"I thought you were busy today. Since Lestrade had dragged John away for the evening." Sherlock complained the moment his brother stepped into the room.
Mycroft did not rise to the bait, instead making his way to the kitchen to prepare tea. The smell of the room made him cringe but he carefully moved aside the result of yet another experiment on the kitchen counter and busied himself with boiling the water and searching the drawers for tea leaves. "I wanted to spend some time with my lovely baby brother."
Sherlock snorted, "That's nice. Now tell me the real reason of your visit."
"I'd say interfering with your personal life but you wouldn't be happy with that answer." Mycroft replied offhandedly. "Tea?"
The consulting detective was lounging on the sofa, disheveled but restless, always fidgeting. Mycroft put a cup of tea on the coffee table before him and settled in the armchair. "I was wondering when you will start acting like a normal human being." He said conversationally.
After a pause and an exaggerated sigh, Sherlock replied. "I am going to go with it and ask, what do you mean, oh dear brother?"
Mycroft considered this for a moment, not rushing with his answer. "Well, seeing how you had already passed all the preceding phases in your relationship with John, I suggest it is time to introduce him to Mummy."
That attracted Sherlock's attention; the younger Holmes turned to him sharply, head snapping up and eyes seeking Mycroft's. "Why would you say that?" Sherlock frowned.
Mycroft's lips stretched in a lazy smile like he knew a secret that his brother didn't. "John is a wonderful choice of partner." He commented and Sherlock's frown deepened, mirroring his confusion. "After all, he tolerates you. And, what is the most remarkable, even likes you."
"Mycroft," there was a warning in his tone.
"What?" The man asked innocently, tilting his head to the side. He was having fun with this conversation. "I'm merely suggesting that Mummy should meet John. It'd go splendidly, I'm sure."
"Just like your husband's meeting with her?" Sherlock asked bitingly, aiming to offend but his brother only smiled.
"Why did you make that exact comparison?" Mycroft leaned forward in his seat. "Why compare John to Greg? Any special reason?"
"No reason." Sherlock denied with a frown. He really did not understand the importance of what he had just said. Fortunately for him, his big brother did.
As Sherlock fell back against the back of the sofa, frown still in place, lips pursed in concentration, as he tried to figure out the new mystery, Mycroft allowed himself to drift away in his own memories.
The first time Mycroft had brought Gregory to the Holmes household in the most prestigious area of London, to introduce him to Mummy, it didn't go as well as he had hoped.
His lover – fiancé he always reminded himself with a smile – had been promoted to Detective Inspector a couple of months prior so he was very busy at the Yard. That, Mycroft decided, was not a reason to be late to a meeting with his mother. Mycroft rarely tolerated tardiness but when it came to Mummy, even the smallest flaw in people around him was incriminating.
He was pacing the hall, waiting for his lover to arrive, under the tedious hum of Sherlock's commentary coming from the dining room where the younger brother was keeping Mummy company. Gregory was late. Mycroft was getting mad.
Finally the doorbell rang and Mycroft hurried to open the door. And there he was, slightly out of breath, holding a bouquet of flowers in one hand and patting his pockets in search for his tie in the other. Gregory hated wearing ties, so in the morning they settled on a compromise that he would not have to wear a tie to work but he would put it on for the meeting with Mummy.
Mycroft waved away the maid wordlessly and stepped to his lover who wouldn't stop apologizing. Mycroft shushed him and pecked him on the lips, the irritation forgotten, and put the tie he specifically prepared in advance around his neck.
"Is she mad?" Greg asked in a whisper while his eyes darted around the hall.
"No," Mycroft replied, tying the knot. "I am, though."
"I'm so sorry…"
"Don't worry. Now that you are here I'm not anymore."
And then he led his fiancé to the dining room to meet with his mother. Maybe it was just Mycroft's impression, that the meeting did not go well…What with Sherlock asking about Gregory's last case and his fiancé getting into a detailed description of a bloody murder. What with Sherlock's presence at all. And Mummy getting the impression that Gregory indulged himself in drinking too much since he was so nervous he practically gulped one glass of wine after another. By the end of the evening he actually got drunk – but with him it wasn't so obvious. Mycroft was sure that his brother noticed but chose to keep silent, for which Mycroft was eternally grateful. Mycroft considered even his own behavior a failure; he couldn't hide a wince when Mummy asked about their first meeting.
At the end of the evening Mycroft and Gregory bid their goodbye to Mummy, the woman made them promise that they'd drop in for another visit soon. As they walked down the street, Mycroft preferring to give his fiancé a chance to get some fresh air, the evening did not seem so bad anymore.
