A GOLDFISH NAMED GRAHAM
Pairing: Mycroft Holmes/Greg Lestrade
Warnings: SPOILERS FOR "THE EMPTY HEARSE"
Notes: Takes place before "The Sign of Three"
Disclaimer: Sherlock belongs to the BBC, Mark Gatiss, and Steve Moffat. The original characters are the property of Arthur Conan Doyle. I own nothing but the plot and make no money from this story.
Mycroft frowned as he eyed the small bowl. It was sitting atop a book called "101 Ways to Cook Fish", which Mycroft thought was just in bad taste, really. Then again, this was his brother.
'It's a goldfish,' he finally commented.
'That it is,' Sherlock drawled. 'Your powers of deduction never cease to amaze me, dear brother.'
Mycroft chuckled and fingered the handle of his umbrella as he looked from the goldfish, to Sherlock, and back again. Before he could ask just what a goldfish was doing on Sherlock's coffee table, Mrs Hudson bustled in.
Mycroft really did love the woman, despite how annoying she could be. She took care of Sherlock and made sure he ate on a regular basis, which was especially needed sine John had moved in with Mary Morstan.
'Some tea for you, dears,' the woman said as she placed the tray on the table beside the fish. 'I made Earl Grey because I remembered that you prefer it over other tea, Mr Holmes,' she then added, smiling at Mycroft.
Mycroft gave her a soft smile back. 'Thank you, Mrs Hudson.'
'Make sure you try the biscuits,' Mrs Hudson said, pointing at the plate. 'And Sherlock, you really should eat something.'
'No I shouldn't,' Sherlock grumbled, but sat forward to stir sugar into his tea anyway. 'And Mycroft shouldn't eat any more biscuits, he's put on too much weight as it is.'
Mycroft gave his brother a fake smile, which Sherlock returned, while Mrs Hudson bustled about, cleaning and straightening this and that.
'Don't be Silly, Sherlock,' she tisked. 'Your brother's quite fit as he is.'
'Thank you, Mrs Hudson,' Mycroft said, then smirked when Sherlock wrinkled his nose at the landlady. 'And thank you for the biscuits.'
Mrs Hudson smiled at them both before clearing out again, leaving silence in her wake. Mycroft picked up his cup and sniffed the liquid before taking a small sip. No sugar; just how he liked it.
'If I had it my way,' he commented, 'Mrs Hudson would be made a saint after her passing. She deserves it after keeping you alive.'
'Nonsense,' Sherlock waved a hand as he slunk further down in his armchair- Mycroft was occupying "John's". 'Mrs Hudson will outlive the both of us, no doubt.'
'Mm,' Mycroft hummed. He was probably right. Neither of the Holmes brothers had particularly safe jobs; Sherlock would no doubt be shot or strangled, and Mycroft had plenty of enemies who would enjoy doing the same. Mycroft just hoped that Sherlock went first; not because he wished his brother any ill health, but because he would be able to kill the bastards who thought that they could harm his sibling. And Sherlock still needed a minder, no matter how old he was. 'Now,' Mycroft cleared his throat and set his cup and saucer down. 'About the goldfish.'
Sherlock rolled his eyes. 'It's just a fish, Mycroft; a simple pet. Surely even you know how to care for one.'
'I'm sure I have somebody who could do it for me when I'm otherwise disposed,' Mycroft commented. 'What I'm very curious about is your need to actually purchase me one.'
Sherlock ignored him; he set his eyes on the mantel, where his skull still sat beside a pile of letters that had been run-through with a knife.
'I'm worried that this has something to do with our conversation last week,' Mycroft continued.
'And why would it?' Sherlock questioned.
'I mentioned being surrounded by goldfish no more than six days ago,' Mycroft said, 'and you seemed to be under the impression that I was lonely.'
'How could any of that possibly have anything to do with me buying my big brother a pet?' Sherlock snapped, looking pouty and annoyed.
Mycroft chuckled. 'You never fail to surprise me, brother-mine,' he said and picked up his tea again. 'I fear I shall never figure you out.'
'Thank God for that,' Sherlock muttered, sipping his own tea.
Mycroft found the entire thing as heart-warming as he did bothersome. His brother had changed a lot in the past few years; first because of John Watson, and then because of his cross-country journey around the globe. Their relationship had changed, too, and though Mycroft hated that Sherlock had been through hell for them to reach this point, he was still glad for it. He and Sherlock would never completely get along, but Sherlock could finally have a conversation with his elder sibling without falling into childish insults every four seconds. And now he had no problem showing that he cared; he was actually worried that Mycroft was lonely and needed somebody in his life.
'While I appreciate the gesture and concern,' Mycroft finally spoke after a few minutes of silence, 'it is entirely unneeded. 'I am not lonely, Sherlock.'
'How would you know?' Sherlock quipped, like the elder Holmes knew he would.
'Don't concern yourself with my troubles, Sherlock,' Mycroft stated. 'You have far more important things on your mind.'
