Protective

Lestrade stumbled out of the ambulance when they arrived at one of Mycroft's obscure facilities. The bioweapon was whisked away by men in hazmat suits to be locked up nice and tight, or whatever happened to most biohazardic threats.

Lestrade was ushered into a different part of the building, stripped down, cleansed, and tested for potential infection.

When he emerged from the testing area, he was given a set of sweats and delivered to Detective Skardon and Agent Peel to give them his statement on the case.

By the time he was finished, he was dozing on his bare feet. Unfortunately, Mycroft's agents were not able to get a pair of shoes in such short notice. Not like Lestrade cared much in his exhausted state.

Though, he was definitely awake enough to notice Mycroft's arrival.

"Agent Peel." Mycroft greeted. "Exemplary work today."

"We're just finishing up here." Peel smiled back at his superior.

Lestrade rubbed his eye. "Hey, Mycroft."

"Gregory. You look awful." Mycroft chuckled.

"I feel like a test subject that just got ran over by a truck." Lestrade groaned as he padded along on the linoleum floor with his bare feet, hair sticking up every which way from his shower, almost falling asleep.

It was adorable.

"Let's get you to bed." Mycroft smiled fondly.

"Mm." Lestrade grunted. "How are John and Sherlock doing?"

"John will make a full recovery." Mycroft told him. "Sherlock was touch and go for a while, but I'm afraid he'll live."

"That's good to hear." Lestrade mumbled, yawning.

Mycroft gently guided him into his car. "Yes, that is good. Now go to sleep."

Lestrade mumbled something intelligible and slumped bonelessly against Mycroft. Out like a light.

Mycroft smiled and brushed aside one particularly stray bang.

"You foolish, foolish man." He snorted. "You work too hard sometimes."

Then he settled back for a quiet ride.


Sherlock stirred and slowly blinked his eyes open to find himself staring at a dismal white ceiling. He vaguely remembered the ceiling in Dr. Kusch's office to be a faded yellow.

He inhaled. The air smelled of antiseptics and stale, conditioned air. Which could only mean...

"You're at the hospital." Said the voice of an angel.

Sherlock turned his heavy head with much difficulty and saw John laying in the hospital bed next to his. "...John?"

"Well, I think it's a hospital." John continued. "But it might not be, you never know with Mycroft."

"So, I take it you found the antidote?" Sherlock asked him at length.

John huffed out a laugh. "Quite chuffed about it myself, to tell you the truth." he said. "It was in the biscuit tin."

Sherlock thought about that for a moment or two. "I don't get it, why the Hell would it be in the biscuit tin?"

John snorted. "Should've known you wouldn't understand us normal people." he joked.

"...Lestrade?" Sherlock asked next.

"Successfully stopped the attack on the hospital... not this one, mind. The bioweapon didn't go off. Lestrade is with Mycroft now, resting." John smiled. "By the day I hear he's had, he deserves it."

There was a long, thoughtful silence. "I almost lost you, you know." John said, breaking it.

"I know." Sherlock replied quietly. "But I'm here."

He slid his hand slowly out from under his covers and John mirrored him, gently entwining their fingers between the two hospital beds.

"Here." John echoed quietly.

They lay in silence for a while, John in relief, and Sherlock deep in thought. Finally, Sherlock cleared his throat. "John?"

John opened his eyes. "What, Sherlock?"

Sherlock stared at the ceiling. "I think we should get married."

John snorted. Silence. The ex-army doctor struggled vaguely upright, leaning on his elbow to have a better look at his boyfriend. "God, you're serious."

Sherlock returned his gaze steadily. "Absolutely."

John thought about it for a second or two. "Okay."

"That's it?" Sherlock queried. "No, 'I'll think about it'? Just 'okay'?"

"What?" John snorted. "You want to do it now? I think there's a chapel in the hospital, we can just do it now and get it over with."

Sherlock chuckled. "Maybe later. But only because Mycroft would never let us live it down if both of us wore gowns to the wedding."

John looked down at his and Sherlock's hospital gowns and burst out laughing. "God, you're right. Let's think this through later, though, okay?"

"Go to sleep, John." Sherlock said soothingly.

"You too, you idiot." John returned wryly.


"The U.S Ambassador has safely returned to the United States." Mycroft said to his companion in the privacy of an unmarked car in an isolated underground parking lot. Much like where it all started. "Your plan failed... Detective Skardon."

Skardon sat silently beside Mycroft, arms and legs crossed, expression calm. The face of a woman who has made peace with her impending doom.

"It seems so." she replied simply.

Mycroft pressed his lips together slightly. She was an intelligent, tough woman. She would've made a wonderful agent. Pity, really.

"When was it?" He asked her. "When you decided to work with Professor Klaus and Dr. Kusch, instead of against them?"

"'Work with them'?" Skardon scoffed. "I had no intention of working with them, Mister Holmes. I only wished to use them."

Oh yes, she would've made a fine agent, indeed.

"CTC has always suspected Dr. Kusch of planning acts of terror, even before Professor Klaus entered the picture. You know, it wasn't even my idea to introduce Professor Klaus to Dr. Kusch. That was me simply following orders from the higher ups in CTC. And then I thought; why use Professor Klaus to gain Dr. Kusch's trust and get information on his plans? Why not just use the both of them for my own reasons?" Skardon uncrossed her arms. "Do you have a smoke?"

