Author's Note: This is fluffy and saccharine, with bits of slashy goodness to come. Enjoy. Reviews are lovely, thank you.
"Who are you, then?" Lestrade asked with a bit of tweak. Mycroft's chin clenched in minor affront as Lestrade looked him over with a raised eyebrow. An awfully chiseled eyebrow, he noted with surprise. Now, where did that come from?
Sherlock glanced up from the body to the dark-suited figure. "My brother, Mycroft Holmes." He frowned at Mycroft. "Shouldn't you be plotting a hostile takeover of some third-world dictatorship or something? The rest of us have actual work to do."
The detective inspector smiled and extended a hand. "Greg Lestrade. Sherlock's spoken of you before, but I was beginning to think you were some sort of drug-addled myth."
Sherlock glared at Lestrade and snorted. "Myth? Hmm, yes, I suppose Mycroft's a legend in his own mind."
Mycroft shook the offered hand, the firm grasp not surprising. What was surprising was the effect it was having. Something tiny, almost like electricity, traveled through his fingers as he pulled his hand back. Curious, but not unpleasant. The handshake was much like the man, solid, strong. He'd read through the DI's personnel files some time ago, but hadn't been through them recently. He made a mental note to take that up with Anthea.
"Thank you, Sherlock. Always a rousing introduction with you." Mycroft's lips quirked. "Mycroft Holmes, as my little brother so delightfully pointed out. Lovely to meet you, Detective Inspector."
Mycroft nodded because suddenly, small, squeezing spasms were working their way up his throat, startling him into silence as the silver-haired man gave him a warm, full smile revealing a row of perfect white teeth, the expression causing Mycroft's body to flush unnaturally. Strange. What was this about?
"You alright, Mycroft? You look like you've had too many Bloody Marys." Sherlock asked.
Mycroft blew out a breath, "No, no, fine." He tapped the point of the umbrella on the concrete. "All's well, thank you, Sherlock." He tugged at the knot on his tie, the Windsor knot seeming a little too tight all of a sudden. Alarming. "I'm here on a matter of national security."
Sherlock stood and stared him down. "No, no," he said, waving a hand dramatically at Mycroft, "your color's off. What's the matter with you? Are you ill or something?" Sherlock sounded slightly horrified and took step back, as if it was catching. He stared for a moment, then Sherlock's cool blue eyes narrowed and his upper lip twitched briefly with a slight smile as he perused his brother's face, but it was gone as quickly as it came. The consulting detective's trademark frown returned.
"You can tell the Queen to piss off. I've got a serial here. Loads of fun."
"Sherlock!" Mycroft hissed.
"Fine," he drawled. "You can tell 'Her Majesty' to piss off. I've got murders to solve! I don't care about whatever mischief your backstabbing little cronies are up to. This is much more interesting." He tied his scarf in a flourish and gave a dismissive sniff. "John!" he called, heading off to hail a cab. "Baker Street! I will require 3 liters of petrol, the harpoon, and see if you can get your hands on a flame-thrower. The game is on!"
An exasperated John began hurriedly typing into his phone, running after Sherlock, nearly missing the cab. It pulled away from the curb and went a few feet before stopping with a lurch. Sherlock's curls popped through the open window and yelled. "I'm 84.2 percent sure it was the fishmonger from the first scene! Will text you my results!" His head disappeared and the cab was gone.
"SHERLOCK!" Lestrade yelled, flinging his arms into the air. With an annoyed huff, he turned to Mycroft. "Your brother will be the death of me." Lestrade's eyes sparkled with a hint of mirth beneath eyes the color of…God, what color were they? A rich blend of gold and bronze that glittered like the swirl of expensive sherry in a crystal glass. Astonishing. Even more astonishing, Mycroft noted with a hard swallow, was that those eyes were watching him thoughtfully. Beautiful eyes in a beautiful face. Mycroft cleared his throat in an effort to shake the fog.
"He tends to have that effect on people."
