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All the Wild Summer

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Scotland Yard are circling the Kovalchuk case a little too closely. In years gone by, Mycroft might have monitored the situation for another week or two, allowed the investigating officer to discover the first hints of something much wider at work, then swept in to take the problem off their hands. The usual reaction to his shadowy intervention is poorly-concealed gratitude. Few ordinary British detectives want to wade into the murky waters of international politics; they're very happy to hand things over to the experts.

But the officer running the investigation into Kovalchuk's disappearance isn't showing signs of hesitance. Whoever they are, they're clearly willing to get their hands dirty. One of Mycroft's sources inside Scotland Yard confirms that a full-time Ukrainian translator has been acquired, and they're consulting a lawyer who specialises in international fraud cases.

While Mycroft admires the officer's dedication, they cannot be allowed to progress.

He makes a few discreet inquiries, ascertaining a few more details. Though the case is being formally overseen by an inspector, as procedure dictates, Mycroft learns to his surprise that it's actually in the hands of the officer's sergeant—one DS Lestrade, whose record marks him out as something of a rising star. He's twenty-seven, London-born and extremely well regarded by his supervisors. Though his sub-average school results suggest a reckless streak in his youth, the man's capacity for hard work is evident from even a brief skim of his file. It's likely he's been given Kovalchuk as a career opportunity.

Mycroft sets out from the Diogenes one morning with a belief this will all go very smoothly. Though Lestrade might not understand at first, he'll want to thank Mycroft on his knees when he does. The Kovalchuk disappearance is unsolvable. Those responsible are not petty criminals who leave things to chance, and they have ensured it will remain unsolvable. Lestrade's golden opportunity is rotten. 

En route in the car, Mycroft sources a few strings he might pull to ensure Lestrade's career is no worse for the loss. It's unfortunate the young officer's hard work has been for nothing; Mycroft believes in encouraging and rewarding diligence. There are particular doors he can open for Lestrade, useful connections he can forge. This needn't be a disappointing day. He sets a few things in motion before he even reaches Scotland Yard, shows his ID badge to the young lady at the desk and is granted an immediate phonecall with Lestrade's superintendent. This isn't the first time they have spoken; Mycroft has slipped more than a few cases from the Metropolitan Police's grasp over the years. The superintendent appreciates the situation at once, authorises Mycroft (though Mycroft hardly requires authorisation) to take whatever action is necessary, and offers her own office as a private space in which Lestrade can be debriefed. Mycroft thanks her—and confirms that yes, ten minutes from now will be ideal. 

By the time he reaches the office, a cup of earl grey tea and an empty chair await him. He makes himself at home, removing his coat and his gloves, and sends two more emails in benefit of Lestrade. Support the youth, he supposes, amused by this sudden inclination to philanthropy. He recalls the dizzy heights of twenty-seven; plenty of people paved his way. Now in his mid-forties, and quite definitely successful, it seems rather nice to pay the favour forwards.

As he takes a first sip from his earl grey, there comes a short knock at the door and it opens. Idly, Mycroft lifts his gaze.

Lord.

It takes considerable effort not to react. He wonders wildly why this was not mentioned in Lestrade's file, then asks himself why on earth the young man's professional supervisors would have felt any need to note down that he is a veritable feast for the eyes. Still, some warning would have been appreciated. Lestrade is frankly mouthwatering. He has the biggest and darkest pair of eyes that Mycroft has ever seen in a human face, as bright as diamonds and brimming over with character. His hair is dark and so thick that it can't help being naturally a little unruly. He enters the office without a smile, apparently prepared to fight his corner, then registers the unfamiliar figure sitting at the desk. His expression flashes with surprise, disarmed. He searches Mycroft's face.

"Sorry," Lestrade says warily, one hand still on the door. Even his accent goes straight to Mycroft's cock. He's incandescently lovely. "I was told to... is the superintendent around?"

Mycroft finishes his sip of tea, purely for time to compose himself. It's been at least a decade since he last had the dizzying experience of sexual attraction. He's struggling to recall any time in his life that he's felt it with such raging force. His eyes suddenly feel like they're starving, aching to consume every detail of that devilishly pretty face. It's wildly unsettling.