Gregory's hand was draped over his shoulder, half of the man's weight leaning on him.
"I love you so much," Gregory muttered in his ear. At that moment Mycroft couldn't regret anything that went bad that evening.
"Your implications have no basis."
"Really?" Mycroft's gaze was intense as he stared into his brother's eyes, waiting for the realization to drawn on him. Seconds passed and Sherlock's expression stayed impassive but something told Mycroft that it took a lot of effort for his brother not to show any emotion.
After minutes of stubborn silence on his brother's part, Mycroft decided to change tactics.
"Do you remember the day when I announced my engagement to Gregory?"
Sherlock rolled his eyes, "That is irrelevant to the topic. If this conversation even has one."
"My point is, do you remember what the first thing you said to me was?"
"That I wasn't going to be at your wedding."
Mycroft nodded. He did not expect any reaction other than rejection from his brother. He came prepared.
"Sherlock, Mummy hoped you could escort her to the wedding."
Sherlock stilled, the argument making him hesitate with his next line. Then he sneered. "It's not even a real wedding."
"True. Civil partnership if you please." Mycroft conceded. "But we prefer not to draw any line between civil partnership and marriage."
"Oh, are you going to be wed at a church?" Sherlock's sarcastic drawl was starting to grate on his nerves.
"Don't be ridiculous." Mycroft straightened in an attempt to keep his dignity as he said. "Please, Sherlock. This is very important to me."
Sherlock frowned but didn't reply. His brother's plea made him reconsider his immediate rejection. Then he muttered petulantly, "I don't have a date for the wedding." The fact that he had used the word 'wedding' was already a good sign. "So I can't come."
"That is not a valid reason."
"Yes it is."
"No it's not. Stop being childish. I can't wait until you meet a human being that can tolerate you. If such a person exists, that is…"
"So let's say that now, finally, you found the right person." Mycroft said. He made an attempt not to sound condescending, but judging by the scowl on his brother's face, he probably failed. "If you ever again get invited to a wedding, which is very unlikely but not absolutely impossible, John can be your date…Or you can have a wedding of your own." Mycroft smirked as Sherlock sputtered indignantly.
The wedding was planned to the smallest detail. Everything was going according to Mycroft's neat plan, scheduled to the smallest detail – a thing Gregory teased him immensely about but indulged his fiancé's need to organize everything nonetheless.
Mycroft specifically took care of what Gregory called 'your Problem' and dragged Sherlock to the wedding personally and took precautions to ensure that his brother stayed there. Everything was going brilliantly.
Mycroft was happy, a lovely wedding awaited him – a huge affair with a number of guests too high to even care – and most importantly a marriage to and a whole life with a wonderful man lay ahead of him. Nothing could ruin this for him. Nothing.
"You are prone to reckless behavior." Mycroft commented lightly.
"I'm not-" Sherlock started protesting but his brother's voice interjected. His words were harsh but the tone casual. This long ago had stopped being an issue.
"You remember how you ruined my wedding?"
Sherlock scowled. That was one fail that he had never verbally admitted to but everyone knew that he was aware of it. That was a mistake he grudgingly acknowledged. Which of course made him all the more irritable when he had no argument to defend his wounded pride.
"You assumed that since you were familiar with the theory of the process you'd be able to easily drive a car." Mycroft shrugged. "But first you had to steal that car because you suddenly had a stroke of genius literally minutes before I was to wed Gregory and it was essential for you to go and inform the authorities where they could find those stolen diamonds. Right at that particular moment."
"I already told you, the criminals might have decided to change their hiding place." Sherlock replied defensively.
"The same ones that were arrested the day prior?" The skepticism in his voice made the younger Holmes scowl.
"They had an accomplice. Someone who was not a part of their band."
"It has never been proved." Mycroft contradicted.
"Because the police are too stupid to see what's under their noses."
"Watch your tongue." Mycroft scolded, true anger resurfacing for the first time.
Sherlock grew quiet, if not understanding than at least accepting that he had crossed the line. His brother and John never liked it when he insulted the police; when he had nothing better to do Sherlock sometimes wondered if the reason for such touchy attitude was Lestrade personally or their sincere respect for the Yard.
"Also," Mycroft continued calmly as if there was no disturbance. "My driver was unimpressed that he was thrown out of his vehicle, rather rudely I have to note."
"There was no bodily harm."
"But at least you had enough sense to steal a car whose owner would not press charges against you." He made a meaningful pause. "Me."
