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Mycroft arrived in his office at a quarter after two, and made straight for his en suite, where an armoire held a spare, fresh suit. He did not make eye contact with Anthea on his way in, nor did he give her any indication that her presence would be needed or appreciated. Still, when he exited the bathroom, she was waiting at his desk. 

“Oh, sir,” she sighed. “I am so pleased.”

“I do live to please you,” Mycroft said drily, as he took his seat. “I would like to make a reservation for Sunday evening.” 

Anthea grinned widely. “Very good, sir.”


They made it to dinner, at last. 

“This is a bit fancier than our usual,” Greg said when they arrived. “Glad you warned me to spiff up.”

“Is it alright?” Mycroft was suddenly and horribly worried that he’d made a grievous misstep. Should he have chosen somewhere more casual? Perhaps the tapas restaurant from the beginning. That would’ve been romantic. He berated himself internally even as Greg happily set aside the wine list and told him to choose, as usual. 

Greg noticed his distress and shook his head with a fond smile. Told Mycroft it was perfect, that he didn’t mind being spoiled just this once. 

“It won’t be once,” Mycroft warned. 

Greg just grinned at him across the table, and Mycroft’s chest felt as though it would burst. 

Mycroft was scheduled to fly out in the small hours between Sunday and Monday, which he’d been hesitant to tell Greg before dinner. As the meal carried on, he regretted not saying something before. He desperately wished the plans hadn’t long been in place. For his presence to be unneeded. For his work, for the first time in his life, to come second. He knew, logically, that Greg understood the demands of work; that Greg himself had worried over cancelling plans with Mycroft because of them.

They hadn’t made plans for the night beyond dinner, but Mycroft knew from the sparkle in Greg’s eyes, the nudge of his foot under the table, that he wanted to. Mycroft wanted to. 

He managed to get the words out before dessert. He hated the way Greg’s gaze filled with disappointment. 

“Well, damn,” Greg sighed. “That puts a pin in my devilish plan to seduce you up to my flat after this. What time do you need to be in the car?”

“Just after midnight, sadly,” Mycroft said. “I’m sorry.”

“Nothing to be sorry for,” Greg hurried to assure him, and his hand made to reach across the table before he hesitated and glanced around. 

“Please—” Mycroft turned his own hand, palm up, on the tabletop. 

Greg smiled, relieved, and took it. “It’s alright?”

“Yes.” Mycroft squeezed his fingers. “And… I shall be out of the country until at least Wednesday. I know it’s - that is, I don’t wish to—” 

“I’m not about to go cold on you because you’re at work for three days, Mycroft.”

Mycroft opened his mouth to insist that he hadn’t been worrying about just that, but it would be a lie. Greg looked back at him, again with that fond twist of the lips. Mycroft couldn’t recall ever being looked at like that. 

“Perhaps I’m just disappointed,” Mycroft said at last. “Perhaps I wish to be seduced up to your flat.”

“This isn’t your last chance,” Greg teased, before glancing at his watch. “It’s nearly ten.” 

“Yes,” Mycroft sighed. 

“Dessert, then?” Greg ventured. “And then… you can drop me off at my flat, kiss me vigorously against the door, and get in the car for the airport right on the dot.” 

Mycroft felt weak with relief and desire. “Vigorously…”

“Yeah.” Greg grinned. “Chocolate creme brulee?”

“My first love was chocolate,” Mycroft acknowledged. 

“I know.”

The second is you, Mycroft thought, and very carefully didn’t make eye contact.



Anthea noticed his sour mood on the plane, and wisely said nothing. She noticed again at their hastily-eaten lunch between meetings, and again as they both unwound over glasses of aged rum - her favorite - much later than either of them would have wished the day to end. 

“You can’t let it get to you this way,” she chided, once one of two fingers of liquor had been imbibed. “This is what will sour it, if you let it.”

“I don’t know what you are talking about.” Mycroft drained his glass and signalled for the server with a tick of his finger. 

“You’re annoyed that you aren’t with him,” Anthea said, giving up any pretense of skirting the issue. “You’re furious that you aren’t breathing the same London air. It’s making you hate this.” She indicated his life’s work with a waggle of her fingertips. 

Two more rums were delivered. Anthea drained her first and picked up the second, then waited for Mycroft to do the same. 

“What would you have me do?” Mycroft asked when she said nothing further for several passive-aggressive sips. “Ignore that I’m annoyed?” He thought that through and sighed, wincing. “Have I been unbearable toward you?”