"I'm afraid it's me you're here to see," he says at last, setting aside his cup. "Please close the door and take a seat, sergeant."

Lestrade hesitates, his fingers twitching on the handle. Usually Mycroft would find such a display of inherent disobedience very tiresome, and it would prompt a sharp remark. It's a sign of the situation that he only admires the young man's sense of self.

"It concerns the Kovalchuk case," he says, and Lestrade's focus flares at once. This is your driving force, Mycroft realises. Your fixation. It is everything to you. "My name is Mycroft Holmes," he goes on. "I'm here on behalf of the British government. Please sit down."

 

*

 

Lestrade is not happy to be stood down. He's certainly not relieved or grateful for the rescue, as most of his predecessors have been. He asks questions that Mycroft cannot answer transparently, and he asks them with a doggedness that Mycroft has rarely encountered before, especially in one so young. Lestrade wants to know that justice is being done. He doesn't care for the gold star he might have gained on his record, nor for Mycroft's reassurances that his career shan't be impacted. He simply wants to know what became of Kovalchuk. He isn't interested in anything less.

To soothe him, Mycroft is forced to offer a number of veiled hints as to what might or might not have prompted Kovalchuk's sudden disappearance from British territory. He does so while trying to ignore the way the young man's eyes flash when he's annoyed, the way he holds Mycroft's gaze without fear, and how willingly he interrupts Mycroft's attempts at evasive answers. These conversations usually take ten minutes at the most. Lestrade has Mycroft answering to him for nearly an hour—and never once does it cross Mycroft's mind to simply leave. If he wanted, he could end the conversation and go through Lestrade's superiors to force compliance. He could even threaten Lestrade with consequences, if the case isn't released at once. There's a single reason he stays sitting at the desk long after his earl grey has gone cold, guiding Lestrade patiently from anger to acceptance.

It's for the chance to hear him speak a little longer.

By the time their interview concludes, Mycroft has almost forgotten the existence of the world outside the office. He fears he's not quite the same man as when he entered it. Lestrade has settled beautifully, now he's been furnished with enough answers to fill in the gaps for himself. He even shakes Mycroft's hand over the confidentiality agreement he signs.

The contact of their palms takes the breath from Mycroft's lungs.

"I appreciate this investigation was something of an opportunity for you," Mycroft tells him as he puts on his coat, just before they leave. "I'll make sure your superiors understand that you conducted it in an exemplary fashion. It's to everyone's advantage that young men of calibre find their way to the higher ranks of Scotland Yard."

Lestrade doesn't react for a moment, processing this behind those deep, dark eyes. He nods a little, uncertain, then glances at Mycroft's mouth.

"Mycroft, you said?"

Mycroft falters. He didn't expect the name to be remembered. Then, with everything he now knows of Lestrade, he supposes he shouldn't be surprised. 

"Ah—yes," he says, simply. "Though you're more than welcome to forget it."

Lestrade raises an eyebrow. He opens the door of the office, still watching Mycroft's eyes.

"S'alright," he says. "I'll hang onto it." He turns away, quite calmly, and without another word he takes his leave.

Mycroft watches him go. On the outside, he remains the face of the British government, standing in the superintendent's doorway with an expression of mild and professional admiration. Internally, he is a smoking wreck of his former self. Lestrade hasn't yet left his sight; Mycroft already aches to see him again.

This development will require some very serious thought.

 

*

 

It's six months before Mycroft finally comes to his conclusions. The first three were spent waiting for the memories and the cravings to fade, only occasionally revisiting the surveillance shots of Lestrade. The more fervently Mycroft attempts to forget, the more often Lestrade begins to appear in his dreams. Most of them jolt Mycroft awake in the small hours, panting, either covered in himself like a hormonal teenager or so restlessly aroused he can't breathe until he's attended to the problem. This infatuation with a boy seventeen years his junior is undignified—but it isn't waning.

He orders the first background check purely in hope of discovering some impediment. He almost hopes to find out that Lestrade is a foreign agent, known to Interpol, or wanted in multiple countries for crimes against humanity, purely so this insanity could reach an indisputable end.