"Yes, well, it's bloody infuriating, and I have this serial and a back log of cases as long as my arm," Lestrade sputtered.
Mycroft's breath began to do that squeezy thing again as the corners of Lestrade's mouth turned down, an action which immediately served to plump the rosy flesh of his bottom lip. Why was he noticing this man's lips? And more importantly, why could he not look away? The flush was back as the DI's swiped the point of his tongue (very pointy, very pink, and oh, God, moist) across his lips. The flustering thought made him feel as if someone had very politely flicked a lighter and set fire to the back of trousers, swirls of smoke and heat suddenly wrapping around him. Insanity. Maybe he was ill. But this was no kind of illness he had ever experienced before. This was instant. This was shocking. This was not proper. He wasn't even sure it was English. No, definitely not English, as it bordered on the unseemly. Too much American telly with the CIA chaps. He forced his mind back to the matter at hand and looked away from the too-handsome detective inspector's eyes to the hand on his umbrella.
"Yes, well, Detect-"
"Please, it's Greg." There went the dazzling smile again. Keep it together, Holmes. You bring down nations by text message, for God's sake! "Unless you piss me off," the DI chuckled. "Then I'll run you in on a fake drugs bust."
All Mycroft could do was smile. Idiot.
"Works on Sherlock all the time," Lestrade added.
"Yes, um, Greg." He felt the need to adjust his tie again. And run. Another throat clearing and he finished, "If I hear from my brother, which I'm sure I won't until I am forced to track him down, I'll give you a call. Here's my card if you need to reach me." He managed to pull the crisp, white card from his jacket with a thankfully steady hand and presented it to Lestrade, who grasped it with long, tanned fingers. He artfully flipped the card from finger to finger like some sort of sleight of hand before tucking it away, and Mycroft swore he could feel the redness creeping from his toes as suddenly he became aware of how dexterous those fingers were. Yes, totally unseemly to notice the length and dexterity of another man's fingers. Unseemly to notice how much you want to shake his hand again just to feel them. Oh, God.
"Thanks," Lestrade replied. "I'd give you mine, but I'm sure you know everything you want to about me, seeing as how you're the government and all." He laughed richly. "As least that's what Sherlock says. He's got all kinds of ridiculous notions. Babbles on about how he thinks you've got cameras hidden at Baker Street." He paused and lifted the shapely eyebrow again. "You don't, do you?"
"Wait," Lestrade interrupted, holding up a hand. "Don't tell me. I don't want to know."
A long, black sedan pulled up to the curb. Anthea, I could kiss you. Finally the minor government official returned and Mycroft straightened as he sniffed delicately. "Thank you for your time…Greg. If I need you, I'll call."
A slow smile made its way across Lestrade's face. "You do that, Mycroft. I look forward to hearing from you."
As the door shut and he slid into the leather seat, Mycroft groaned inwardly. 'If I need you, I'll call'? What in God's name was that? What was happening? And Greg—no, no, he needed to stay the 'Detective Inspector'. Much more formal, much more proper. English. What was with his smile and the 'You do that, Mycroft'? What was that?
"Drink, sir?" Anthea asked, her eyes glued to the BlackBerry.
"Talisker. Two fingers. Neat." Anthea's eyebrow rose. He never drank anything other than a gin and tonic in the car. "Just pour it," he snapped.
She poured and handed him the glass, and he drained it one long swallow. The burn was good, searing off the haze of feeling that was wildly unwanted. His mind drifted back to Lestrade and his parting words. He closed his eyes and hissed, "What was that?"
He almost dropped the glass.
"Wh-what?" he choked out.
"I assume you mean the little smile the detective inspector gave you. You looked rather…taken aback." Anthea continued typing without looking up. "And he looked rather pleased. Ergo, flirting."
"I'm sure I don't know—"
She sighed and put the phone down. "Shall I be frank, sir?"
