Oh dear. The notorious Mestrade oneshot. Please don't kill me.
It's only a week into John Watson's little exile until people start asking questions. Lestrade shoves his door open at eight minutes past midnight and tosses a screwed up ball of paper at the back of his head.
It bounces off harmlessly, of course. Nothing but a childish prank. He's quite sure however, that it's mussed his hair at the back. If necessary, he'll get Sandra to fix it. He has to look presentable, even hiding away in his towering office. His beautiful spacious office, with the glorious views of London he had been admiring until he was so rudely interrupted.
"Your office is two bloody floors! Compensating for something?" Lestrade snipes at him. Mycroft sighs. He really does wish Sherlock's pets would stop associating with him. He is a far higher class of pedigree than his brother, and far less likely to tolerate their inane ramblings.
"Assuredly not," Mycroft says, not deigning to look at the police officer. Honestly.
There is a pause, until Lestrade throws himself into one of Mycroft's expensive leather chairs. Mycroft physically twitches.
"Those chairs," he says warningly to the London skyline, "are from Milan."
"If they don't break under your weight, they won't break under mine," Lestrade says cheerfully.
Mycroft twitches again. He turns to Lestrade, legs crossed, arms folded behind his head. Making himself right at home in his private quarters. Which brings a curious thought to mind.
"How did you get in here?" he asks warily. He's prepared for various scenarios including breaking and entering, steal a guard's uniform, the normal idiocy the police force find acceptable operational procedure.
"Oh, your secretary let me in," Lestrade says, brushing away Mycroft's concerns.
"Why?" Mycroft asks, taken aback.
"I am devilishly handsome," Lestrade quips.
Mycroft raises an eyebrow. All the same, these little humans. Scurrying around the city like rats, doing the same predictable thing day in, day out.
"You're not her type," he says drily.
Lestrade laughs, a single bark of amusement that sends Mycroft reeling. He hasn't made another human being laugh since he was six years old. He must be losing his touch. It's really very unnerving, the way Lestrade looks at him as an equal instead of somebody to be feared. His own father feared him, yet this lowly police inspector is seconds away from swinging his feet up onto his handcrafted mahogany desk. It gives him a strange urge to lock him in the office. Or ruin his career with malicious, government-supported rumours. Whichever was easier.
"We need to talk about your brother." Lestrade is suddenly very serious, sitting up in his chair. Mycroft slides smoothly into his own across the desk.
"Oh?" he asks. His voice is dangerous. It's the voice that sends the teaboy scurrying away in fear. Lestrade leans forward, elbows on the desk and meets his eyes. Lestrade's eyes are an unusually dark brown, Mycroft notices. He files it away for further use, though unlike his brother, he's very unlikely to use it.
"Or rather," Lestrade continues coolly, "what you've done to him."
"Come again?" Mycroft leans forward himself, pitching himself into the verbal battle. Their faces are close and their eyes are connected, but the spark there is rivalry, anger and competition. Nothing more.
"Please, Mycroft. You're brother might not have noticed because he's mad with grief-good job on that by the way-"
Mycroft inclines his head graciously.
"-but I'm not completely stupid. Taking John's corpse, but leaving their own leader at the bottom of a swimming pool. That's a plothole, Mycroft. Tut tut."
Mycroft doesn't sigh or collapse on the desk and confess his guilt. He's far too dignified for that. But he is aware he's lost this battle.
"Indeed," he says, as if this has been a clear fact in this conversation all along. "John Watson is alive and well in Switzerland."
"And why Switzerland?" Lestrade questions, intense eye contact still present. He suspects a trick. How delightfully paranoid of him.
"One of the few places none of the gang's branches are present."
"And you couldn't tell Sherlock about any of this because..." the leading statement hurts Mycroft's brain like a grammatical toothache.
"It is essential the gang believe him to be dead. For them to do that, Sherlock must believe him to be dead."
"Ah." Lestrade straightens and leans back in the chair, watching him.
"Despite what you may think," Mycroft says coldly, "seeing Sherlock like this gives me no pleasure."
Lestrade nods, apparently satisfied with his reply.
"You have delivered your message and got what you came for," he says, turning to face the window. "Now leave before I set the hounds on you."
"You have hounds?" Lestrade asks, a smile playing across his lips as he rises.
Mycroft smiles a shark's grin over his shoulder at the Inspector. "Are you willing to take the risk?"
Lestrade gives a bark of laughter once again, and once again Mycroft is momentarily shaken. Curiouser and curiouser.