Sadly, it reveals nothing reprehensible at all. Lestrade's father left a wife and five young children to their own devices when the eldest, Gregory, was aged just seven. Gregory seems to have engaged in some teenage misbehaviour and self-destruction to cope with his circumstances, but joined the ranks of the police at nineteen and has since found his place in this world. He has no concerning acquaintances or dubious connections. He calls his mother every Sunday and often transfers money to her. His internet records show that on two occasions in his early twenties, while suffering a stage of poorer finances, he googled the phrase 'sugar daddy london', scrolled a few pages through the results, but chose not to take the inquiry any further.

Mycroft sleeps very little on the night this comes to light.

Though it takes him six months to reach the decision, once it is made, there is no turning back.

 

*

 

The manner of the approach, Mycroft considers with some care. His instincts want Gregory brought to him by car one night, to his longheld territory at the Diogenes, where a conversation between gentlemen can be had beside the fire. He wavers on the idea for several days, turning it over in his mind, then realises at last which element will need to be changed. He won't yet dare to claim that he knows Lestrade, but he knows enough of him to avoid one mistake.

As the car eases to a stop outside Scotland Yard, Lestrade eyes it with immediate concern. He takes a single step back from the kerb, but doesn't lower his cigarette and lighter. The door to the backseat pushes open; the streetlight falls from above, illuminating its occupant.

As Lestrade's gaze falls on Mycroft, a first fear dissolves. Recognition opens the young man's expression. He stops lighting the cigarette, letting it fall a little; he searches Mycroft's face.

"Is this about Kovalchuk?" he asks.

Who the hell is Kovalchuk? It takes Mycroft a second to recall.

"It isn't," he says, his chest aching ever more at the man's dedication to his duty. "That matter is very much concluded."

Lestrade doesn't move. His wary expression asks what his mouth doesn't say, his forehead slightly creased, his shoulders tense. Then what is it about?

Willing his pulse to calm, Mycroft eases across to the other seat, making room.

"Perhaps you'd like a lift," he says.

A shadow of understanding flickers through Lestrade's eyes. "Where to?" he asks.

Mycroft simply waits.

Lestrade pockets his lighter and the unlit cigarette. He takes one last glance at Scotland Yard, as if questioning whether this is truly happening, then without a word he gets into the car. He shuts the door behind him. The automatic locks deploy. They set off.

"They're talking about starting to train me for DI," Lestrade says, watching the passing streets through the tinted windows. He shakes his head. "M'already the youngest sergeant they've got. All my team are taking the piss. Is this because of you?"

The least of the things I can do for you. The smallest of the blessings I could bring.

"They wouldn't consider it if you weren't capable," Mycroft says, faintly impressed by his own composure. He's yearned for this opportunity for months. The trace of smoke in the young man's scent raises an inferno in his stomach; he wants to drink that taste. He wants to feel Lestrade pant beneath his kiss. "We're all afforded certain opportunities in life. The trick to success is the willingness to take them."

Lestrade huffs, unconvinced. There comes a pause in the quiet.

"Where are we going?" he asks. He inclines his head along the seat towards Mycroft, his eyes as deep as oceans.

Mycroft steadies himself with a breath.

"I imagine you've had a long week," he remarks, "finishing this close to nine on a Friday. I thought you might like a drink."

A suspicion grows in Lestrade's gaze. He glances at Mycroft's lips, unspeaking, and takes a second to reply. Whatever understanding he's just reached, it doesn't seem to alarm him.

"Nice of you," he says at last.

Mm. "Have you eaten?" Mycroft asks.

Lestrade's eyes widen. "I had a bag of crisps from the vending machine at half eleven," he says. "Otherwise it's just been coffee. Why? Are you... buying me dinner?"

It seems I am.

"I can hardly let you drink on an empty stomach," Mycroft says.

The smallest, wariest smile lifts the corner of Lestrade's mouth. "Alright," he says.

 

*

 

The dustier atmosphere of the Diogenes won't serve any longer, not for dinner. Mycroft sends a discreet text or two as they drive, calls in a small favour, and asks his driver to take them to a French restaurant of his acquaintance in South Kensington. The maître d' shows them both to a quiet corner table, candlelit, and takes their coats.