"You," Sherlock repeated heavily. "Sometimes I wish it was someone else. Yes, charges can be a bother but at least I wouldn't have to deal with you."
"Sherlock, you are infinitely lucky to have me in your life." Mycroft replied with exasperation. "You just don't realize it." Before the younger Holmes could reply snidely and hurtfully, he added. "Also you are lucky to have Gregory on your side. And I don't even need to mention how lucky you are to have someone like John looking after you. The man is a miracle…willing to deal with you on a daily basis."
The icy glare he got as a reply was considerably softened by a slight upturn of his lips – Mycroft was sure Sherlock himself was not aware of that smile.
The day Mycroft so carefully planned was ruined in one second. He had only noticed the back of his brother's head disappear into the crowd as Sherlock ran away from the building, that ridiculous coat billowing behind. The sense of 'Something has gone horribly wrong' came even before he witnessed Sherlock open the door to his black car and throw out the driver.
With a strange calm that came from the realization that his perfect day was over, Mycroft watched Sherlock get behind the steering wheel, start the engine…and drive right into the wedding tent.
Oh well, Mycroft thought, I should have expected that…
"Which, once again, brings me to my point." Mycroft concluded.
"It's nice to know that this talk does have a point after all. I'd hate to waste my time on yet another meaningless conversation with you."
"Mummy would be very happy to finally meet John."
"Finally?" Sherlock frowned.
"She had already heard so much about him." Mycroft's smile was particularly sly and his voice laced with pleasantry. "And of course she knows about your attachment to him."
"My…attachment?" There was a note of faked carelessness as he asked.
"Sherlock, please." Mycroft said with an eye roll. He could play these stupid games practically forever but he did not know when Gregory would be bringing John home. Having this conversation with the doctor around would destroy the sole purpose of it. "Should I actually say it out loud?" God knows, Mycroft did not want to. Because underneath the confidence he showed his brother there was still doubt. What if he was wrong? It was so difficult sometimes – to predict Sherlock's emotional responses. Also he and Gregory operated under the assumption that Sherlock was aware of his feelings towards his flat mate. What if they were wrong?
"I'll tell you a story," Mycroft's tactic changed again, making another spin.
"Please, spare me…"
"You were in jail," Mycroft started talking as if there was no protest. "But I did get married by the end of that day."
"I am aware of that."
"Have you ever wondered, why?"
"Why would that ever interest me?"
"Have you ever wondered why, after carefully planning the event for months, when you ruined all that, I still threw all caution to the wind and got married in the evening?"
"Should I even bother saying that I don't care? Don't care, Mycroft."
"Because of Gregory," Mycroft replied, completely ignoring Sherlock. "Because I love him."
Mycroft felt strangely calm, sitting on a bench in a park, still dressed in his wedding suit, with Gregory pacing the park alley in front of him. The day was coming to an end, lovely spring air getting chilly and the darkness slowly falling onto London. After the accident Mycroft spent some time calming down Mummy and assuring her that 'Yes, Sherlock is fine. Just a bump on the head', 'No, you can't hit him, because that might cause him a concussion', 'Don't worry, he won't stay in jail for too long. Gregory is already working on it', 'Yes, we still can ask them to lock him up there for a couple of days', 'No, I'm fine with the fact that my wedding is ruined.'
Then, when he called for another car to drive her home and dealt with all the guests, he took a cab to the Yard. There, finally the anger resurfaced and he got slight satisfaction from convincing the policemen that he was perfectly fine with his brother staying in prison. He would have his PA get him out of there the next day. There he also met up with Gregory, who seemed angrier than Mycroft. Thus the restless pacing.
Mycroft distracted himself with watching his fiancé. Distressed as he was, Gregory was still handsome. Mycroft always found him attractive but on that day he was especially gorgeous; in his tailored suit, specially ordered for the occasion with a matching one for Mycroft, the tie a dark blue that accented the colour of his eyes. In the morning he was radiant with happiness; all smiles and smirks and grins and gentle loving kisses. Now he was angry and frustrated. The lines of his face were set in a frown and his hair stood on ends where he ran his hands through it, but he was still handsome.
Mycroft would have got up to stop his pacing and calm his fiancé down but he felt drained after all the events of that day, practically blank and emotionless. All he wanted to do was to go home and curl up in his bed; he doubted he'd be able to fall asleep but staring unseeingly at the wall sounded like a good enough idea.
Tiredly Mycroft picked up the flower that was pinned to his lapel – a gesture filled with finality. He did not know what was going to happen next – they probably would be alright – but at that moment it felt like something important had passed them by.