The next time Lestrade slams open his door, Mycroft is waiting.
"You stole my pen," he accuses mildly.
He's at that floor-to-ceiling window again, overlooking his empire. It really is so very pretty.
"What?" Lestrade asks, apparently distracted. "Oh, that? Do you count your pens?"
"Of course not," Mycroft scoffs. "Don't be so ridiculous. Men of my stature do not count their own pens."
Another bark of laughter. Mycroft would never admit to liking such an unrefined sound, but privately he does accept that it is oddly...pleasant.
"I have about a minute." Lestrade informs him politely, checking his watch.
Mycroft takes a deep breath. The second meeting, and he can already feel that long-suffering feeling sweeping over him. This Inspector Lestrade is dangerous for his health.
"And why, pray tell, is that?"
"Your secretary wouldn't let me through this time. Got her in trouble with you, apparently. Frankly, Mycroft, I'm insulted."
"I'm crying inside," Mycroft retorts.
Lestrade chuckles and continues. "Security will be here in thirty seconds."
"What have you done?" Mycroft sighs, turning to face the grinning inspector.
"Jumped the receptionist's desk," he says. Dear God, thinks Mycroft. He's proud of himself. What an infuriating man.
"Am I to assume you have something of importance to tell me?"
"Sherlock's been locked in his room for two weeks. A few more days, and he'll have to eat the decomposing legs in his fridge."
"Very well. Break his door down."
"Sir yes sir!" Lestrade says, snapping a lazy mock salute as the security boys walk in. Their hands are pressed insistently on Lestrade's forearms, but the man shakes himself free.
"S'alright lads. I'll go quiet," he says, holding up his hands. As he's escorted from Mycroft's office, he throws over his shoulder,
"Couldn't get me some paper to go with my pen, could you Mycroft?"
"Go away, Lestrade!" Mycroft calls wearily, but there's a smile in his voice, and Lestrade's triumphant noise means he heard it too.
What an infuriating man, Mycroft thinks as he shuffles his stationary. He's not exactly surprised to find at least ten sheets of creamy French parchment is missing. He's more impressed, because Lestrade had very few pockets and was nowhere near his desk.
A mystery for another day, Mycroft thinks, returning to his window.
It doesn't hold the same fascination for him anymore.
He gets a text while he's in a crucial meeting with the Japanese government, He glances irritably at his phone, but doesn't recognise the number. In his line of work, it's practical to check such text, as many contain death threats, job prospects should he tire of Britain, or the whereabouts of the many agents in his employ.
Strangely, the fact that it's Lestrade doesn't disappoint him.
Friday. 4pm. Try to remind security I'm friend, not food. GLestrade.
Shaking his head, he replies.
Don't be ridiculous. I am a superbly busy man. And your grammar is appalling. MH.
Lestrade's reply is swift, and disturbingly, it makes him smile.
The grammar is for your pet cavemen. Complex sentence structures could cause irreparable damage. You're not meant to use such long words in texts. GLestrade.
Vaguely stunned, Mycroft texts back a curveball.
Your first name begins with G? MH
Another fast reply. He must be replying as he gets them. Mycroft would scoff and call him pathetic, but it seems he's doing the same thing. How very odd.
Let me in on Friday and I'll tell you what it is. Love and kisses, G.
There's no reply he can think of to that, other than to leave his schedule clear and his door open on Friday at 4pm.
Lestrade wanders through like a tourist, hands in pockets and eyes casting around at the ceiling.
Mycroft isn't watching the window for once. The ants roaming their little hills could never provide as much sheer entertainment as the man standing in front of him.
"What are you doing?" he asks reluctantly.
"There are a huge amount of CCTV cameras in this place," Lestrade murmurs, before apparently snapping back to reality.
"We need to talk," he says somberly.
"I gathered," Mycroft says smoothly.
"Sherlock is flying spectacularly off the rails. Another member of those Nazi copycats turned up dead today."
"And that is odd because?"
"He had 'JOHN' carved into his chest? Before death?"
Mycroft takes it all in, and begins to pace.
"Cover it up," he decides finally.
Lestrade looks conflicted, but nods, biting his lip. Mycroft wishes he'd stop that. He was being distracting. The nodding reminds him of the tacky little dogs available in any shop selling cheap crap. It is incredibly annoying.
"I thought so. Sherlock would last less than a minute in jail. Won't be easy though."
"No doubt he's got the perfect alibi. Is there anybody you can trust to mutilate the signature beyond recognition?"
