip, pinning him, and the other still circling his cock with two fingers (his fucking pinky raised, which Greg saw when he looked down, askance, at the cease in delicious, perfect suction). His chest heaved. 

“What?” He gasped, meeting Mycroft’s gaze for the first time in what felt like hours. “You stopped.”

“You were about to finish,” Mycroft replied. “I’m not finished yet.”

The absolute kicker of it all, was that Mycroft didn't say it with the air of a man who was actively denying Greg his incipient orgasm; it didn't sound dominant. It didn't even sound coy. 

It was factual. Blunt. It was… incredibly Holmesian. 

Greg compartmentalized hard to avoid thinking of bloody Sherlock. 

“Oh,” he said, the brokenness of his own voice unsurprising. “You’re not?”

“Not nearly,” Mycroft said, then buried his face in the crease of Greg’s thigh, breathing in deeply while his tongue slipped out to taste the skin there and his hand stroked over Greg’s cock again, base to tip, tip to base, nice and smooth with a twist of his wrist at the head. 

“Jesus fucking—” Greg’s head hit the pillow with a thump. “You’re amazing.”

“I used to love doing this,” Mycroft told Greg’s inner thigh, echoing what he said before. “I still love doing this.” 

“I am extremely lucky,” Greg said, blinking up at the ceiling and gasping as Mycroft’s tongue darted out, pressing hard just under the head of his cock. His hips jerked, fighting against Mycroft’s grip. 

Mycroft laid his forearm over Greg’s pelvis, like a bar holding him down. The pressure there felt fantastic. Mycroft sucked him down again and Greg was gone, lost to it. Mycroft let up on his hold, instead pressing his palm down on the lowest part of Greg’s belly. Greg felt his balls tighten, felt his spine go electric with his orgasm just before it hit. 

“My- Mycroft, I’m—”

“Mmph,” Mycroft replied, and it was somehow eloquent. It was yes, and do it.

Greg saw stars, and came. 

Mycroft’s mouth was gentle and sweet through the aftershocks, releasing Greg slowly through a series of long, slow sucks and then gentle, deliberate presses of his lips along the shaft, down to Greg’s balls, his thighs, Mycroft’s hand taking his mouth’s place, softly holding Greg’s spent prick to his twitching belly. 

“Oh my god,” Greg said. “That was so…”

When he looked up, it was to find Mycroft sweeping one elegant thumb along the edge of his reddened mouth. Greg had watched him do that a hundred times, after the first taste of a good wine. Stunned, and utterly run over by intense affection and a desperate need to get his hands in Mycroft’s trousers, Greg reached for him. 

“You don’t have to—” Mycroft made to turn his face away. 

“You think I don’t want to kiss you on the mouth? After that?”

Mycroft made a small, noncommittal humming sound. 

Well fuck that, Greg thought. If I ever meet the man - men? - who made you this unsure I’ll— 

Greg shoved that aside and hauled Mycroft in and down into the wettest kiss he could manage. He groaned at the taste of himself, and it wasn’t just for Mycroft’s benefit. Greg loved that. 

“Can I?” He asked, reaching for Mycroft’s trouser button. “I’m dying to see you.’

Mycroft nodded, his forehead bumping into Greg’s. “Please.”

Greg struggled, with Mycroft’s help, out of his t-shirt at last, settling with Mycroft straddling his lap. He opened Mycroft’s trousers, not bothering to try and take it slow or make it sexy. His hands were shaking, and he was still panting from orgasm and kissing. Mycroft wore soft grey boxer briefs, silky to the touch and doing nothing to hide how hard he was. Or how…

Jesus Christ, Greg thought. Big. 

He let the trousers fall, slipping down Mycroft’s narrow hips, and then pressed his palm to the hard ridge of his cock. 

Which was big.

He’d felt it, of course, pressed against him, and thought at the time that it was probably on the larger side. But he hadn’t expected— 

“I was going to use my hand,” he murmured, not realizing, actually, that he’d said it out loud until Mycroft responded.

“Yes, please.”