"In case you weren't aware, DI Lestrade is bisexual. Common knowledge among the female staffers, sir. That sort of thing is, shall we say, intriguing to most women, and as he is very good-looking, word travels fast."
"How fast?" Mycroft's lips pursed.
"Faster than baby rumors for Wills and Kate."
"Exactly." She folded her hands. "But, I am reliably informed that he is currently single and has not been with a woman since his divorce, some months ago. There has been a great deal of disappointment and some kerfuffle, I might add, amongst the female contingency regarding that, but no steady boyfriends, either."
Mycroft felt the blood draining from his face as Anthea continued to speak. How did a simple handshake and its repercussions suddenly become a frank and rather off-putting discussion about the sexual proclivity and availability of one detective inspector?
"You know, cattiness, backstabbing," she waved her hand, "'whore' this, 'slag' that. You should feel lucky. Apparently, he's a catch." She picked up the phone and went back to typing.
"Why on earth should I feel lucky? I don't even know the man, much less trying to date him."Mycroft said indignantly.
"Aren't you? I watched from the corner, sir. And you gave him your card. You never give anyone your card," she pointed out.
"Your behavior, his smile. Flirting, sir. I would stake my reputation as a woman on it. When shall I arrange a meeting? You're free Tuesday after next for two hours at half-seven. Two hours is good for a first date."
"Date?" he choked.
"Date." She confirmed. "Now, shall I arrange it?"
He thought for a moment, attempting to make heads or tails of the situation. Nothing. Perhaps the only way to get rid of this was to confront it head on, like he did with everything else in his business affairs. Take charge, assess the situation, and procure the proper outcome. This was nothing, really. He would meet Lestrade again, and all of this nonsense would disappear. That's it, Holmes. Take matters into your own hands.
"No," he replied smoothly. "I'll deal with this myself."
"Very good, sir." She sat back and resumed typing.
He would figure out if there was any truth to Anthea's revelation. If there was anything behind the detective inspector's smile, if there was any sort of feeling going on. Now the question remained, what was it he, Mycroft Holmes, the cold and calculating servant of the Empire, was feeling? Mycroft's stomach turned. American telly hadn't prepared him for this.
The surveillance tapes arrived on Thursday, wrapped in a nondescript little package, complete with a note handwritten in a distinctive flourishing scrawl.
As I'm sure you're aware by now, my brother was right. Consider this a token of my appreciation for all you do for him. Will make your prosecution go smoothly. MH
The tapes, in fact, cemented Sherlock's deduction that it was the fishmonger after all, and the subsequent arrest had pleased his superiors.
Lestrade laid the note on his desk, studying it warily. He half-expected the damn thing to self-destruct after he'd read it, but for some reason he couldn't consign it to the bin. So, he just stared at it, occasionally fingering the crisp, white (and very expensive) cardstock. The note was very much like the man. Clean, efficient, and to the point.
Lestrade wanted to know more about the man and he'd tried, albeit unsuccessfully, to garner any information on the elder Holmes through official channels. Every door he tried was summarily shut in his face. Minor government position. Bollocks. He couldn't help but wonder if that's all he was. A suit wrapped in secrets and an umbrella.
He'd even gone so far as to try to twist some answers from Sherlock, but the sulky consulting detective was even more tight-lipped, refusing to reply to his subtle questioning, sending Sherlock into a rather long and protracted rant about physics, chemistry, and sentiment that he didn't completely understand. John Watson hadn't managed more than a sympathetic smile before attempting to calm his friend with the intriguing promise of an unsolved poisoning. Sherlock had glared at him and let it go.
He had to admit he was pleased at Mycroft's little fluster at his bit of flirt. He couldn't help it. The man was rather attractive, in a posh, aristocratic sort of way, and the subtle flush of his cheeks at their exchange only served to remind him how long it had been since he'd dated. Man or woman. Mycroft had looked more surprised than interested, but his instinct told him to go ahead. Nowadays, it was getting harder to tell who was gay and who wasn't. He still wasn't a hundred percent sure about Mycroft, but if he was a betting man, and he was (nasty vice, that), he'd put fifty quid on yes and sit back and watch the cash roll in.