Lestrade is deliberating, but he has made a hard decision at last, and Mycroft is comforted by the steel in his frame. His antics have prompted Mycroft to forget the man's expertise.
"I do. Molly Hooper will do anything for him."
"Ah. The puppy."
"Be nice," Lestrade says, rubbing tiredly at his forehead.
"Migraine?" Mycroft asks, flicking open the lock on a drawer with a practiced motion of his thumb. He doesn't know what prompts it. He doesn't like sharing.
Lestrade looks shocked as the plain white bottle is snatched out of the air. Even in pain, Mycroft notes, Lestrade is capable of cognitive thought and impressive reflexes.
"Mother used to tell me only supremely intelligent people get migraines. One every three hours."
"Thanks," Lestrade sounds surprised, like his world view has been tilted. Mycroft can sympathise.
He turns to leave, but Mycroft summons him back.
"Your name, Lestrade," he says, playfully by his standards.
Lestrade turns, walking backwards with the same ease he walked forwards. An extraordinary skill. "What? Oh. It's Gerard."
Gerard Lestrade. "You realise that rhymes, correct?"
Lestrade is still walking backwards, skirting a small table he knew was there by some sixth sense. "While your mother was acting as your personal dealer, mine had a terrible sense of humour. Hence why people call me Gerry."
Mycroft makes a face. "I detest nicknames."
"Then you'll just have to deal with the rhyming," Lestrade replies. He sounds exhausted. He's probably been wearing himself out over Sherlock. Mycroft quashes the twinge of guilt ruthlessly.
"Same time next week?" Lestrade asks. He sounds hesitant for the first time in these meetings of theirs.
Mycroft smiles, though it's more of a baring of teeth. "Naturally."
For a month, perhaps nearer to two, they meet at Friday at 4pm to discuss Sherlock and his murders. They're so full of precision and madness that it can be nobody else. Gerard rubs a hand across his forehead and reports on the cover-ups, sighing and frowning. He says it's getting harder, but they still talk casually. Gerard laughs more often, the banter is longer and occasionally more barbed, and the two men are comfortable in each other's presence. Mycroft finds it hard to believe Gerard has ever been uncomfortable anywhere, but his own awkwardness has been cured at last.
"Sally's been getting suspicious," Gerard says, sprawled gracelessly on Mycroft's chairs from Milan. Mycroft no longer twitches: he simply appreciates. Frustratingly, Mycroft can't seem to focus on his words. "But she's distracted by Anderson lately. They both distract each other, to be honest...if you aren't going to listen, I'm to smack you over the head with that paperweight. Nobody need ever know it was me."
Gerard looks amused but exasperated at the same time. Mycroft sighs, covers quickly. "It's incredibly dull gossiping about people I know nothing about," he drawls.
Gerard raises an eyebrow. "That would change if you lowered yourself to visit me at work instead of me running up here all the time."
Mycroft is definite that Gerard is not expecting this. Perhaps a stunt of this kind, but not today. It's Friday at 3:55pm, and instead of Gerard wandering into his office and collapsing in the leather chair, Mycroft has come to him.
He opens the doors with a flick of his umbrella: a trick he'd learned over the years. It was unbecoming for a man of his importance to open doors. They open with a satisfying bang, startling the fresh-faced constables. Gerard glances up from where he was shrugging on his jacket. He's smiling as Mycroft surveys the police station with a critical eye.
"Mycroft!" Gerard sounds happy and surprised. Mycroft may not say it, but that's exactly the reaction he had hoped to elicit.
"Gerard." He greeted with a smile. "Excitable as always."
Gerard laughs and darts forward to grasp Mycroft's wrist and pull him quickly into a little side door. It's not just the fast movement that leaves him breathless and dizzy.
He drops into cheap Ikea furniture, watches with something akin to affection as Gerard swings with boots onto the desk with a satisfied sigh.
"Oh how the mighty have fallen," he says jubilantly.
Mycroft rolls his eyes. Admittedly, he isn't very good at being on this side of the desk, but that's all.
"Shut up Gerard. What's the latest news on these...cases?"
"He's been quiet, lately," Lestrade says. He's frowning, annoyed with himself, impatient. His face folds around his eyes, which are a very particular shade of brown. Unique. Mycroft is far too elegant for any such emotions, but he allows a look of concern to pass over his features.
"Sherlock, you mean?"
Mycroft declines to whirl at the sound of the voice, but rather wishes he had a cup of tea with him.
"Sally Donovan, I presume?" he asks lazily.