'Like what?' Sherlock grumbled. 'I have no case, no experiments, and...'
'No blogger?' Mycroft supplied.
Sherlock scowled at him and downed half of his tea, his cheeks twitching when the hot liquid rolled over his tongue. Mycroft just raised an eyebrow and sipped his own.
'Shut up,' the younger man grumbled and grabbed a biscuit, cramming the entire thing into his mouth. Mycroft tisked, but there was no point in berating; some things about Sherlock would never change. 'Anyway,' Sherlock said when he'd swallowed his mouthful, 'take the fish and we'll forget this ever happened, shall we?'
'I'm afraid I can't,' Mycroft shook his head, 'I never forget anything, as you well know, and why would I want to forget proof that my brother actually cares?'
'I despise you, Mycroft,' Sherlock groaned. He leaned forward and picked up the small plastic bag sitting beside the bowl. The goldfish bobbed along in the water, gaping for breath every second. 'I bought food that the pet store recommended, and also wrote down what kind of tank you should purchase, as well as feeding habits.'
'Why don't you keep it?' Mycroft sighed. The last thing he needed was a pet that he couldn't afford time.
'Because I will most likely experiment on it at some point,' Sherlock said, 'and I've been told that killing harmless animals is wrong.'
Yes, Mycroft had spent half of their childhood telling Sherlock to experiment on dead animals and not kill them himself. It made Mummy less likely to burst into tears and worry about what she was doing wrong. And Father wouldn't have to console her while the Holmes boys looked on in worry, again disappointed that they'd hurt their parents.
'I even named it,' Sherlock continued, drawing Mycroft from his thoughts.
'Did you?' he hummed.
Sherlock nodded, looking very pleased with himself. 'It's called Graham.' Mycroft just stared at him. Graham? Sherlock frowned. 'No, wait... Giles!' he snapped before cursing. He flopped back into his armchair and drummed his fingers along the arms, his feet tapping out a similar rhythm. 'Gary?' he then said, more as a question, and Mycroft frowned.
'So you've given it three names?' he questioned.
'No!' Sherlock snapped. 'I just... can't remember what I called it.'
'And why does it matter?'
'It matters because-' Sherlock cut himself of and sighed in frustration. 'I need a cigarette.'
Mycroft, of course, had known it was coming, and pulled a packet from his jacket. Sherlock raised his eyebrows but accepted the cigarette and lit it with a lighter from his dressing gown pocket.
'This is an actual cigarette,' Sherlock said in surprise after he took his first drag, 'not one of those disgusting things you insisted on smoking when you were trying to quit.'
'Well, trying to clear your brother's name, keep an eye on his best friend, insist to your parents that he isn't in mortal danger, and of course trying to keep said brother out of danger, takes quite the toll on a person, even one as intelligent as me,' Mycroft told him.
'So you started smoking again,' Sherlock hummed around his cigarette. 'Why didn't I see that?'
'You were busy trying to figure out how to surprise John,' Mycroft commented. 'Did jumping out of a cake not work?'
Sherlock's face scrunched up as he muttered, 'I'd rather not talk about that.'
'I did warn you,' Mycroft smiled.
'Shut up,' Sherlock grumbled.
His brother cleared his throat and nodded at the goldfish as he sipped his now cooling tea. 'Back to the fish, if you please.'
Sherlock sighed. 'I honestly can't remember his name,' he complained.
'So it's a boy fish?'
'Not the fish!' Sherlock snapped. 'Lestrade!'
Mycroft's eyebrows climbed in surprise. 'And what does the good Detective Inspector have to do with your fish?'
'It's your fish, Mycroft,' Sherlock said.
'That remains to be seen,' his brother commented.
Sherlock sighed and tapped the ash from his cigarette into the ashtray on the floor by his feet. 'Lestrade; I can't remember his first name.'
'Gregory,' Mycroft supplied.
'Greg!' Sherlock shouted and waved his hands about, getting ash in his hair. Mycroft tutted. 'Thank you- Greg, I knew it started with a G!' He sighed and slumped back, like remembering someone's name had truly taken it out of him.
'Again, I find myself confused whilst in your presence,' Mycroft said. 'What does Gregory have to do with the fish?'
'The fish's name is Gregory,' Sherlock supplied, which really didn't help matters.
'Is it now?' Mycroft asked.
'Mm-hmm,' Sherlock mumbled, taking a drag of his cigarette. Smoke streamed from his lips and nose as he said, 'You're lonely, you need a companion, and Gregory is perfect.'
Mycroft raised an eyebrow, but his brother didn't look at him, even when the older man asked, 'Gregory is perfect for me?'
'The fish,' Sherlock muttered, 'the fish is perfect for you.'
Slowly, what his brother was trying to do clicked into place for Mycroft, and he chuckled.
'Why are you laughing?' Sherlock demanded, still not looking at him.
'Oh, no reason,' Mycroft smiled. 'But I think you're right; Gregory is perfect for me.'