He knew full well it was no big secret around the Yard that he was bisexual; he did enjoy the company of women, in bed and out, but there was a substantial (damn near all of it, to be honest) portion of his libido that relished the feel of a man beneath him. The solid feel of corded muscle, the hard plane of a sculpted chest, the strong slide of hands that knew all the right places to touch. Knew because the anatomy was the same. Less fumbling, less frustration, and so much more pleasure. It was all just a label, and he couldn't give a shit about labels. If he had, there was no way he would have ever allowed the freakishly brilliant consulting detective and his ever-patient Army doctor flatmate to solve cases for the Yard. And then he never would have met Mycroft. And he never would be wondering when he would see the minor governmental official again. Pesky things, labels.
The next gift (he really couldn't think of what else to call it) arrived on Friday, hand-delivered by royal courier. Lestrade unwrapped the package and spit coffee all over himself as he read the accompanying note, handwritten on more expensive stationary, the blazing red crest and the words "Buckingham Palace" emblazoned at the top of the letterhead. He dabbed at his tie and scanned the note in awe.
You are a credit to your profession. Please accept as a token of Our humble thanks. Elizabeth R.
Once he quit spluttering, he opened the box and pulled out a set of sterling silver and diamond cufflinks, embossed with the Queen's Diamond Jubilee crest. He frowned for a moment, wondering what nonsense his detectives were up to now when a creeping flush of realization dawned on him.
Mycroft Holmes, you cheeky bastard.
The weekend came and went without further contact from the elder Holmes. Twice (maybe closer to five times), Lestrade contemplated picking up the phone to ring him. He even made it as far as digging out Mycroft's card, having every digit pressed into his mobile, but he couldn't bring himself to hit send. The resulting anxiety had forced him to down three pints of lager and a carton of chocolate ice cream before finally succumbing to sleep. And damned if he didn't dream about exquisitely tailored suiting and umbrellas.
The last straw came Tuesday evening, just as he was finishing up some paperwork before leaving. There was a knock at his office door.
Sally Donovan entered with a dark brown folder marked 'Confidential'. "Sorry to bother you, boss. I know you're headed out, but a bloke dropped this off for you. Said it was important."
"What bloke?" he asked.
"Dunno," she shrugged, handing the folder over. "Government type. You know, expensive black suit, swarthy, sunglasses, earpiece. The whole nine yards. Gave me the willies."
He turned the folder over in his hands. "Government? You sure?"
"Absolutely, guv. He was definitely MI-something. Secret something." She backed out and closed the door quietly behind her.
Lestrade blew out a low breath and opened the folder, unsure of what he was about to see. The first item was a long-range surveillance photo of a woman exiting a high-rise somewhere in London. He looked closer at the photo and realized he was staring at his ex-wife's face as she left her solicitor's office building. His face crinkled into a full-on snarl as he looked at the next piece of paper in the folder. Another handwritten note. He recognized the dramatic scrawl immediately.
It pains me to know that your ex-wife has petitioned for full-custody and severe limitations on your visitation rights. Motions have already been drawn and submitted on your behalf. Rest assured, this will not come to pass. MH
Lestrade began to shake as a red haze passed over his vision. He hadn't even received notification yet, and here it was in black and white, confirmation of information that had bypassed him altogether. Anger began to flow through him. First at his ex, then at Mycroft. The audacity of that man! How dare he? Damn him and damn the government! The papers began to crumple in his fists when Sally returned.
"What?" he snapped.
"Sorry, but there's a car for you downstairs. Woman with a BlackBerry. Said you knew what this was about."
He growled and snatched his coat from the rack, shoving his arms inside, papers still clenched in his fist. "You're damn right I do. Bastard," he hissed, pushing past Sally at a dead run.