Mycroft sat in John's designated armchair across from Sherlock, the two brothers stared each other down stubbornly.
Mycroft was the first to break the silence. "I will endeavor to date Gregory, Sherlock." he said simply. "I am not asking for your blessing or approval, I am simply informing you of my decision."
"I hate you Mycroft." Sherlock growled back almost before Mycroft even finished his sentence. "You. No. You cannot do this. I met Lestrade first. If you get him to work for you, I will hate you forever." He trailed off, an odd look on his face and amended his statement. "No, scratch that, I always hate you. I want you to die, Mycroft. In a ditch. Beaten by your own umbrella, choked to death with that horrible chocolate cake you love, and run over by your precious cars." He glowered. "Just die."
Mycroft blinked impassively. "Careful, Sherlock. You're smothering me with brotherly love." he said dryly.
John came at that moment with tea. "I don't see what the big problem is, Sherlock." he said as he handed Mycroft a cup. "They like each other - have liked each other for ages!" He served Sherlock tea next. "I think it's all very lovely, and about damn time."
Sherlock looked imploringly at John. "But dating demands sufficient time spent together."
"That's the thing about dating, Sherlock." John sighed back.
"You're worried he's going to spend all his time with me instead of giving cases to you." Mycroft said, more a statement than a question.
"I do not rely solely on Scotland Yard for cases, Mycroft." Sherlock snapped back.
"But you do rely on them to make arrests." John pointed out.
"Are you on his side, or mine?" Sherlock asked, feigning hurt.
"Neither, I'm on Greg's." John shrugged. "One thing I learned; when you Holmeses are having a spat, root for the side that's not involved."
"But Lestrade is involved." Sherlock shot back. "He's the subject of debate."
"Then, don't you think he should be here to hear it?" John hinted. "You know, he might have a thing or two to say about the matter."
Sherlock and Mycroft exchanged glances. "No."
John blinked, baffled. "Why not?"
"Because it's Gregory." Mycroft said in the tone Lestrade usually reserved for the words; Because it's Sherlock! "In the end, it's only his vote that holds any power."
Sherlock grunted in agreement.
"And if we invite him, the decision would be made speedily. And we..." Mycroft motioned between himself and Sherlock. "...wouldn't even have the opportunity to disagree about anything!"
"For once, Mycroft's right." Sherlock nodded.
"You two..." John shook his head despairingly. "I don't think I've ever seen two brothers who relish arguing as much as you do."
"Anyway." Mycroft finished off his tea and stood. "I should be off. I only came by to inform you of my decision, brother."
"What? Leaving so soo-..."
Sherlock clapped a hand over John's mouth. "Oh, thank God. Call in Mrs. Hudson on your way out, would you?"
Mycroft rolled his eyes. "I'm sure you are perfectly capable to do it your self, Sherlock." And he left.
He did not call Mrs. Hudson.
The next day, Lestrade found a single long stemmed red rose on the shotgun seat of his car. He sat behind the wheel for a moment, staring at it. Then he picked it up and noticed that the thorns had been meticulously sawed off for him.
He sat for a few more minutes, staring at the rose in his hand. He had a feeling he knew exactly who would leave a rose in his car. In fact, he was quite certain that there was only one man in the world who would do so.
Then he remembered that he had to get to work and hastily threw his car into gear. He wondered if he had something like a vase at the office.
"I like the new decoration." Donovan smirked when she saw the rose lying on Lestrade's desk.
"I found it in the car this morning." Lestrade explained.
"From a secret admirer?" Donovan asked with a knowing smile. "...Or, a not so secret one?"
Lestrade just picked the rose up again and smiled, slightly embarrassed. What kind of man had other men leaving roses in his car anyway?
Later that day, Lestrade interviewed a seven-year-old witness to a murder and gave her the pretty rose as a distraction from the bad memories.
He grinned at her toothless smile. It was beautiful.
When he returned to his office there was another identical rose on his desk... in a small, white vase made from porcelain.
He had to turn away to keep Donovan from seeing the smile break out across his face. "Bloody Mycroft." he grunted around his blush.