Lestrade says very little until they've ordered and been left to themselves. He seems quietly amused by this sudden change in his circumstances, admiring his surroundings without comment, drinking his wine as if suspecting it might be taken off him soon. He eyes Mycroft brightly through the candlelight, studying the shapes of his face.

"Security services?" he guesses. "Something like that?"

Mycroft smiles, enjoying his forthrightness. "Something like that," he confirms. He wants to rest his chin upon one hand and simply gaze, soak in the sight of those soft, swollen pupils. You must know why you're here, he thinks. You must realise. "There are things I can't answer, I'm afraid. I'll try to keep them to a minimum."

"S'alright," Lestrade says, his eyes glittering. "I'll just wait 'til you're drunk and ask you then."

Something groans very softly in the depths of Mycroft's soul. "Perhaps I should make you sign the confidentiality agreement now," he says, "rather than later. It might save me some trouble down the road."

Lestrade's sly smile breaks into a grin. "Why d'you assume I'm trouble?" he asks. "What's given you that idea?"

Mycroft shifts in his chair, unsurprised to be kindling an erection already. 

"I'm afraid you have that look about you," he remarks.

Lestrade doesn't miss a beat. "And yet you've brought me out for dinner," he says. He takes a knowing drink of wine, eyeing Mycroft over the rim.

You utter scamp. Mycroft declines to comment, choosing instead to simply smirk, watching Lestrade through the candlelight. He doesn't understand how recklessly charming he is, Mycroft thinks. He can't possibly have any notion.

"Don't know much about you except your name," Lestrade says, smiling. "You're, erm... forties?"

"Is that a problem?" Mycroft asks.

Lestrade's smile grows. "No," he says. He drinks, holding something back for a moment. It seems to slip out regardless. "Kinda like older men. It's... a bit of a thing for me."

"Mm?" Mycroft's entire body is aching. His breath, his blood, his bones are aching. "I hope I'm not encroaching on someone's territory."

Lestrade's eyes glitter wildly, delighted by the phrasing. "No," he murmurs. "No, there's... you're not gonna get beaten up. M'single." He glances at Mycroft's mouth, watching him rub underneath it. "Are you?"

Mycroft hasn't kept any kind of personal connection for many, many years. He might even have been Gregory's age when he last had a semi-official consort. There have been encounters since, wholly physical and often underwhelming, but fostering and maintaining a relationship has been the last thing on his mind. Cravings come and go; his work dominates his life.

Until now.

Every cell in his body seems to sing a single song, over and over, no need for any other. I want you. He can't express it in any other words. For six months, his soul has ached for this sight. Now he has it, he aches to talk, to listen, to coax Gregory closer and to touch him, hold him, taste him, claim him, spoil him and please him. I want you to be mine in every possible way, he almost murmurs. He's no nearer to understanding it than he was six months ago, but the force of the pleasure it brings him is enough to overpower his mind. You are infinitely charming and I would like you to lay ruin to my world.

He smiles, savouring this moment of change. So often in life, they've passed him by unnoticed.

"I'm unattached," he says. "My work occupies a great deal of my time, but... I've lately developed a craving for company." 

Your company.

Gregory's eyes shine like stars. "Must be tricky to relax," he says. "Doing whatever it is you do. High-powered stuff. You must find it hard to switch off."

"Mm." In truth, Mycroft hasn't noticed any difficulty in relaxing. This is possibly because he never tries. Perhaps that is about to change. "I imagine your chosen career comes with challenges as well."

With a faint smile, Gregory looks down into his wine.

"Some days," he admits. "Pay's not great, 'specially for London. I love doing it, though. I didn't think I'd ever really find something that matters to me, but... m'happy. Plenty of people aren't." 

He reaches up to rub the side of his neck, dark eyes lifting into Mycroft's.

"Everyone told me I had a lucky escape with Kovalchuk," he says. "People reckon DI Taversey palmed it off onto me. He must've realised early on it was a mess and he'd never get anywhere with it, so... figured I could take the fall, seeing as I'd been pestering him to let me lead something. Teach me to be careful what I wish for." 

Gregory hesitates.

"I probably owe you one," he says.

Moved, not certain why, Mycroft offers a smile.

"I'm sorry I had to interrupt your efforts to prove him wrong," he says. "I'm afraid you were making an excellent job of it. You were in danger of causing me a lengthy headache."