“Never,” Anthea replied immediately. “Not once. But you are… sir, it breaks my heart, seeing you positioning yourself to break your own. What’s worse, I think you’ve done it before and no one stopped you.”

Mycroft didn’t close his eyes in acknowledgment of the precision of the blow. He carefully did not wince. He and Anthea never used to discuss personal matters for this reason. She was very nearly his match in terms of analytical ability and quickness of wits. Until Sherlock’s fall, they had kept a polite, invisible barrier raised between them in every conversation. Inquiries after health and the quality of one’s day were customary, as were meaningless, bland answers. 

Things changed, though, when Mycroft needed to entrust her with Sherlock’s wellbeing while he was away. Mycroft was very good at what he did, but even he couldn’t track the machinations of the world and a Sherlock who was running amok outside of London’s safe boundaries. Anthea could. She had shared the load with him, and been instrumental in Sherlock’s safe return. 

Mycroft had known, academically, that she was trustworthy, before all of that. Now, in the after, he knew that he trusted her completely. 

Thus began a new era in their working relationship: A friendship. Of sorts. 

Mycroft felt that, more often than not, theirs was a friendship which revolved around one party chastising the other for being terrible at managing himself. Mycroft would be more upset about it if Anthea was wrong, and if it didn’t feel so strangely good to be known so well by another person. 

“I won’t detail my romantic past for you,” Mycroft said after a moment. 

“I won’t ask.” She uncrossed her legs, recrossed them. Sipped her drink. “But I think you should consider that, this time, something will have to give.”

“No, it won’t.”

Anthea rolled her eyes, and for a moment she looked as young as she had been when he hired her. She shook her head, despairing of him. “You think you can maintain the level of commitment to the work you always have, and also commit to him?”

“I…” Mycroft sighed. “What else is there to do?”

“Mycroft,” Anthea said, as if he was very thick. “The solution is about to order you another drink.”

She left him at the door to his room a few hours later, the both of them a little worse for wear and a bit prickly with each other, with a pat to his shoulder and: “Go read one of his books, already. You’ll feel better for it.”

She was, as usual, correct.


Mycroft didn’t see Greg for almost another week after their dinner out. They had a short phone conversation when Mycroft arrived back in London late on Wednesday. They’d managed to talk once during Mycroft’s trip, while Mycroft ate a mediocre room service lunch and Greg cooked an undoubtedly superior supper. By the time he collapsed, exhausted, into the back of a car heading home, it was nearing the witching hour and Mycroft had a meeting at seven the next morning. 

The next day, three warehouses, fortunately out of use, burned to the ground with bodies, already deceased and partially decomposed, inside. 

Greg texted just in time for Mycroft’s exit from the most obnoxious meeting he’d endured in recent memory: I’m stuck with your bloody brother all day, and probably for the week judging by the damage to the bodies. Hope your day’s better than mine. 

Mycroft groaned, knowing this would mean the end of their tentative dinner plans for the evening. He texted back: My morning has been an exercise in patience, I’m afraid. I know you will be unlikely to finish in time for dinner. Could I propose an alternative? 

I’m all ears, Greg texted. Er. Eyes. You know what I mean. 

Mycroft smiled to himself and ignored Anthea’s curious eyebrow from beside him in the car. 

Fish and chips, hand delivered to your office at whatever time suits? I shall stay and eat with you if convenient?

You star. Please. Yes. And to borrow from your bloody awful brother who I will kick out before you arrive (7ish?) if inconvenient, stay anyway. 

Around 7, Mycroft typed back. Until then. 

“I need to be in Westminster by half six,” Mycroft told Anthea without looking up to see her gleeful face. “You may cancel my reservation.”

“Laughing Halibut, then?” She was smirking. Mycroft could hear it. “I could order ahead.”

“No need,” Mycroft replied. “I’ll walk in.”

“You think I don’t know about your extra gravy,” she muttered. “I know.” 

“My waistline is none of your concern,” Mycroft sniped half-heartedly, glancing at the time and despairing over the yawning chasm between now and seven o’clock. 

“Your heart health is my concern, don’t be a twat,” Anthea snipped back, startling a laugh out of him. “Promise me you won’t skip the appointment with your GP next month and I’ll say no more.”

“Done,” Mycroft said, and he felt impossibly fond of her as she tapped his knee with the pointed toe of her shoe, so glancing as to be easily mistakable as accidental. He knew better. 


