Chapter 1: Gregory
The pub was noisy and full of people on Friday evening. John absolutely loved it. The chatter of conversation all around him, strangers meeting and breaking up, a faint smell of alcohol and a mix of other people's colognes; all those things that usually made Sherlock cringe and John smile.
John Watson was a sociable man; he liked the crowd and once in a while he needed to become a part of that crowd, to spend an evening with his friends in a pub. He loved Sherlock's company, oh well he loved Sherlock, but John's poor soul and mind needed a rest from his flat mate's genius.
Greg had an evening off; a rare occasion as he usually was either busy at work or, as he claimed, had to rush home. John didn't question the man about his family situation. This time though the DI had been free and they decided that a trip to the pub was absolutely necessary; well more like John insisted that he needed a drink after Sherlock's latest experiment at their flat.
"He's just…" John looked up from his pint, searching for the right word. He settled for, "Impossible."
Greg snorted; no doubt he'd have used a stronger word.
"Well, living with him is fun and all…"
"Fun in the same way murders are fun?" Greg asked sarcastically. "Did I miss something or was that head in the fridge particularly funny?"
"What? No! People dying is not fun. Don't pretend like you don't understand what I'm talking about, Greg." He sounded petulant and took a sip from his pint. He heard the other man chuckle and then laugh outright. John stared at the tabletop sullenly.
After calming down he mumbled, "You have no idea how hellish it could be."
"Excuse me?" Greg exclaimed, suddenly serious and unnecessary scandalized.
"Sherlock is incorrigible. He might be a genius. He is a genius." John snorted. His fingers encircled the glass in his hand, absorbing the coldness of the perspiration gathered on the side. "But living with him…is awful. Simply awful."
"Well yeah," Greg's agreement came as unexpected. Though it were his next words that actually surprised John. "But you wouldn't trade it for the world."
John didn't even need to think before agreeing. No matter how much he complained he'd never leave 221B, because it was his home now; it was where he was the happiest. Exhausting nights and restless days during Sherlock's investigations, long days watching TV with Mrs. Hudson when the consulting detective was between cases. It was where Sherlock Holmes was. John would never leave that place.
That did not mean that he could not complain about the consulting detective's terrible habits though, "It's pure hell – living with a Holmes."
"Yes it is," Greg agreed with more confidence than John was expecting; it struck him as odd.
"How would you know?" John frowned. Greg's incredulous stare gave John a suspicion that he was missing something important here. Something big. "Why are you looking at me like that?"
"He didn't tell you?" Greg asked in amusement. Laughter glinted in his hazel eyes, surprised and slightly teasing.
Eyes narrowed, John stared back at him, dozens of thoughts running through his mind. How would Gregory Lestrade know what it was like, living with Sherlock Holmes? A dark unpleasant suspicion uncurled in his mind, his frown deepening and hand clenching around the glass. Was Lestrade…and Sherlock…Were they?
"Wipe that frown from your face," Greg said with a throaty laugh. "I don't know what you were thinking in that head of yours but stop looking so murderous. Really."
"Sorry," John said, averting his gaze.
"So, Sherlock didn't tell you, huh? Don't know why I am surprised though…"
"Didn't tell me what?" His patience was wearing thin and Greg only seemed to enjoy it.
Greg kept silent, a grin stretching his face as he kept a dramatic pause while John's anticipation built and curiosity reached its peak. Then with a flourish he waved his left hand and proclaimed, "I'm married to a Holmes."
All the thoughts running through John's head came to an immediate stop. "What?" He couldn't understand the meaning of that.
Greg sighed, his hand falling flat to the table, and said very slowly as if explaining something to a child. "I am married to Mycroft. Mycroft Holmes. I'm sure you've met him sometime." The last part he added sarcastically.
"What?" John repeated unintelligently. "You," he waved his hand. "And Mycroft. Married!"
"Yes we are," Greg confirmed happily. "Six years this spring actually."
"And Sherlock didn't even think to mention it." John wondered. "I mean he gives away so much unnecessary information every day and yet he didn't think it would be nice to tell me that our friend is married to his brother."
"That's Sherlock to you." Greg said before drinking the last drops of his drink. "I'll go get another."
While Greg left to the bar, John processed the new piece of information. Detective Inspector Gregory Lestrade and the man from the government, Mycroft Holmes. Two people so different that before this moment John doubted that they'd ever met. But then why would Greg tolerate Sherlock if not for Mycroft's sake? That actually made sense. John himself sometimes wondered why he still had not punched his flat mate in the face. Probably because it'd be a shame to ruin such a handsome face…Yes, that must be the reason.