Greg smirks, then bites the corner of his lip. "Looks like I am trouble."

Mm. Aren't you just?

 

*

 

They talk and eat; they drink. Each time their glasses empty, the waiter refills them. By the time dessert arrives, a pink flush has arisen in Gregory's cheeks and he's grinning at almost every word Mycroft says. He's rumpled his hair into disarray, chatting easily and effortlessly about everything that comes to mind. Though the candles are burning low, the evening feels as if it's barely begun. 

After a final coffee, Gregory excuses himself to the bathroom. Mycroft discreetly takes care of the bill, in full and with a tip, before anything else can even be suggested. He's waiting with their coats as a smiling Gregory reappears; exiting the restaurant, he places a hand on Gregory's back. 

Gregory leans into him a little, glancing up rather fondly—then grins as a black car cruises to a halt by the pavement.

"Like by magic," he murmurs. The driver gets out, then opens the backseat for them both. "Does it ever lose its novelty?"

Tell me a year from now. 

"Not entirely," Mycroft says, and helps him with a hand into the car.

Settled in the back, Gregory doesn't quite occupy his seat. He lingers somewhere rather nearer the middle, casually. As Mycroft closes the car door, sitting back, Gregory's design is revealed. He tucks into Mycroft's side, quietly and simply, as if this has taken place a thousand times before. His stomach tightening, Mycroft joins the pretense. He lays an arm around Gregory's shoulders, settling, and trails the tips of his fingers through the soft, wild tufts of his hair.

The driver takes his seat, shutting the door. After a few seconds with the engine still dormant, Mycroft realises the cause of the delay. He hasn't specified a destination; his driver knows it's safer to wait for one than to intrude by asking.

"Home please, Wilson," Mycroft says.

The engine starts. They pull away from the kerb, cruising on their way through the darkened Kensington streets.

Gregory stirs. He lifts his head, leaning close to Mycroft's ear.

"I'm coming too, am I?" he asks. His voice is soft, an auditory vision of innocence, underlaid with full awareness of what's unfolding. It spills a shiver of delight down Mycroft's back. 

"I'm afraid you are," he murmurs, inclining his head close to Gregory's for privacy. He curls his fingers through the young man's hair. "Unless you'd rather not, of course. This would be the opportune moment to tell me."

Gregory turns into his casual hold, rather shyly. He rests an arm around Mycroft's waist, forming far more of a cuddle, and draws a slow breath of Mycroft's scent.

"Take me home," he mumbles. Mycroft's heart strains, fighting to free itself from his chest. Gregory shifts, pressing a whisper of a kiss to Mycroft's earlobe. "I get a bit horny when I'm drunk. Just to warn you. Maybe a little more than a bit."

"Do you indeed?" Mycroft says, keeping one eye on the rear view mirror. His own expression stays clean and perfectly calm as Gregory trails a gentle lick against his earlobe. His pulse riots; his fingers flex on Gregory's shoulder. "Consider me warned."

Gregory makes a soft little sound in his ear, a half-laugh which raises every hair on Mycroft's body. "I don't care what we do," he murmurs. "Just do it 'til I howl."

Mycroft inhales in absolute silence. He guides Gregory's head to rest on his shoulder, presses a single kiss to its crown and strokes through his hair, rumpling the dark strands with kindling anticipation. Their coolness is soothing; it settles his pulse.

"Behave," he warns softly. Gregory nestles into him. "Until we are home."

 

*

 

He likes to kiss. He's playful and shy all at once, flushing wildly as Mycroft's hands first slip beneath his clothing, always eager for sounds and for eye contact. He likes slow music beside the bed; he wants to be in Mycroft's lap.

If Mycroft's ever seen a sight to rival this one, he doesn't care to remember it. Slim-hipped and impossibly pretty, Gregory bites into his own lip with a look of foggy concentration, rocking in idle rhythm on Mycroft's cock. He's braced his hands on Mycroft's shoulders for balance, with Mycroft's hold around his waist for support. By Gregory's design, Mycroft barely needs to move. Everything is perfectly out of his control. Gregory watches him lie back and enjoy it, gazing, pink-cheeked and young, trembling faintly with each of Mycroft's restless breaths. 