“You know,” Anthea said later, after he had handed her his personal black American Express with instructions to treat herself and a companion to an extravagant meal as thanks for her admirable performance that day (and for the last decade-and-change, of course). “You could stand to take some time off. Perhaps next month, after Dr. Gurunathan pronounces your health to be fair to middling and tells you that you need to rest more.”

“I will take the card back,” Mycroft warned. The car was pulling up outside of The Laughing Halibut, behind the Audi waiting to take Anthea wherever she planned to go next. “And the car.”

Anthea ignored him. “Take Detective Inspector Lestrade to the house,” she said. “A Friday-to-Monday holiday.”

“The house?” Mycroft recoiled. “He wouldn’t— the house won’t—”

“You could redecorate it, you realize.” Anthea had already gone back to tapping out emails on her mobile. “That you find it so tacky and yet refuse to change things is beyond my understanding. This is, however, beside the point. Tell Lestrade that you hate the house but the security is ironclad, and the grounds are breathtaking. Tell him that you’re dying to see him working on his delightful books in the light of the conservatory in the morning. Take him there, shag him blind, and get a taste of what your life could be if you would only take a break. Sir.”

Mycroft wouldn’t dignify any of that with a response. “Get out of my car,” he sighed, aggrieved. “I will see you tomorrow. And we won’t speak of this.”


Still, Anthea had got into his head. She had a habit of doing so, usually through a series of pointed remarks. She had been making inroads into a forced break for weeks. Tonight was only one of a series of small battles she had waged thus far. Mycroft must have left some of his aggravation on his face; Greg greeted him at his office door with raised eyebrows. 

“Someone insult your mum?” 

Mycroft huffed. “You assume I am a better son than I am,” he joked drily. “No, just my right hand woman directing me in how to conduct my affairs. Again.” 

Greg laughed, and it was certainly more of a laughing-at-you sort of response than a laughing-with. “Last time you mentioned her you said she likes me enough to assassinate a man. She’s probably right about whatever it is.” 

Greg cleared space on his desk for the takeaway containers, and Mycroft produced two bottles of beer from his inside coat pockets. 

“Oh, you naughty boy,” Greg groaned, taking his. 

Mycroft nearly had a stroke, he was sure of it, but he recovered enough to clink his bottle with Greg’s over the steaming fish and chips.

By the time they had settled across from each other, Mycroft had decided, in the back of his mind, and very much without meaning to, that Greg was right, and therefore so was Anthea.

He had been very carefully avoiding thinking about their rum-fueled conversation in Miami the week before. It kept echoing, though, louder and louder the more he tried to shove it aside. 

“Do you wish to discuss the case?” Mycroft asked, delaying himself from voicing thoughts half-formed. 

“Christ, no,” Greg scoffed. “Sorry to say that I’m more than happy to let Sherlock figure this out without me. It’s completely lazy and entirely against procedure, but I’m reasonably sure he and John are out there right now finding our man through breaking and entering. The less I know the better, and if I’m lucky they’ll have delivered me a suspect by midnight.”

Mycroft smiled into his beer. “Pulling back a bit, Inspector?”

Greg shrugged. “I’m getting too old for this shit. That’s the line, yeah?” 

“Interesting you should say that.” Mycroft cleared his throat against a wave of nerves. “Anthea seems to think I need to… how did she put it last week? Check myself before I wreck myself.”

Greg barked a laugh, then tilted his head back very attractively indeed, giggling at the ceiling. “She never did.” 

“She finds it amusing to say absurd catchphrases in my presence,” Mycroft said. “On one occasion several years ago I was unable to parse her meaning, and now she endeavours to catch me out again.” 

Greg grins at him. “Let me guess - you periodically brief yourself on popular culture so she won’t win.” 

Mycroft gave a shrug. “It doesn't hurt to stay abreast of trends.”

Greg glanced out the fishbowl windows of his office; the desks outside were empty due to the late hour. He darted across the desk, holding his tie as he leaned over their containers of greasy food, and stole a salty kiss before sitting back down. “Sorry,” he said. “I had to.”

Mycroft felt heat rise to his cheeks and ducked his head, shaking it. “Never apologize for that.”

Greg waited graciously for Mycroft to compose himself and resume eating before he spoke again “So what did Anthea mean by it, then?”

“Ah,” Mycroft sighed. “Among other things, she feels I am due a mini-break. I wondered if you would care to join me.”