Donovan just looked indulgently at him. "Good to see you back in the game, Sir." she grinned.
Lestrade had half a mind to hold her in contempt just for that.
Lestrade caught Dimmock that night, just as he was about to sneak out.
Lestrade looked him up and down. "You're looking tidy." he remarked at his casual, but clean, attire.
Dimmock's face immediately exploded into the colour of tomatoes. "I - um..."
"Got a date?" Lestrade asked innocently.
"Yeah..." Dimmock gave a silly grin. "With Molly."
"Look at you!" Lestrade exclaimed. "All grown up." He ruffled Dimmock's combed hair.
Dimmock yelped and frantically patted his hair back down with his hands. "We're going to a movie, and then maybe dinner." he told Lestrade.
"Sounds like fun." Lestrade smiled back at his surrogate brother. "But don't try seafood. Molly's allergic to alot of it, and the stuff that she isn't allergic to, she doesn't like." He informed helpfully.
"I'll keep that in mind." Dimmock nodded soberly.
Lestrade nodded his head in the direction of the door. "Well, don't keep her waiting!"
Dimmock eagerly scampered off like an excited little dog. Lestrade just chuckled.
Mycroft's car pulled up just as Lestrade himself was leaving the Yard. He opened the door this time, instead of simply powering down the window. "Dinner, Inspector?" he smiled.
Lestrade smiled back. "I'm starving."
They drove to a cozy little diner, not too fancy, not too local. They sipped reservedly at wine as they waited for their orders to be delivered.
"So..." Lestrade prompted as he removed his wine glass from his mouth and licked his lips nervously. "...Is this, like, a date?"
Mycroft inclined his head a degree or two. "I suppose it may be classifed as such."
Lestrade rolled his eyes and smiled. "You know, a simple 'yes' could've sufficed."
"It could've, but what's the fun in that?" Mycroft's fingers fidgeted on the stem of his glass.
Their food came just at the break in their conversation and they began eating. Lestrade told Mycroft about Dimmock's date and Mycroft told Lestrade about his earlier talk with Sherlock.
"'Beaten by your own umbrella, choked to death with that horrible chocolate cake you love, and run over by your precious cars'?" Lestrade smirked. "Wow, Mycroft, never heard that one before."
"He was quite... vehement about his absolute loathing of me." Mycroft shrugged.
"He'll get over it." Lestrade said encouragingly.
"I've been waiting for that moment his entire life." Mycroft sighed in a long-suffering way.
Lestrade just laughed.
Mycroft dropped Lestrade off at his flat and Lestrade was not in the least surprised to see his car already parked at his usual spot. He climbed out of the vehicle and smiled at Mycroft. "I had a great time, Mycroft, thanks."
Mycroft smiled back. "The pleasure was all mine." He moved to close the door.
"And the rose was lovely." Lestrade continued, causing Mycroft to stop and listen. "Well, ...both were." he amended.
"I am glad you enjoyed them." Mycroft nodded and moved to close the car door again.
"And the vase!" Lestrade called out just before the door slammed closed and Mycroft pulled it all the way open again.
"Best porcelain in the country, no doubt." Mycroft replied with a dry look.
"Sorry, I'm just pulling your leg." Lestrade chuckled.
"Forgiven." Mycroft shook his head with an amused smile and swung the car door shut... nearly. He opened it again. "No interruption this time?" His expression was so cool that butter wouldn't melt in his mouth.
Lestrade laughed. "Not this time, don't worry."
"Oh, thank God." Mycroft closed the door finally and the car drove off.
Lestrade just shook his head at Mycroft's antics and chuckled.
Roses continued to be sent to Lestrade after that. Every single one a brilliant velvet crimson with the thorns sawed off. That is, until Lestrade decided that he had had enough of all the giggling and whispering of the other coppers and retaliated by sending all sorts of flowers to Mycroft's desk until Mycroft agreed to stop, complaining that the garish yellow sunflower, large, healthy, trimmed a foot under the bud and plopped messily into a glass, was obstructing his view of his desk.
Lestrade had been slightly disappointed... he had been going for the Venus Flytrap next, afterall.