He leans close with a shiver, cupping Mycroft's jaw. They kiss slowly, a little filthily, flashes of tongue and gasps and little nips.

"Y-yeah?" Gregory breathes, his voice soft, still grinding.

Mycroft can't stifle a thickened groan. His hands flex at Gregory's waist and guide in motion with the music. Slow, deep. Like this. Gregory almost whimpers against his mouth. He takes up the rhythm at once, just perfectly, lowering himself over and over for Mycroft's pleasure. Mycroft's soul seems to ignite. Good boy, he wants to breathe, perfect, though Gregory's needy kiss makes words impossible. He tries to show Gregory with his tongue instead. He drinks the young man's pitched and heartfelt moans, panting in response. On each beat he lifts his hips just a little, just for the sensation of pushing up into slick and tight and hugging human warmth, just to feel Gregory tremble and gasp against his mouth. He's supremely beautiful. He's vocal, softly so, and it's killing Mycroft. Nothing is held back. Everything is offered, everything shared. He cradles Mycroft's face with affection as they fuck, and if he doesn't manage to come with Mycroft inside him, it's quite alright. Mycroft already plans to lay him down and lick his cock until he sobs. 

If sex had felt like this when he was young, Mycroft might have indulged himself more often.

As it is, he's entirely content to have waited.

Gregory stirs on top of him, shivering, and he swallows as Mycroft strokes both hands up his chest. Mycroft rasps the young man's nipples gently with his thumbs, teasing them. It prompts a startled moan and the most beautiful little squirm, a whisper of, "Oh my god," a few seconds of desperate and almost panicked grinding. Gregory's teeth dig into his lip again.

"Can you fuck me on my back?" he begs. His expression seems to break. "H-hard?"

Mycroft coaxes him to lie with his hips at the edge of the bed. One foot on the floor, one knee on the mattress, he can give the deep and rhythmic thrusts which Gregory suddenly seems to need more than oxygen. The young man almost writhes underneath him, panting fit to burst, hands locked around Mycroft's upper arms and his face contorted. His head drops back against the covers. With each new thrust, Mycroft watches him flush darker as the desperation builds, watches the sound gathering in Gregory's throat, the young man's cock rigid and dripping and wholly ignored in between them. He wants Mycroft's more. 

The first cry begins as a whimper. It snags in Gregory's throat, broken, then raises in volume as it escapes him. A floodgate seems to open. Gregory breathes deep, shaking, drops his head back and then he's calling, pleading, shouting Mycroft's name and begging at pitch to be fucked. The words blur into animal moans and cries as Mycroft obliges. If the neighbours hear, then so be it. What's important is that Gregory makes all the noise he wishes, all the noise he needs to. 

His climax finally breaks with just a few frantic tugs of his cock. He whimpers for Mycroft's permission to do it first, so wild with the fucking he's now getting that he's panting almost too much to speak. As he starts to come, it's with one long and loud and heartfelt howl, writhing on Mycroft's cock in utter ecstasy. He stripes between their stomachs, as high as Mycroft's chest, and grips Mycroft's biceps hard enough to cut the circulation. His beautiful face floods with relief, his dark eyes glittering, barely open. They gaze up at Mycroft as Gregory struggles to breathe, filmed with pretty sweat, overwhelmed.

Mycroft never quite understood human love until this moment. He's been unable to appreciate why anyone would choose to lay down their life for another, extinguish their existence for the sake of someone else. He can't think of anything he'd ever want more than to continue being alive.

Now he finds himself looking down, watching with a pounding heart as Gregory gives a tired stir, a little moan, fingers flexing on his arms. 

He goes to withdraw, to let Gregory rest—but his lover tightens and wraps Mycroft back in with his legs, panting.

"Don't stop," he whispers. He gathers Mycroft close, swallowing, pulling him down onto the bed. "Don't stop," he breathes again in Mycroft's ear, kissing his cheek, fingers brushing with tenderness through Mycroft's hair. "M'alright. Keep going."

"Are you certain?" Mycroft asks, his stomach tightening.