A thud of glass being put on the tabletop brought John back from his thoughts. Greg retook his place across the table. "Don't think about it too hard." He advised.
"I'm not…I am not…" John repeated slowly. He smiled. "I'd say congratulations, but I'm six years late…"
"Don't let it bother you." Greg shook his head with a smile. "You can congratulate me any time; I'm still a happily married man."
"That's nice." It seemed like a shallow thing to say, but John meant it and hoped that his friend understood. Then he muttered. "But Sherlock doesn't even know your name."
"Well, he does now."
"Yeah, he found out about a week ago. Didn't he bother to learn it when you were marrying his brother?"
"He wasn't at the wedding."
"Mycroft didn't invite him?" John could imagine that happening, but still he believed that Mycroft would want his younger brother at his wedding at least for the sake of tradition. Sherlock was family after all.
"Nah," Greg shook his head. "Mycroft invited him, but Sherlock was locked up in jail that day."
"You put him there?" John asked with a frown.
"I did. But it wasn't the way you think it was."
The doctor didn't even need to voice his doubt.
"Really." Greg nodded his head emphatically. "John, I want you to understand, my relationship with Mycroft always was very complicated. And Sherlock is one of the main reasons."
"I can imagine that." John's tone was soothing. "And I won't even blame you for getting Sherlock out of the way on your wedding day."
"Haha…the most shocking part is that I didn't. He got into jail all by himself."
"Well, he is the great Sherlock Holmes." The statement was so heavy with sarcasm that they both laughed.
"I told you…" Greg started but fell silent. "I told you that my relationship with Mycroft wasn't easy…Since the day we met."
"When was that?"
"That," Greg's eyes became unfocused as he remembered. "Was probably twelve years ago. Mycroft remembers the exact date. But only because he has records of everything."
"Have you been together ever since?"
"No, not at all." Greg laughed softly, fondly.
John looked at him, a small smile on his face and a warm glint in his eyes at the memory of his beloved and asked, "How did that happen?"
Greg had just become a Sergeant. Elation and accomplishment, those were the feelings of his new life. This, this was a moment when he finally felt strong and independent, following his path in life and making his own career despite what his family expected of him.
He was meeting his friends in the evening and had a couple of hours to spare until then. Going to a café and reading a book seemed like a nice idea, if a little too tame for him but, hey even he needed some peaceful time in his life. Communication with his friends would surely be tiring, involve a lot of drinking and maybe even some drunken singing. Greg loved his mates.
So a café it should be before he'd have to meet up with them.
There was one nice place not far away from the Yard and he settled there with his book.
When Greg was finishing his cup of coffee he tore his eyes from the book to look around at the other occupants of the café. His gaze fell on a young man sitting two tables from him, nose buried in his own book. He was quite handsome if not in a traditional way, his whole frame thin and bony but attractive in his expensive suit, features sharp, skin pale and eyes grey blue – such an aristocratic look, sophisticated and elegant. He was also giving away the cold air of indifference and arrogance. Greg smiled as he watched him; the Sergeant didn't mind a good challenge.
"Hello," were his first words to the handsome man as Greg slid into a seat at his table. Not original but neutral and nice.
There was no response, not even any reaction from the man.
Greg put his hands on the table and leaned forward on his elbows. "Hello." He repeated.
The stranger heaved a suffering sigh as if replying would be such a hardship and tore his gaze from the page. When his eyes fell on Greg they were cold but beautiful. "Yes?"
"Hello," Greg repeated for the third time but no less friendly.
"Good evening," the man replied and stared at Greg, expectant.
"My name is Greg," he extended one had over the table.
The man eyed the hand as if it offended him personally but then clasped it in his for a handshake. "Mycroft Holmes." He introduced himself. "Now, Mr.…."
"Lestrade. But you can call me Greg," he insisted.
"Mr. Lestrade," his voice was as cold as his eyes and he pronounced every syllable slowly, drawling the words slightly. "I'd really appreciate it if you left right now."
"Well then we have a problem." Greg stated simply. When the man, Mycroft – such a strange name – tilted his head to the side in inquiry, he explained. "Because I don't want to leave. But we might have a compromise."
"No compromises." It booked no argument but Greg was not so easily swayed.
"You give me your number and I leave. Immediately." He smirked. The man was not amused.
"How about a no?"