Sherlock sat up, eyes darting to his brother. 'Do you think so?' he asked, looking excited.
'Mm-hmm,' Mycroft hummed again. 'Really, Sherlock... thank you.'
Sherlock looked extremely pleased with himself, and Mycroft finished his tea as they fell into silence. Sherlock had just lit a second cigarette when there was a tap on the door, and the brothers looked up to see the DI they'd been speaking about standing before Mrs Hudson.
''lo,' he said, smiling when he saw Mycroft, but turning his eyes on Sherlock. 'I have a case.'
'A case!' Sherlock exploded into movement. He shoved his cigarette into Mycroft's hand, almost burning his sibling, and then ruffled his hair before ripping his dressing gown off and replacing it with his suit jacket. Shoes were unearthed from beneath the sofa, and his scarf was wound around his neck, his coat over his shoulders, in less than a minute.
Mycroft just smiled and leaned back in his armchair, watching as Gregory gave Sherlock the address.
'I'll get a taxi,' Sherlock announced and turned back to Mycroft. 'This Friday, yes?'
'Indeed,' Mycroft said. 'And don't be late, Sherlock; you know how they worry.'
Sherlock rolled his eyes and pushed past Greg, Mrs Hudson following him down the stairs.
Mycroft took a drag of his cigarette and Greg watched, his Adam's apple bobbing and making Mycroft smirk.
'Didn't think I'd run into you here,' Greg commented.
'My brother called,' Mycroft shrugged one shoulder, 'and when I arrived he gifted me with a goldfish.'
Greg frowned and glanced at the table, eyeing the fish as though it might explode. 'And why's that?' he asked, crossing the room.
'He believes that I'm lonely,' Mycroft stated.
Greg's eyebrows climbed. 'You, lonely?' he asked and then laughed. 'Well, maybe once upon a time.'
Mycroft smiled. 'Once upon a time indeed. Meet Gregory, my new goldfish.'
'You named it Gregory?' Greg asked.
'No, Sherlock named it Gregory,' Mycroft said. 'Apparently Gregory would be the perfect companion for me.'
Greg sat on the arm of Mycroft's chair, and Mycroft leaned back so that he could look up at the man. 'Is Sherlock trying to say what I think he's trying to say?' the DI asked.
'You worked it out faster than I did,' Mycroft said.
Greg laughed. 'See? Not stupid, am I?'
'I never said that you were,' Mycroft told him. 'While most people are mere goldfish to me, you...' He trailed off and tilted his head, and Greg turned to look down at him.
'I'm what?' he asked.
Mycroft smiled and leaned up, closing the distance between them to press his lips to Greg's. Greg instantly kissed back, and they lost a good minute or two just enjoying each other's mouths.
'You're perfect,' Mycroft whispered when they finally broke apart.
Greg chuckled as he said, 'Think about that the next time I fail to use a coaster.'
'Mm, well you do have your faults,' Mycroft shrugged.
'I gotta go,' Greg said, standing and watching as Mycroft took another drag of his cigarette, smoke curling above his head. 'We still on for tonight?'
'Yes,' Mycroft said. 'I'll pick you up at six, if this case doesn't keep you away.'
'Nah, Sherlock should figure it out soon, it doesn't seem too hard,' Greg shrugged. 'Just thought I'd get him outta the flat for a bit.'
'Thank you, Gregory,' Mycroft said.
Greg smiled and kissed him again before he was off, leaving Mycroft alone. Mycroft finished the smoke before putting it out, and then gathered his coat as well as the fish- Graham, he decided it'd be called; having two Gregorys in his life would be confusing. He headed for the door where he met Mrs Hudson, who was no doubt going to do some cleaning before Sherlock returned.
'I've been keeping on top of things, Mr Holmes,' she said as they passed each other. 'He eats at least once a day, mostly because I tell him I'm lonely and don't want to eat alone. I also throw out his more dangerous experiments when he finally sleeps, and I make sure his sock drawers and hidey-holes are empty of unsavoury things.'
Mycroft smiled brightly at her- a smile that most people weren't gifted. 'Thank you, Mrs Hudson, you are a blessing to us all.'
Mrs Hudson giggled and swatted his arm. She then looked at the goldfish Mycroft was carrying.
'A present. From my brother,' Mycroft told her.
'Yes, I went with him when he bought it,' Mrs Hudson nodded. 'Don't worry, dear,' she then added, patting his arm, 'Sherlock will figure it out soon enough, and now we know for certain that he'll bless the two of you.' Mycroft's eyebrows climbed and Mrs Hudson leaned forward. 'You and DI Lestrade make quite the handsome pair,' she announced, and then winked and bustled away.
Mycroft stood frozen to the spot, going over the conversations he'd had that afternoon. Finally he chuckled, shook his head, and went downstairs. He truly did love Mrs Hudson.
Author's Note: It had to be done. Why? Because I'm working Mystrade into the new series, and Holmes brotherly feels is always awesome. And Mystrade, DUH! Hope you enjoyed.