"Mycroft," Gregory had stopped his pacing and now stood in front of him. Mycroft lifted his gaze from the flower to meet his eyes. He looked calmer. "How are you feeling?" Gregory offered his hand and Mycroft took it, squeezing lightly.
"I'm fine." He said truthfully. Mycroft was no 'excited bride' as Sherlock had once mockingly called him. True, he waited for this day – for the moment when he would finally be able to call this wonderful man his husband; he anticipated it, but not more than Gregory. Why was everyone assuming that he would be devastated? He was sad, but not to the extreme. "How are you?"
"Well, I've been better," Gregory replied with a grimace. "And I really hate your brother right now."
"Haven't you always?"
"I did. But not as much."
They kept silent for a few moments and then Gregory sat on the bench by his side. He said, very quietly. "We can still do this, you know."
Mycroft glanced at him questioningly.
"I mean…" He took a deep breath. "I know that it was expected of us…expected of you. I understand. But I don't want this…this huge affair with so many guests that I can't remember their names…" Gregory's hand clutched his as he continued. "It could be just you and me. Right now. Because," he paused and turned so that he could see his lover's face. "That's what actually matters. You and me."
Mycroft couldn't contain his smile. It was late in the evening but if he pulled some strings, made a couple of calls…by the end of the day he'd already be married. So what if there would be no one to witness it? If Mummy would be furious when she finds out? Nag at him for the rest of his life that she wasn't present at her sons wedding…That did not matter; what was actually important…Yes, Gregory was right.
He leaned in to plant a gentle kiss on his lover's lips.
"So?" Gregory trailed off hopefully.
"So, yes." Mycroft kissed him again. "Let's get married."
Gregory smiled. "I love you so much."
It was so simple; no guests, no fancy decorations, no strangers congratulating them…Only Mycroft and Gregory. The only people who mattered. Them and their love.
Sherlock had no comments on his brother's story. Maybe he understood what a strong emotional response that memory caused in Mycroft, or possibly he was so bored he was rendered speechless.
Mycroft cleared his throat, suddenly feeling awkward after sharing that with his brother, and composed himself. He fished out his phone from the pocket of his jacket; it had vibrated once during his story indicating that he had one new text message. As expected, it was from Gregory, saying that his husband was bringing John back to 221B Baker Street.
"So, Sherlock, my dear brother," there was no mocking in his tone as he said it. "I sincerely hope that I managed to put my point across to you."
Sherlock did not reply, Sherlock did not even glance at him; his gaze was fixed on the window, eyes taking in the street below but pupils unfocused. He was contemplating and Mycroft would give a lot to know what thoughts were running through his mind. It was always so difficult to understand his little brother; there were times when Sherlock was practically transparent – he did not know how to hide his feelings well, but his thoughts – they were his most guarded possession.
With one last lingering look at his brother, Mycroft gathered his things, a coat and the ever present umbrella, and left, pausing on the doorstep. "Goodbye, Sherlock. Have a pleasant evening."
Leaving Sherlock behind, Mycroft knew that he had to give him enough time to think, but his own time had run out. He exited the building just in time to see a cab stop in front of 221B Baker Street and John stumble from it rather ungracefully.
"Evening, John." Mycroft greeted casually as they passed each other on the steps.
"Mycroft?" The man asked in confusion. "Eh…Hello."
Mycroft smiled at him and got into the cab in his place. Gregory, sprawled in the seat next to him, gave a surprised noise and then a pleased hum. "How did it go, dear?"
"As good as it can with my brother." Mycroft replied, sliding closer so that they were pressed together and relaxing, leaning slightly into Gregory's side. He gave the cabby the address and allowed himself to succumb to his exhaustion. It had been a difficult day even without convincing his brother that he was in love with his flat mate.
"Well, let's hope for the best."
"Because the worst will be an intervention from Mummy."
"That could be entertaining," Gregory chuckled.
Mycroft would have glared at him if it did not require lifting his head from Gregory's shoulder. Instead he gave the man's thigh a light smack. "It's always better to leave Mummy out of our personal lives. Or are you that eager for her guidance in our marriage? Because she will have a whole lot of helpful advice; starting with how we should decorate our flat to bring happiness to our home to what sexual positions will be the most satisfying."
"I didn't know your mother was into Feng Shui."
"That's what caught your attention?"
Gregory laughed, a warm pleasant sound that reverberated in his chest; it made Mycroft smile as he whispered. "I love you so much."