Greg’s face lit up, a sweet, pleased grin and a brightness to his eyes. “Really? You want to go away with me?”

“Of course,” Mycroft said, striving not to show just how breathless it made him to have made Greg look like that. “Well—  I don’t wish to get your hopes up, it would only be a long weekend at my house. It’s a dreadfully big, terribly decorated pile of rocks in Bibury, but it is private, and secure, and I think you might enjoy the grounds. Of course if you would rather, I could research other destinations. You need only—”

“Mycroft,” Greg murmured. “The cleaning crew is going to be through here any minute. You have to stop being so sweet, or I’m going to have you over this desk, grease stains be damned.” 

Mycroft spluttered, shocked and thrilled all at once. “Detective Inspector, you cad.” 

“Of course I’ll go away with you to your terrible house,” Greg said, his grin softening. “Of course I will.” 


It was as though London’s criminal elements, and those of the rest of the world as well, conspired over the next weeks to keep Mycroft sexually frustrated and incredibly off-balance, so that on the day he and Greg left for the estate he was nearly insensate with the need to touch the man - and would be unable to do so in any interesting way for a two-hour car journey. 

They also had their first… disagreement? Argument? Fight? As a… couple? Item? Partnership? Mycroft felt nauseated simply attempting to suss the terminology for it all, let alone navigating a situation in which Greg was annoyed and out of step with him.

It was over the matter of the car journey itself, and Greg’s insistence that he could drive. 

Mycroft couldn’t understand why Greg would want to drive when Mycroft employed a driver. 

Greg liked driving. He never got to drive outside of London. 

But, Mycroft pointed out - he thought quite reasonably - Greg had been working for nearly two weeks straight, and the back of the town car would afford him a chance to rest. 

Greg informed Mycroft that he didn’t want to rest, thanks. 

Mycroft sighed and said it wasn’t worth it to argue over such a frivolous thing. 

Greg glared at him and twirled his keys around his finger and said he agreed. 

Eventually, Mycroft got into the passenger seat of Greg’s BMW. He left his bags in the town car; it would have to follow them anyway. 

“I’m sorry,” Greg said, nearly half an hour of slow progress through Friday traffic later. “I should have just got in the bloody car with the chauffeur. Look at the state of this.” He waved toward the gridlock before them. “I’m a stubborn dickhead.”

“It was a long week,” Mycroft conceded. “I might have been a bit… heavy-handed. My apologies.”

Greg huffed and rolled his head against his seat, sliding Mycroft a sheepish glance. “Mostly I just wanted to be alone with you, and the privacy screen didn’t feel like alone enough.”

Mycroft swallowed. “Ah.”

“I had a vision, you see, when we planned this,” Greg continued. “Radio, open road, speeding out of the city with my… uhm.”

Mycroft felt unbearably slow. “Uhm, indeed.”


“Whatever you like.”

“Hm.” Greg tapped his fingers against the steering wheel. “I’m not sure. Let’s put a pin in it; I don’t think I can handle the what-do-we-call-each-other chat while I’m dealing with this level of sheer stupidity on the roads.” 

“You are a tense driver,” Mycroft remarked. “I’m surprised. You so rarely seem tense.”

Greg rolled his shoulders. “I know. It makes me crazy. I don’t know what I was thinking, wanting to drive. Christ.”

Mycroft snorted, trying not to laugh outright, but failing. He turned his face away, making unfortunate eye contact with the sour-faced child in the back seat of the next car over as he covered his mouth to try and stifle himself. 

“I know,” Greg said, his voice choked with humor. “So stupid. Sorry I was so grouchy.” 

Mycroft felt a pressure on his thigh and looked away from the baffled child staring at him still, to find Greg’s hand there. Out of instinct, Mycroft covered it with his own. 

“I’ve missed you terribly,” Mycroft said. “And I find I can’t bear to argue with you.” 

“Same,” Greg said. And then, for the first time, he added: “Sweetheart.” 

Mycroft could scarcely breathe, completely suffocated by happiness. 


Greg teased him mercilessly on the tour of the house. Mycroft was beginning to develop a Pavlovian response to the ‘you daft posh bastard’ tone. Greg’s little comments, rather than causing Mycroft to feel even more anxious about the oppressiveness of the house, put him at ease. There was such affection in the teasing. Mycroft couldn’t remember the last time anyone had spoken to him in that way. Had he ever been close to someone like this? He shied away from examining that thought, because of course he had, but very long ago.