Greg shook his head, hooking his fingers under the waistband to brush against the head. Mycroft’s hips shoved down, searching for more touch. “I think I really need to get my mouth on that,” Greg said, and pushed Mycroft gently over and onto his back. 

“Oh,” Mycroft said on an exhale, already kicking the trousers off his legs while Greg peeled down his high-end underwear with little finesse, but at least some restraint, despite the way his mouth watered in anticipation. 

“My, my,” Greg murmured, stroking Mycroft in a loose fist. “It is my lucky, lucky day.”

Mycroft made a choked-off little moan, thrusting up into Greg’s soft grip. His expression was stuck somewhere between smugness and embarrassment. 

Greg leaned up and kissed him as he tightened his hand for several purposeful strokes, mimicking the little twist of the wrist Mycroft had executed before. “I’m not as good at it as you,” he murmured against Mycroft’s mouth. “And I’m out of practice.”

“I could come just from this,” Mycroft told him, hips hitching up. “Just… please. Let me.”

Let him. That sounded… like something to turn over (and over and over) in his mind later. Greg had to kiss him again. “I’m not going to make you beg, darling,” he said. “Not today, anyway.”

Mycroft grinned, seeming to relax at the gentle tease in Greg’s voice, and then his smile melted as Greg stroked him again, again, again, a little harder, a little faster. His mouth went slack with pleasure, and Greg kissed it one more time, nice and sloppy and promising.

He didn’t linger over the planes of smooth, pale skin spread out before him. He’d promised not to make Mycroft beg - though he would definitely be returning the favor sometime soon, of being held down and sweetly tortured. Greg began with a long, slow lick up the shaft, sighing in satisfaction as he reached the slick precome at the head. He’d missed this. 

Mycroft made the most fantastic sounds when Greg sealed his mouth around him, taking as much of him as he could in those first tentative, sucking strokes. Breathy moans went deeper, lower, and if Greg was a younger man he’d be hard again just from that. 

It took a bit for his nerves to settle, to get the rhythm down. He knew he couldn’t take Mycroft’s entire length without extensive practice (what a hardship that would be) and relearning how to relax his throat, so he didn’t try to get too fancy with it. He kept losing himself to the feel and the taste, remembering to pay attention to what his hands were doing, pulling off to lick and nibble and tease. Mycroft didn’t seem to mind the lack of precision judging by the constant, delicious noises he made.

Then, as Greg sped his movements, bobbing up and down on Mycroft’s cock while his hand covered what length he couldn’t take, he got too ambitious and managed to nearly choke, gagging just a little before pulling away to gulp in a breath. Once upon a time, when Greg did this with men frequently, he’d have coughed, caught his breath and then just kept going. But he glanced at Mycroft’s face, a little embarrassed, wondering if the lack of finesse had killed the mood at all. 

Mycroft was watching him with dark, hooded eyes, his breath coming fast through his parted lips. 

He liked that, Greg thought, flicking out his tongue to play at the very edge of the head, just to watch Mycroft’s mouth drop open further, just to hear him gasp. I’m gonna let him fuck my throat one day, he’ll love it. 

We’re going to have the most amazing sex. 

Thrilled, Greg worked his fingers in between Mycroft’s where they had twisted into the sheets, massaging his grip until it loosened. He guided Mycroft’s hands to his head and shot him a wink before getting back to the task at hand. 

Mycroft’s fingers were shy in Greg’s hair at first, but Greg knew a couple of little tricks, surprising Mycroft with swirls of his tongue and the barest application of teeth just there. Mycroft didn’t mirror the death grip in the sheets on Greg’s scalp, but he let his hands wander, let his nails scratch a little, and when Greg made him gasp he twisted strands of hair in his grasp and the little shivers of fleeting pressure and just a little pain very nearly did make Greg hard again. He rocked his hips down against the bed a little, relishing the way it felt on his over-sensitive cock. 