Gregory smiles, gently nods. "Want you to," he whispers, and there's a deep and softened kiss. Gregory's arms encircle Mycroft's back. "Slow, maybe?" he murmurs. He bites his lip, black eyes bright in the glow of the lamp. "Want to feel you come."

God help me. 

Mycroft Holmes is lost. If he wasn't as soon as he laid eyes on Gregory, he is now. There will be no end to this. 

His heart has made its wishes known.

"In your lap again?" Gregory whispers, gently kissing his mouth. "You seemed to like that. Lie down and I'll ride you, love. I don't want to sleep."

 

*

 

They're in the shower at one AM, post-coital, half-asleep and kissing as they wash each other. Some of Mycroft's more restless bites have left souvenirs around Gregory's neck and shoulders. They're impossibly pretty, rose pink against his skin, and he hums with enjoyment as Mycroft kisses them.

"Can I see you again?" he says. His fingers curl in Mycroft's hair. "I know I'm meant to wait until the morning. Play it cool. I just... holy shit, you're really something."

Mycroft's throat tightens a little around the words. He nuzzles into Gregory's neck. 

"I'd like to keep you," he murmurs. Gregory inhales in his arms, relieved. "I'd like to take care of you, Gregory. Ease your way in life. You enchant me and I'd like to make you happy."

Gregory hesitates, still stroking through the back of his hair. 

Mycroft gently broaches the subject. "I'm... financially very comfortable," he says. "You're undercompensated. If I can redress that at all, I'd be pleased to."

After a moment more of silence, Gregory nervously kisses his cheek. "I'm not... y'know," he says. "For hire. It's not like that."

"Not at all," Mycroft says, his tone soft. "All I mean is that I like to spoil. Is that alright?"

The brief tension seems to ease from Gregory's shoulders. He settles in Mycroft's hold again, laying another kiss upon his cheek. 

"I won't stop you," he says. Mycroft smiles, trailing a tender hand down his back. Gregory shivers. "God, you're... y-you're making me want to fuck again. You're so gentle. Can I stay 'til morning?"

Something purrs, low in Mycroft's stomach—something very glad to be awake at last. 

"I wouldn't dream of letting you leave," he says.

 

*

 

They plan at first to meet weekly. Very soon it's twice weekly, then three times—then Gregory spends more nights in Mycroft's bed than his own. The news doesn't take long to circulate amongst Mycroft's colleagues. He's well aware what manner of sordid things are being assumed about the relationship. 

But the truth is that Gregory seeks Mycroft's company just as fervently as Mycroft seeks his. Gregory's sex drive seems frankly inexhaustible. He likes to go for dinner first, talk and flirt in a warm bath of candlelight, playing with Mycroft's hands across the table. Two glasses of wine are usually enough to have him sneaking into Mycroft's lap as they drive home. Even during difficult weeks at Scotland Yard, he wants Mycroft's time and his company. This is not a transactional connection.

After a few months, Mycroft is discreetly advised by his superiors to have Gregory sign some rather weighty legal documents. On condition of additional security measures for his lover, Mycroft agrees to seek Gregory's feelings on the matter. 

Gregory signs the papers with amusement at Mycroft's desk in the Diogenes, a borrowed fountain pen loose in his grip.

"Can I come along to your fancy functions now?" he asks between pages, glancing up with a mischievous glint. "Meet all the diplomats and politicians? Or is that a bit too scandalous?"

Slowly Mycroft smiles, and lays a kiss upon his forehead.

 

*

 

Gregory's first outing is at the wedding reception of a minor royal. ("You're not fucking around, are you?" Gregory remarked, grinning ear to ear when Mycroft showed him the invite. "Will I need a posh suit?") He behaves beautifully from start to finish, staying close to Mycroft's side for comfort, and charms absolutely everyone who comes to have a look at him. It rather helps that he's easily the most attractive person in the room. He turns heads from the instant he arrives, gloriously handsome in his tuxedo, and it's in his nature to smile and put people at ease. He's happy to talk about his work; he does so with professionalism and maturity. 

By the end of the night, Mycroft has a feeling that certain rumours about Gregory have been thoroughly laid to rest. 