Mycroft had forgotten that he could be close to someone in that way. It was nice to remember. 

They were both hungry by the time Mycroft’s driver arrived, delivered Mycroft’s luggage, and then disappeared again. Mycroft had called ahead for food to be made available, but things became delayed in the screening room, where Greg pushed Mycroft down into one of the overstuffed chairs and then lowered himself into his lap. 

“It’s completely ridiculous,” Greg murmured against Mycroft’s gasping mouth many long moments later, “that we haven’t been able to do anything in weeks.”

“We have had dinner on three separate occasions.”

“Yeah,” Greg scoffed even as he ground down against Mycroft with a shudder. “And no time for anything else, and then you were in bloody Indonesia or wherever for a week.” 

“India,” Mycroft corrected, amused. “I know. I’m sorry.” Feeling bold, he slipped a hand down the back of Greg’s chinos and squeezed. 

“Not your fault,” Greg gasped, then stopped talking in favor of sucking on Mycroft’s tongue. 

Mycroft couldn’t account for the time that elapsed between that and the moment Greg landed on his knees in front of him, yanking Mycroft’s trousers open and not bothering to pull them down before diving in and sucking Mycroft’s prick into his mouth. 

Mycroft shouted and brought his fist up to his mouth, pressing it against his lips and muffling the next sound that tried to burst out, his hips jerking against Greg’s hands, which mostly succeeded at holding him still. 

Greg groaned and pulled off, reaching up with one hand to pull Mycroft’s away from his face. “I want to hear,” he said, breathless, and back down he went. 

“God.” Mycroft put his hand to Greg’s head instead, wrecking his hair and tugging at it gently. 

“I like that,” Greg said, pulling back again to speak, then licked over the head of Mycroft’s cock in a swirling motion, dark eyes shining up at him in the dim light. “You can pull. Hard, if you like.”

Mycroft’s fingers tightened in reflex as Greg closed his eyes and took as much of him as he could into his mouth again. He looked—  “Beautiful,” Mycroft gasped, and pulled. Greg’s eyebrows drew together, a small line appearing between them as his lashes fluttered, and he moaned around his mouthful. “Christ… Greg…”

Greg’s eyes opened, slow and pleasure-drunk, and he deliberately locked his gaze with Mycroft’s before sliding his mouth down further, further, further, until his throat fluttered around the head of Mycroft’s cock and he had to pull back again. 

“You don’t—” Mycroft panted. “Have to—” 

Greg did it again and moaned into a low hum, the vibrations surrounding Mycroft as he took him deeper once more. 

Mycroft only twitched, but it was enough to trigger Greg’s gag reflex; he pulled off with a gasp, lips swollen and shining wet. 

“I’m gonna deep throat you eventually, swear to god,” he said, his voice like velvet over gravel. “Just need practice. Lots,” he licked a stripe up the shaft of Mycroft’s prick, kissed the flared edge of the head. “And lots,” his tongue swiped away a bead of pre-come. “Of practice.”

“You’re going to kill me,” Mycroft breathed. 

Greg grinned, then took him in his mouth again. Mycroft let his head fall against the back of his chair. 

It didn’t take long after that. Mycroft couldn’t keep his eyes away from Greg’s face for long, and every time he let his head tip back, caught his breath, and then gave in to the urge to look again, Greg had managed to make himself look somehow more debauched than the time before. He kept up the slow training of his own throat, fleeting pressure enclosing Mycroft over and over, and he made the most delicious sounds. Hums of satisfaction, groans and sighs and even whimpers, small choking noises and breathy moans whenever Mycroft’s fingers tugged at his hair. 

Mycroft gasped out a warning when he felt himself nearing the end, and Greg murmured: “Down my throat, gorgeous, come on,” before sucking him back down, and Mycroft was gone, helpless to do anything but obey. 

Mycroft had barely finished twitching, but was desperate to get his hands on Greg, so he shoved the other man back, down onto the floor, and slithered out of the chair to join him there. He tasted himself on Greg’s tongue as they kissed, and the thought of it sent an echo of arousal down his spine so electric that, were he a decade or two younger, he’d have been half-hard again. He was able to wrestle Greg’s trousers open and shove them down without pulling away from those perfect swollen lips. 