He moaned around his mouthful and touched where he could reach: Mycroft’s nipples, which made him jerk and gasp, the hint of a laugh mixed into his moans, then scratching down his ribs, clutching at his hips and sucking hard before stroking up his inner thighs. Greg pressed a knuckle behind his balls, felt them beginning to tighten. He moaned encouragement and Mycroft pulled his hair until he was twisting into and away from Mycroft’s hands all at the same time, shivering with it. He wanted Mycroft to come down his throat, or on his face. He wanted Mycroft to yank him around or hold him still. He wanted to see Mycroft’s face, and keep his eyes shut so he could just feel all of this. 

It was a mess. It felt amazing, but it was frantic and graceless. Greg became aware of his own sounds as Mycroft’s stuttered and stopped; he whimpered in anticipation of Mycroft’s orgasm, each noise drawn from him shaking, because he was shaking, as though he was about to come again with Mycroft, his body tightening in sympathy. 

Greg gagged again when Mycroft’s hips twitched up hard, and he had to pull off, and it all sort of happened very quickly. Greg came up gasping, his hand following the trajectory of his mouth, intending to stroke Mycroft through the break he needed in order to catch his breath. Mycroft’s hand tightened in Greg’s hair. Greg looked up and registered the way his expression had broken open, the little line between his eyebrows and the slackness of his jaw. And then he felt the first striping spurt of come across his own cheek 

Yes.

Greg let his eyes drift closed as he stroked and aimed Mycroft through it, opening his mouth and groaning at the taste as Mycroft cried out above him. 

“Greg,” Mycroft grated. 

He opened his eyes. Mycroft was wrecked, hair sticking up and face flushed. His eyes had gone wide, presumably at the wanton way Greg had just painted his own lips and tongue with Mycroft’s come. Greg licked a drop away, and the sound Mycroft made then went straight down his spine. 

By the time Mycroft gently pushed Greg’s hand off him, gasping through the last over-sensitized slide, the first line along Greg’s cheekbone had begun to drip. Mycroft ran his fingers through it. 

“My god,” Mycroft uttered, his voice scraped hoarse. “You are a treasure.”

Greg laughed and pressed his face to Mycroft’s belly, giggling madly. A treasure.

When he’d composed himself, he propped himself up on his fist, elbow bent on the mattress beside Mycroft’s hip. “We’re going to be bloody fantastic together, you know.”

It seemed to bowl Mycroft over for a second, but he recovered with a tentative little smile. “Yes,” he said. 

Greg would need to go clean his face. They could both shower. But he let his head drop down to rest over Mycroft’s ribs, feeling the rise and fall of his breaths. Mycroft’s hand returned to Greg’s hair, gentle now. 

It was a while before either of them bothered to move. 

 

***

 

By just gone noon, Mycroft had ignored three phone calls. 

“If an emergency were to happen,” he told Greg while borrowing a disposable razor for a quick shave, “I would know from the ringtone.” 

“Have a feeling you can’t skip that three o’clock.” 

“Probably not,” Myroft said with regret. Greg kissed him quickly, and Mycroft reached out to swipe a bit of transferred shaving foam from Greg’s chin. 

Greg leaned into the casual touch and sighed. “This has been fantastic. I can’t believe you cancelled your morning for me.”

Mycroft tapped the razor on the bowl of the sink, then removed the last triangle of foam, and the tiny bit of stubble beneath, with a deft stroke of the blade. He wiped the traces of leftover foam away with the waiting towel and turned to tug Greg close. 

Greg wouldn’t have expected Mycroft to be so at ease with casual touching. But he was. Greg was obsessed with it, and with his own reaction to it. Mycroft touched him, and Greg went. Easy as anything.

“You realize you have stayed up overnight in hospital waiting rooms with me twice,” Mycroft said. “To say nothing of the risks you have taken, the myriad inconveniences you have withstood, for Sherlock’s sake.”

“True,” Greg admitted, letting himself be embraced and held close. “We barely knew each other then.”

“And yet,” Mycroft murmured. He kissed the side of Greg’s head. “I would have done anything you asked, assuming it was within my power to give, long before we became friends.”

Greg grinned. “And now?”

Mycroft huffed, his chest moving against Greg’s. “I would topple governments if it would thrill you to watch them fall.” 

