This takes place approximately five years prior to events in the Sherlock episode "A Study in Pink."

In honour of Sherlock and John's 221B Baker Street, this is a "221b" ficlet (221 words long, with the last word ending in "b").

This Is A Test

The "guest" stands with legs spread, arms crossed.

Mycroft reads his body language like a textbook. By necessity a scrapper in his youth, Lestrade's first instinct when cornered is still to fight. But he's older and more patient these days, a bit blunted at the edges, and, quite frankly, tired.

At a considerable disadvantage just now, as well. He knows it.

"Right," Lestrade says without preamble, "I get the message. You have money. Connections. You're bold enough to nick a DI off the street in broad daylight."

Scanning the warehouse, Lestrade licks his lips. "So tell me what the hell you're playing at."

"Please, Detective Inspector." Mycroft waves a hand. "Let's not begin on the wrong note."

Lestrade interrupts Mycroft's dramatic pause.

"Let's not waste time, either. I'd thought word got around after the Vassellas bust and Donegal case: I won't be bought."

No false bravado, only genuine stubbornness.

"If this is a hit" – Lestrade's frown deepens, fear present but outpaced by fury and resignation – "then just get on with it, yeah? Spare me the Bond-villain monologue."

This isn't a hit; it's a test. Moments pass. In reply, Mycroft offers silence and his favourite calculating stare.

Lestrade lifts his chin, waiting.

Staring back.

Nothing fragile there, Mycroft realises. How... satisfying.

He smiles. Yes, perhaps this man could handle Baby Brother.


Vital Stats: Originally written in August 2011.