"No. That won't do." Greg insisted. Later when he analyzed the situation Greg thought that he might have gone overboard with over-confidence. He should have backed off with the first rejection he got. On the other hand, he never regretted those minutes of humiliation that followed, because that was the moment he had met Mycroft Holmes, laid eyes on him for the first time, talked to him, got ridiculed by him – even that became a good memory as their years together went on.
"Mr. Lestrade," Mycroft said, voice as cold as ice. "Or should I say Constable? Though no, you do look like a man who has just got a promotion. Too young to be a Detective Inspector, or more likely too stupid, so Sergeant it is. Sergeant Lestrade, let me explain something to you." He put his book flat on the table, not bothering with a bookmark, and leaned back in his chair. Grey eyes were fixed solely on Greg, giving him all the attention he wanted but he wasn't going to be happy that he finally got it. "You are either too stubborn or too stupid. I'd go with the latter since it'd take an immeasurable amount of stubbornness to ignore every outright rejection. So, I'm sorry to tell you this but a Sergeant is the highest rank you'll ever achieve since you are incapable of anything more remarkable."
Greg's smile slowly slid from his face with every word from this handsome stranger.
"Also you'll probably grow grey by your mid-thirties," he squinted as he eyed Greg. "I can already see some grey strands on the temples. By that time you'll still be alone, divorced if you'd be happy enough to find a partner who'd be able to tolerate you. Most likely unhappy and hating your job."
Greg looked back at him, all the excitement and interest in the handsome stranger fallen and stomped on by the cold and cruel words. Without another word he got up and left.
"He was such a cold hearted bastard when I first met him." Greg commented as he finished the story. He was smiling and John couldn't understand how a memory of someone putting you down in such a manner could be a fond one. On the other hand…John would be a hypocrite to think so. He had his own spiteful Holmes at home.
"But how did you…? If your first meeting went so awful how did you get together? How did you even meet for the second time?"
"Well, Mycroft was building his own career at that time. He wasn't as important as he is now."
"But he had enough arrogance to compensate it?"
"Yes," Greg laughed. "By the way almost none of the things he predicted for me happened. I'm a happily married Detective Inspector."
"Your hair is grey though."
"Yeah…But Mycroft loves it." Greg admitted. He smirked. "He finds it sexy."
"I'm…not sure I wanted to know that."
Greg laughed. "Later he told me that he was meaning to drive me away so he exaggerated his observations. Though I do admit that I tended to seem over-confident at that time."
"Well, I can imagine all that rather vividly." John admitted. "So how did you meet him for the second time?"
"An investigation." Greg said. He leaned closer to John, probably not wanting to be overheard. "A team I was part of was working on a new case. It seemed simple at first. A theft and a murder but after we went deeper with the investigation we realized that it was more serious than that." Greg's voice dropped lower and John was intrigued despite himself. "By that time the higher-ups realized that some of their secrets were leaked out with that murder it was too late to give away the case to someone else. They didn't want to attract attention to it. Furthermore we were doing pretty well with that investigation." There was hint of smugness in his tone that made John smile. Greg nodded to assert his point and continued. "So they sent a man, a supervisor of sorts."
"Yes, Mycroft. He still refuses to tell me what position he had at that time but it wasn't as high as he wanted, that's for sure. He was pretty irritated with, I quote 'babysitting a group of detectives'."
"I'd say you were lucky he called you detectives and not something else."
"I guess." Greg agreed. Then he laughed. "You should have seen his face…"
"And this is Sergeant Lestrade, a very promising lad." Greg's DI was saying to a man sitting in a chair across from his desk as Greg entered the office. The man turned and, as Greg's eyes fell on him, he froze in the doorway. His shock was probably written all over his face and for a moment it mirrored the expression on the man's face, but the man quickly took his feelings under control, features neutral, cold and detached just like Greg remembered.
"Well, hello." Greg greeted and for a second an emotion akin to irritation flashed across the man's face.
"Sergeant, this is Mr. Holmes. He'll be working with us on this case." The Detective Inspector made the introductions, oblivious to the sudden tension. "One of the best men in my department. He's sure to make a DI one day or maybe even a DCI."
Mr. Holmes - Mycroft, if Greg remembered correctly, after all it was difficult to forget such a name as well as the person it belonged to - looked like he swallowed a whole lemon, the corners of his lips turned downward and his nose scrunched slightly. Greg wanted to laugh while looking at him.
"Looks like your second meeting didn't end up with love either." John commented when Greg stopped laughing after finishing his story.
"John, don't get me wrong," Greg said. "I still insist it was love at first sight."
"On your side, maybe." John made an assumption, but his tone was light and teasing. "How did you get to where you are now if everything started like such a disaster?"