The celebrations begin to wind to a dignified end. The last hour is spent with the bride's father in the drawing room, reminiscing old glories over whiskey, with Gregory settled comfortably at Mycroft's side on the couch. As a close friend of the family, Mycroft has been invited to stay overnight. Gregory, naturally, has been invited too.

At an early stage in the proceedings, Mycroft slides a pillow from the top of the bed and coaxes Gregory to bite down on it. These ancient family seats were not built with soundproofing in mind. Gregory's helpless tendency to be vocal, especially after alcohol, must be managed with some care on this occasion.

But in keeping with the rest of the night, he does wonderfully for Mycroft—hard panting, a few strangled whimpers when Mycroft first finds his prostate, but little other sound. His restlessness is taken out on the pillow. He twists it in his grasp, digs his teeth into the fabric and nuzzles his face deep when Mycroft starts to fuck him properly. He comes with a beautiful and silent howl, flooding across the hand towel laid in readiness beneath him.

In his afterglow he's cuddly, puppyish and shy.

"Did I do alright today?" he asks, gazing up from the pillows. His eyes shine like the night sky outside.

Mycroft strokes back a tuft of his hair. "I have never enjoyed a function so much in all my career," he says. 

Gregory beams, squirming happily beneath the sheets. 

"I am exceptionally proud of you," Mycroft murmurs. He kisses Gregory's forehead, brushing his fingertips across his lover's cheek. "Did you enjoy the evening?"

"Y-yeah. It was really nice to be with you. Y'know... with you. Like it's just..." Gregory bites the corner of his lip, drawing a breath. "Just one of those things," he says, and he leans up to kiss Mycroft's mouth. "Kinda like people knowing I'm yours."

"I like it, too." God help me, Mycroft thinks as they kiss, his heart straining. How soon can I present you with a ring? "It's important to me that people realise we're together," Mycroft murmurs. He curls a finger beneath Gregory's chin. "I want it to be understood that you're... very much my partner, not my plaything. That I'm not in the least bit ashamed of you."

Gregory's eyes sparkle. "M'your plaything sometimes," he teases, and Mycroft smirks against his lips. They kiss, slow and soft; Gregory hums as they part. "Plaything in private," he murmurs.

"Behind closed doors," Mycroft agrees. He holds the sentiment in his mouth for a moment, wondering if the time is right. What better time? he thinks. "In public, my pride and joy."

Gregory's mouth opens a little. His gaze softens, moved. He searches Mycroft's eyes.

"That's really sweet," he says. He hesitates, thinking something, then draws a nervous breath. "I, erm... this is... you and me, it's... I don't really know what I'd without this. I don't know if I'd cope, going back to how things were. Not having you in my life would just be..." 

He holds Mycroft's gaze, even as he swallows.

"I-I'd hate that," he whispers. "I'd really fucking hate that. You're amazing and I'm... I'm pretty desperately in love with you. I hope that's not too much."

Mycroft will replay this conversation in his mind for the rest of his days. They're words he never expected to hear. Such depth of affection is a gift he never thought he'd receive. Gregory awaits his reaction, quietly nervous, his dark eyes round and soft with hope.

Mycroft leans in close. He kisses Gregory softly, fiercely, cupping his face as carefully as he'd hold an endangered songbird.

"I cherish you," he breathes. Gregory lets out some small noise, trembling. "I believe I've loved you since first I saw you. What has caused this is beyond my understanding. But I hope it's never again beyond my reach."

"H-Holy shit." Gregory reaches up, desperately pulling him closer. "Myc—" 

 

*

 

The next day, as they're driven back to London, Mycroft makes a few inquiries by email as Gregory sleeps against his shoulder. He receives an answer to his question within a matter of minutes. 

The process is simple, he's assured. Several forms would need to be signed by them both, but the security arrangements actually become more straightforward when an intimate partner occupies the same residence. Detective Sergeant Lestrade would be added formally to Mycroft's file; he would be afforded the same protections as any spouse. For purposes of security, no difference is seen between a wedded partner and an unwedded one. The ring can come in its own time; all the structures will already be in place.

Smiling, Mycroft responds that he'd like to request the paperwork. He kisses Gregory's head as he sends off the email, then slips his phone away inside his waistcoat, wondering what the future will bring them.

Gregory stirs, humming Mycroft's name in his sleep.