"I know you've been covering up what he's been doing," she continues, bravado making her voice high. It grates terribly on Mycroft's ears.
"That's nice dear," he says, not deigning to look at her. "Gerard, I believe I will take my leave. Your underlings irritate me."
Gerard's lips twitch. He's suppressing laughter. "Not the mindless minions you're used to?" he asks conversationally. Sally Donovan is practically vibrating in righteous anger, Mycroft can sense it. How very quaint.
Mycroft sighs theatrically. "You really must train them better," he advises, and the pair of them stand at the same time, shake hands. Mycroft stores away calloused skin and warm fingers, in case he later needs this things. You never know what might come in useful, he tells himself. You just never know.
"And you," he says to Donovan, facing her for the first time, "would do well to pick your battles. If you breathe a word of this business, I will know."
He doesn't need to add 'and you will no longer be breathing' to that threat. She's gone pale enough. He leaves the room to Gerard shaking his hand and Donovan trembling.
Five months, two weeks. Mycroft keeps a careful calendar on the underside of his desk, marking John's absence. It is imperative to know these things.
Gerard enters as he always does: loudly. But today, there is something different, and Mycroft stands immediately. There's a wild, almost dizzy grin on Gerard's face. After months of harrowed expressions and migraine pills, Mycroft has to say it's a relief to see him like this. Smiles suit him so well.
"We arrested the last one this morning," Gerard says jubilantly, and Mycroft allows a smile to break out across his face. It will be good to speak to his brother without mortal peril, and as much as he loathes to admit it, he had become rather fond of John Watson. It would do his brother good to have a stabilising influence in his life again.
"Very good," he says, but Gerard obviously isn't paying attention.
"Do me a favour," Gerard says, tossing him a bottle of champagne which Mycroft catches deftly without taking his eyes from the man, "and smile more."
Mycroft is thrown slightly off balance by this, but recovers quickly. There will be time for analysis later.
"I shall call John," he says slightly stiffly, pressing elegant buttons and holding the sleek phone to his ear.
The phone rings, but before John can pick up the phone is stolen from his fingers on an admirable pass by Gerard, who immediately skips out of reach. Mycroft scowls, but he cannot bring himself to be properly irritated, which is slightly worrying. Also slightly worrying is the imprint of Gerard's fingers on his skin, as if they're still resting there. Mycroft makes no move to attempt to annihilate them, only because Lestrade would certainly notice.
"Hello, John? Yes, it's Lestrade. Oh, yeah, I stole Mycroft's phone. I didn't think he could be trusted with this."
At this point, Gerard catches his eye and sticks out his tongue. Mycroft glares. Childish. Childish and supremely unhelpful.
"I better be quick, Mycroft's trying to kill me with his eyes. We got the last of them, John. You can come back. See you on the other side, mate."
With that, Gerard hangs up with a flourish. Mycroft continues his glare. "You," he says, discards several alternate insults and confessions, and smoothly runs into, "have no sense of occasion."
Gerard looks wounded. "I do! There's champagne, isn't there?"
Half an hour later sees them in a familiar position, Mycroft reclining elegantly in his chair while Gerard's boots scuff his desk and crease paperwork. Mycroft doesn't really mind. Champagne has made his mind looser.
"So," Gerard says, gesticulating needlessly. Mycroft's eyes track his hand. "No more Sherlock problems. No more visits."
Mycroft feels something within him clench uncomfortably. "You really must pay more attention, Gerard," he says, masking his discomfort admirably. "At what point did I say anything to that effect?"
Gerard's smile is slightly tipsy, slightly lopsided, but still intriguing. His feet swing off the desk, his champagne flute is balanced precariously on the edge of his chair and he straightens. His hands are planted in the desk and he's leaning forward, looking sharp and policeman-like. Mycroft is pinned by his stare.
Gerard kisses him hard enough to bruise, leaning almost full length across the desk. Mycroft is startled, but certainly not unwilling. Champagne makes their mouths tacky, makes it hard to pull away, but Gerard manages.
"Good," he man breathes, smiling with one side of his mouth. In a blink, he's gone, jacket swirling from his hand as it drapes across his shoulders, his step sure and not drunken in the slightest. Mycroft glances to Gerard's champagne flute, notices it is practically untouched.
His fingers brush his mouth and he smiles. That man will be the death of him.
It was sort of okay, right? Not disgusting, right? Eh, who am I kidding. I'm probably the only person who actually finds Mestrade adorable and slightly funny. BUT I AM ON A CRUSADE PEOPLE. I WILL CONVERT YOU ALLLLL.