"Well, you know, the usual. Me striking Mycroft with my brilliance while solving the case. Bringing him a cup of coffee once in a while…"
"I though Mycroft hates coffee."
"Here, got you coffee," Greg said as he put a cup with the said beverage on Mycroft's table.
The man glanced at him, gaze flickering up from the paper he was reading to Greg and then quickly back again. "I don't drink coffee."
Greg, undeterred, moved the cup closer to him. "Come one, you've been reading through those documents since early morning and I know you did not get enough sleep."
"How do you know?" For the first time Greg heard his voice without the note of disdain. There was just calm curiosity.
"I don't need to be a genius to see those circles under your eyes."
Slowly the man put the document down and looked up at Greg again, this time he did not avert his gaze the second their eyes locked. After a moment of silence during which Greg struggled to maintain a friendly smile, Mycroft reached tentatively and took the cup. "Thank you."
"Pen. Pen I need a pen." Greg mouthed as the person he was on the phone with rattled out an address of a witness and he couldn't find anything to write it down with.
When in desperation and irritation at himself for never keeping his desk organized Greg started throwing papers around, the search getting more vigorous as he memorized the address first. A hand grabbed his, stopping the frantic movement, and a pen was put between his fingers. Greg looked up, startled, and saw Mycroft standing by his side. The slight tilt of the man's head could be considered condescending, but there was a small smile tugging at the corners of his lips. A hand covering Greg's was cool and gentle, skin so soft. And for the first moment their hands touched it felt like an electrical current running through Greg's system.
"…a shared smile over the corpse…"
"Well, no. Not really. Although…"
"You said you found something interesting?" Mycroft prompted the medical expert while Greg peered at the body lying on the slab.
"Yes, something I didn't notice from the beginning." The medical expert, a nervous middle aged man, admitted. He stepped to the slab. "See, this thing here…these marks…"
"Oh," Mycroft let out a breath. His eyes widened a little as the realization hit him. "Is this…?"
"Yes, it definitely is." Greg agreed and grinned at the other man over the body. This was the clue that could be invaluable to their case. He felt elated and proud of their work. What made his grin widen was Mycroft's answering smile.
"It went smoothly from there?" John inquired.
"Not really." Greg shrugged. "He is a Holmes after all."
"Oh well, that always seems like the biggest issue." John replied.
"At least your first meeting with Sherlock went better."
John thought about it for a moment, remembering his first impression of Sherlock Holmes. Slight irritation but also a bit of wonder and respect and definitely an interest. "We did not hate each other on the first sight. I'd say that irritation came much later."
"Today is the day he left human organs all over the kitchen, again." John grimaced at the memory. He did not mind it so much, he was a doctor after all, but it was hellish getting rid of all the blood, not to mention the bottles took all the space on the kitchen counter. "Anyway, how did your first date go?"
"Terrible," Greg said with a grin. "I took him to the movies. I should have known that a Holmes and large crowds of people don't go well."
John laughed at that.
"And then I took him to the pub." Greg admitted.
"That's not very romantic." John ventured, careful not to offend.
"I wasn't really a romantic at that time…You can say Mycroft brought up a better taste in me."
The pub was noisy and full of people, the chatter of animated conversations enveloping him the moment they stepped inside. Greg led his date through the crowd with a hand on the small of his back, navigating them to the other end of the pub.
"This is…nice." The way Mycroft said it indicated clearly that this was merely a polite compliment and definitely not what the man was truly thinking. Greg was resolute to change his opinion by the end of the evening. Mycroft was always so proper, polite and considerate – a true gentlemen; Greg wanted so badly to break that cold exterior, bring all his feelings to the surface, see a true radiant smile and genuine affection.
"Relax," he whispered in the man's ear. Mycroft half turned to him and the small movement brought their faces together. Grey blue eyes stared in his, calm. Greg smirked and leaned in to plant a soft kiss to his lips. That was the moment that he remembered through years, one he reminisced about while he was choosing a ring and the same he remembered on the morning of their wedding. The exact moment when the first crack in Mycroft's armor appeared. In reaction to the unexpected kiss Mycroft lowered his eyes, a faint blush dusted his cheeks. Then he turned away and headed for the nearest empty table, but Greg managed to catch sight of the slight upturn of his lips – Mycroft's shy smile.
"So I take it the date started bad but ended pretty good?" John guessed.
"Oh yes…" Greg's tone and smile were somewhat indecent and John had to look away. Clearly his friend had a lot of good memories of the time when he was wooing his future husband.