“Ah, no need for all that,” Greg said, teasing and hoping Mycroft had been teasing as well. “Dinner would be fine.”

“Yes,” Mycroft sighed. “We still have yet to make it out for a meal this week.”

“We will,” Greg soothed, leaning up for a kiss. 

It was interrupted by an insistent banging at his front door. 

“What the f--” 

Mycroft’s arms stilled Greg’s movement out of the bathroom to investigate the commotion. His eyes fell shut, pained. 

“Wha-”

“It’s Sherlock,” Mycroft said, his entire body seeming to wince. 

Greg’s heart sank. “Oh, bollocks,” he said. This was going to be an explosion. 

“Quite,” Mycroft replied, but he smiled. “I fear our happy little bubble is set to pop.” 

“It’s alright,” Greg murmured. The banging at the door kept on. He kissed Mycroft again, long and sweet. “Isn’t it? Do you want to hide?”

“My things are in your kitchen. He could catch a whiff of my cologne, or read it in the way you open the door.” Mycroft shook his head. “It’s fine. Sherlock was going to find out eventually. I didn’t plan to hide this. I don’t think I could.”

Greg’s cheeks hurt from the width of his grin. It had been days since they started this, and Mycroft had thought about it in the long term. Long term enough to factor in whether they’d be public about it.

We’re really doing this.

“Keep the robe on,” Greg said, plucking at the lapels of his own dressing gown, which Mycroft had borrowed after his shower. “Really shock the little shit.”

Mycroft’s smirk was downright evil; the kiss he pressed to Greg’s lips was gleeful. 

“Answer the door,” he said. 

 

***

 

Sherlock had begun to drum a vaguely familiar tune on the door with his fists. Greg hauled it open with a glare. 

“Sherlock,” he growled. Over Sherlock’s shoulder John gave him his customary I tried look. “John.” 

“Your mobile is off,” Sherlock snapped, outraged, as he swept past Greg into the flat. “You weren’t at the Yard.”

“I was on duty for nearly forty-eight hours straight,” Greg informed him, rolling his eyes. “I took a personal day.”

“I have suspicions about the father,” Sherlock announced. “Donovan won’t listen. You’re needed at work. Now you’ve had your lie-in, it’s time to—”

Greg would remember the next moment for as long as he lived. Sherlock very nearly swallowed his tongue mid-sentence, his eyes finally landing on the kitchen chair, which was in his direct line of sight, thanks to the way Greg had intentionally positioned himself just to the left of the kitchen doorway. Just as the penny seemed to drop, a throat was cleared from the hallway, and Mycroft breezed through. Sherlock’s jaw liked to have hit the floor. 

“My apologies,” said Mycroft smoothly. He’d neatened his hair, but still wore Greg’s dressing gown. He slid past Greg and into the kitchen, a casual hand lingering briefly on Greg’s hip on his way past, where he gathered his suit jacket from the back of the chair. He didn’t even glance at Sherlock, not once, which Greg found incredibly impressive. Mycroft did smile blandly at John before he slipped back through the kitchen doorway, pressed a fleeting kiss to Greg’s cheek, and took himself back into the hallway and Greg’s bedroom. 

“Oh,” John said. “My god.” 

“Anyway,” Greg chirped sunnily. “You’re right, I’ve had my lie-in. But I’m not going into the office today. Sherlock, unless someone is about to be murdered, I don’t want to hear it. Make nice with Donovan or try to sweet talk Dimmock into helping you. I’m taking the day off. You can see yourself out.”

Greg left them - John covering his mouth with one hand and trying not to laugh; Sherlock with his mouth open like a guppy - and followed Mycroft’s path into the bedroom. 

Mycroft was just inside the door, clearly listening in, and practically vibrating with humor. Greg waited for the sound of the door to the flat slamming shut to lose it, and Mycroft hauled him in at that moment so that he ended up laughing against Mycroft’s mouth, and then moaning into a toe-curling kiss. 

“Wonderful,” Mycroft said when he was finished stealing the breath from Greg’s lungs. “You’re wonderful.”

God, Greg thought. I love you. And then: Gonna be killer to stop myself from saying that out loud.