Greg has been expecting the phone call ever since Sherlock had stormed out of his office earlier, a cloud of irritation and a suspiciously amused John trailing behind him. He swings his legs up on his desk, glad of even the very limited privacy of the empty and dark office around him, and taps the button on his mobile. "Lestrade."
"Detective Inspector," the voice on the other end of the line says, smoothly urbane, the vowels clipped and the consonants dropping precisely into place.
He can't help the grin that emerges when he hears the hint of the exasperation in Mycroft's voice. "I'd apologise, but you can always tell when I'm lying. Besides, he's your brother."
A pause and then Mycroft's voice changes, the exasperation deepening but being joined by something like well-hidden amusement. "A fact for which, I suspect, you give daily thanks."
"You suspect?" Greg teases. "What, you don't have CCTV evidence and detailed transcripts of my heartfelt prayers?"
"Even I would hesitate to intrude upon the relationship between a man and his God, Inspector," Mycroft says solemnly and Greg grins into the darkness, relieved. Things can't be so bad if Mycroft is still joking. He hears the subtle creak of Mycroft's no doubt expensive and comfortable chair and winces: at this hour his back probably hurts as much as Greg's own.
He gets back to the topic, such as it is. "How did you get rid of him in the end?"
"'Get rid' of him, Inspector?" Mycroft's tone all but drips Plausible Deniability. "I merely pointed out to him that if he wished to intrude upon matters that are my jurisdiction, so to speak, he should be prepared to take a more active role in future proceedings."
Greg idly wonders what said jurisdiction is actually based on but then quickly gives up the direction of his thoughts as both unproductive and dangerous. The Mycroft Holmes he's seen – three times on the periphery of crime scenes gone bad and once getting into a car outside Sherlock's – is tall and well-dressed but could probably easily disappear in any crowd of besuited city men. The Mycroft Holmes, on the other hand, that Greg has been dealing with over the years in quiet phone calls and seemingly random bouts of paperwork is as intriguing and powerful as he is elusive. Except, truly elusive top secret civil servants would hardly call aging DIs for what amounts to little more than chats, would they? Lately Greg has been forcing himself not to think about Mycroft's possible reasons; it's not only unproductive and futile but also rapidly heading towards a mire of frustrated disappointment he simply cannot bear to have to deal with.
Forcibly clearing his mind he pictures Sherlock's sulking face instead. "Did you threaten to offer him a job again?"
"Such an ugly word," Mycroft chides and Greg can hear his quiet exhale and another creak of his chair. His back must be killing him; normally Mycroft can sink into an absolute stillness that's probably not even forced or feigned.
"It's Friday," he says randomly, half-listening to the traffic outside.
"Full points for observation, Inspector," Mycroft says sounding exactly like his brother, though Greg would think twice before saying so out loud without sufficient provocation.
"Just tell me that at least one of us gets to sleep this weekend," he says instead. His own is not looking very promising, what with the mountain of paperwork Sherlock has helped unleash. Mycroft is silent for so long that Greg grins at his own reflection in the dark window. "Admit it, the idea is appealing."
"So it is," Mycroft says with an actual sigh and for a moment Greg can almost picture him at some impressively large desk with the light turned down for the evening. He would love to run his hands over the wool of his suit, loosen his tie, pull him in for—he clenches his teeth and fights down the flush that's rising in him like a wave. Mycroft is a Holmes, who knows how much of this he would be able to tell over the phone?
"Dunno about you, but I've been daydreaming about a hot shower and no more paperwork for hours now," he says quickly just to say something and curses himself because now his imagination offers him an enticing view of Mycroft's long limbs stretched out in a bathtub, loose and flushed, and he digs his free hand into his thigh for a vicious pinch to force his mind elsewhere. It's beyond pathetic, at his age. And it's not like he can even remember in detail what Mycroft looks like.
"Paperwork is not a particular enemy of mine, alas," Mycroft says smoothly and Greg suppresses a quick sigh of relief because his tone is entirely normal. "However, I can fully commiserate with you on having to spend too much time on, ah, fixing other people's mistakes as it were."
"Well, here's to us having survived another week then," Greg says and takes a sip of his stone cold tea. "And not having killed Sherlock."
There is a smile in Mycroft's quiet "indeed", a real one, and Greg grins into the darkness feeling ridiculously pleased with himself.
"I shall leave you to your paperwork, Inspector," Mycroft continues smoothly. "Have a good evening."
"You too," Greg says just before the call disconnects and he frowns into the sudden silence. It's not really like Mycroft to call for no discernable reason and not actually say or ask anything. Except it's not exactly Greg's habit to waste ten minutes of his already stretched overtime to talk to somebody just so he can listen to their voice either, which is what their conversation amounts to in the end. He has his reasons of course and once again he forces his mind not to dwell on Mycroft's. Holmeses move in mysterious ways. And besides, the thin thread of not-quite-but-almost-hope will be a great help in getting him through the evening.