He intended to return the favor, but was only able to manage a few tight strokes of his hand before Greg released a strangled sound into Mycroft’s mouth and added his own hand, slick with saliva and sweat and probably some of Mycroft’s come. Their joined hands slid slickly together once, twice, and Greg came with an arch of his spine, the nails of his other hand digging into Mycroft’s scalp, his tongue fucking into Mycroft’s mouth. 

Mycroft didn't know how the entire house didn’t shake along with Greg.

“Fuck me, that was filthy,” Greg sighed as his body went pliant after the last of the aftershocks had gone and their kisses had slowed and turned languid. 

“Mmph,” Mycroft managed, and rolled to his back beside him. 

They lay panting, side by side, shirts untucked and trousers undone, and Mycroft realized they were both failing at fending off a shared fit of hysterical laughter. Like schoolboys who had got away with something. Mycroft tried to look at him and couldn’t, strangely embarrassed while also deeply satisfied and terribly amused at himself. At the both of them.

“I like your house,” Greg said eventually, the first to get himself under control. “It isn’t as terrible as you said.”

“Your presence improves it immeasurably,” Mycroft told him.

Greg rolled on top of him and kissed him, and it was late at night before their growling stomachs sent them to find the kitchen and their cold supper. 


In the morning, Mycroft woke later than was his habit even on a rare day off, disappointed to realize he was waking to an empty bed. He didn’t bother with his dressing gown, and left the bedroom in Greg’s vest, which he must have pulled on in lieu of searching for his own shirt the night before, and his own flannel pajama bottoms. The floors were frigid under his bare feet, but searching the house for Greg felt more important than finding his slippers under the bed. 

Mycroft felt incredible; well-rested and loose-limbed, comfortable in a way he never was. Even with cold feet and the chill of the unheated portions of the house pulling goosebumps to the surface of his skin. 

He found Greg in the first place he looked. It was the first room he’d shown him the night before: the conservatory. It was little more than a glorified sunroom, actually, and one of the few rooms in the house that Mycroft genuinely enjoyed being inside of. Night hadn’t been the best time to show it off, but the current hour - nearing eight in the morning - displayed it and the grounds beyond the wall of windows, in their full glory. 

The man inside was similarly perfect to look at in this light. 

Greg had made himself comfortable on the sofa, one of a few modern pieces Mycroft had moved into the house, his legs propped up along the cushions, with a blanket draped over them and another wrapped around his shoulders. He had taken Mycroft’s offer of the room as a good place to write in the early hours. 

Mycroft hesitated, not wanting to disturb him. He could go to the kitchen and come back with tea. It bothered him that he hadn’t thought to do that in the first place. He shifted onto his back foot, intending to slip away quietly, but a floorboard gave him away and Greg glanced up. 

He smiled. 

Mycroft couldn’t leave. He was drawn closer, silently, by that soft grin. Greg didn’t speak; he simply closed the laptop and set it aside before opening his arms to Mycroft, who surprised himself by crawling directly into them. 

Greg drew the blanket around both their shoulders. “You’re freezing,” he whispered, rubbing his hands over Mycroft’s back. 

“Apologies,” Mycroft said, unsure as to whether he should move away. 

Greg’s arms only tightened around him. “Daft posh git,” he mumbled, and pressed warm lips to Mycroft’s neck. “Don’t go, I’ll warm you up.”

After a while, Mycroft drew back enough to see Greg’s face, giving in to the impulse to touch, to cup the side of it in his hand. “Thank you for coming here with me,” he said quietly. “It is already the most enjoyable time I’ve spent here.”

Or anywhere else.

Greg leaned in and kissed him, chaste and sweet. “Mycroft,” he murmured. 


“Just sayin’ your name.”

Mycroft closed his eyes and pressed closer. “Once more?”

Greg kissed him again, a little firmer, then tipped him down to the sofa cushions, sighing, “Mycroft.”

It was a familiar feeling, keeping his mouth shut against words queued up by instinct and impulse. Mycroft was a verified expert in not saying things until the exact right moment. But the words clamoring behind his teeth now, and many times before in Greg’s presence or over the phone, simply didn’t - to Mycroft’s knowledge - have a prescribed right moment to be said. Mycroft, for once, was terrified of speaking. He couldn’t be sure if this was the time. Or perhaps last night would have been better. Possibly he ought to wait until tomorrow, see if an even better opportunity presented itself. 

He decided, ultimately, that regardless of how perfect the feeling of Greg’s body pressing him into the sofa cushions was, he couldn’t say I love you with unbrushed teeth, and kept his silence.