"What about the second?"
"It was even better." Greg smiled. Then he full on grinned. "But you know which date was the best?"
Greg wanted this date to be memorable. He had cooked dinner, using all his strongest points, acquired some candles and flowers on the advice from Sally, dressed up for the occasion. He was ready but still the ring of the doorbell startled him.
As Mycroft stepped into the flat Greg's worry dispelled; they had many successful dates behind and many more in the future. It gave him strength to take his lover's hand during dinner and whisper, softly. "I love you."
Mycroft did not look surprised. He put down the glass of wine he had been holding and covered Greg's hand holding his with his own. "I love you too."
That memory brought John to his next question:
"How did you propose?" He blurted out, tact be damned, he was too curious to care.
Greg frowned into his pint. They'd been in the pub for quite a while already, had consumed a measurable amount of alcohol so his cheeks were flushed and his gaze slightly unfocused. John himself was feeling pleasantly warm and relaxed. He was sincerely interested in the story of Greg Lestrade and Mycroft Holmes, since Sherlock didn't bother to tell him. Huh, just another thing the consulting detective didn't bother to mention. John brushed those thoughts aside and concentrated back on his friend's words.
"…was hell." John only caught the end of the sentence but it didn't surprise him much.
"I had been carrying the ring for months…" Greg continued with his story. He let out a wistful sigh. "Was waiting for the right moment."
"How long did it take for a right moment to happen?"
Greg laughed. "As if I know…"
At John's confused frown he elaborated. "Let's say Mycroft was waiting for that moment as well and he has a short temper when it comes to relationships."
It was not his name that attracted Greg's attention; it was the tone of his lover's voice. Tentative and timid, lacking Mycroft's usual confidence.
By that time they were practically living together. Greg still spent some nights at his own flat, when he returned from work drained of any energy and only wanted to fall asleep. But he spent most of his time at Mycroft's. His lover insisted that his place was bigger, had more space for both of them and, most importantly – and Greg still smiled every time he remembered Mycroft's frown as he said this – it wasn't such a terrible mess.
Greg followed his lover's voice from the bedroom to the living room.
"I've…" Mycroft started but stumbled over his own words. He sounded lost and, as his eyes found Greg's, the DI saw confusion in them.
Mycroft was standing in the middle of the room, unmoving, his hands clenching Greg's jacket, one he had carelessly discarded the moment he entered the flat. The jacket he wore that day. The jacket that held…Oh…
The piece of cloth fell from Mycroft's hands and Greg could see a black velvet box clutched between his pale fingers. "Oh…" His breath left him as his heartbeat picked up.
"Indeed, oh…" Mycroft said softly.
Greg came up to him, every step slow and cautious. "Mycroft…" He did not know what to say. He had been waiting for the perfect moment for so long and now, so abruptly, all his carefully laid plans of making this a memorable romantic occasion were ruined because he had dragged it out for too long.
Mycroft took a deep breath, probably to calm himself, and said, "I had suspicions."
Greg frowned, "Really?" Mycroft was an intelligent man but when it came to relationships he could be worse than a lovesick teenager. Greg hoped he wouldn't even think about marriage before his partner mentioned it. Well, there couldn't be a bigger clue than an engagement ring. There was no going back, he supposed.
"I was waiting for a good moment." He admitted. Mycroft nodded and stared at the box.
Carefully Greg extracted it from his grip, taking his lover's hand and pressing a kiss to his knuckles. "No use waiting now." He muttered more to himself. And then, not taking his eyes from Mycroft's face, he lowered to one knee. Mycroft's hand was trembling slightly in his, or maybe it was Greg whose hands were shaking.
"Mycroft Holmes," he said solemnly. His voice was raspy, betraying his nervousness. But his tone did not waver. "Will you do me the honor of becoming my husband?"
Mycroft took a shuddering breath, and yes, Greg felt him shaking, but he was not the only one. He was waiting for an answer, trepidation straining his nerves, terrified of rejection. Somehow when he imagined this moment Mycroft always said 'yes' to him. Greg had not considered the other option…
"Yes," Mycroft said so softly it was barely a whisper. And then he repeated with more strength in his voice. "Yes."
Greg's smile could not have been wider as he put the ring on his lover's finger. And then, as if all the patience he had was spent on that gesture, he got up in one swift movement and swept his fiancée off his feet.
"At that moment I couldn't have been happier." Greg admitted with a silly grin on his face.
His elation was contagious and John found himself smiling as well.
Chapter 2: Mycroft
"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."