Mycroft offered her a pack.

Skardon lit up and sucked in a lungful of nicotine. "I told Professor Klaus that he was free to conduct whatever biohazardous experiments he wanted to, he'd have the funding. And I told Dr. Kusch that he had only to humor the professor until he perfected the weaponized chemicals. And then we would get rid of him." She exhaled and powered down her window a few inches to let the smoke out. "I knew Dr. Kusch would kill himself if he were ever in danger of getting caught. He was my partner in crime and my lover. He would never let himself incriminate me. He fell in love with me in a way that I've never fallen in love with him."

She reached into her breast pocket and pulled out a phone, handing it to Mycroft. "One day, Professor Klaus stumbled on proof that I was working with Dr. Kusch and he knew that we were going to kill him so he tried to get in touch with MI5 to turn me in. We had to speed things up a bit." She paused to suck on her cigarette. "My only regret is not that I failed, Mister Holmes. But that I got as far as I did." She smiled bitterly, blood red lipstick smudging on the butt of her cigarette. "I'm a copper. And the thing I hate more than anything, is bad policing."

"Is that what this was all about?" Mycroft asked. "A wake up call? To tell us how easy it was to fool us? How easy it would be to start a war?"

"Hardly." Skardon snapped. "I was just bored."

"And why are you telling me all this?" Mycroft asked. "I would've thought a woman like you would try to bargain with me. To set a price on your information."

"I just thought it would be nice for someone to know, just in case..." Skardon shrugged, looking wistful. She glanced at Mycroft. "Are you going to kill me?"

Mycroft shook his head. "I killed you five minutes ago." Then, he got out of the car and walked away to his waiting vehicle.

Skardon looked at the smoldering cigarette wedged between her fingers and let out a bitter laugh. Then, she bit down on the cigarette determinedly, crawled into the front seat, and ducked under the car's dashboard.

Mycroft didn't react when he heard Skardon's car start. And neither did he react when she gunned her engine and stepped on the gas pedal, driving headfirst into a wall with such a force that left no imagination to the fate of the sole occupant.

Mycroft sighed and glanced at the man in the driver's seat.

"She died as she lived." Sherrinford muttered, watching the car explode in the distance.

"On her own terms." Mycroft agreed.

"I find that women like that are irresistible... and scary."

"If she had not turned traitor, I would've liked her to work as one of my agents." Mycroft sighed. "Decent minions are so hard to find these days." He looked at his older brother. "On another note; did you really have to accompany me on this little errand?"

Sherrinford shrugged. "While it's true that we Holmeses don't grow fond of people often, when we do..." The elder Holmes clenched his jaw determinedly. "We look after our own, Mycroft. She was nearly responsible for the deaths of Sherlock, John, and Lestrade in one fell swoop. Some people these days... they need to know that they can't mess with us like that without expecting to face severe consequences."

Mycroft snorted. "You sound like Father."

"I was groomed to succeed him, as the firstborn, Mycroft." Sherrinford smirked. "I have much the same qualifications as you do. Even though I haven't used them in a while, it's like riding a bicycle."

Mycroft sighed and sank into his seat. "Let's go, Sherrinford."

"Home?" Sherrinford asked him.

Mycroft nodded, staring out of the window. "Home."


Lestrade woke up to the afternoon sunlight warming filtering through the window shades and warming his skin. He stirred and rolled over before he realized, from the unnatural dip and softness of the mattress beneath him, that he was not in his own bed.

He opened his eyes and saw Mycroft asleep in a stuffed armchair by the bed.

The government agent's brow was furrowed and his hands were clenched, one on the armrest, the other supporting his head. If Lestrade strained his ears, he could hear Mycroft grinding his teeth. Lestrade knew that Mycroft had a difficult job with many dangers and horrible consequences to bad decisions and he knew those mistakes weighed heavily on Mycroft.

Lestrade was just a copper and he couldn't help with what kind of troubles Mycroft struggled with daily, but he could help with the nightmares.

He swung his legs off the bed and tiptoed to Mycroft. He brushed aside Mycroft's disheveled bangs and planted a gentle kiss on the man's forehead right where the tension gathered between his eyes.

Mycroft stirred at the contact and opened his eyes. "Gregory." he murmured.

"You were having a nightmare." Lestrade told him.

Mycroft blinked and looked contrite. "I didn't disturb your sleep, did I?" Lestrade tilted his head and made a noncommittal noise. "Ah, I'm sorry." Mycroft sighed.

"Don't be. You and I have dangerous jobs that sometimes puts us and people close to us in danger, and that worries you, I get it." Lestrade said kindly. "It's not the first time you've had a nightmare."

Mycroft looked slightly ashamed about that. "Ah." was all he said.

Lestrade smiled and shook his head. "And every morning after a nightmare, you'd sleep in for a few precious seconds longer and I'd watch the sunlight turn your skin into white gold and I'll kiss you awake to remind you that these are the dreams we should be having." He flicked Mycroft's wayward bang. "It's nothing to be embarrassed of. Nightmares are just that, My. Nightmares. They can't hurt you, and better yet, they can't hurt us. There's nothing shaming in having them."

Mycroft blushed slightly. "'My'?" he questioned.

"Erm..." Lestrade coughed self-consciously. "Should I not?"

Mycroft shook his head. "I don't mind."

Lestrade smiled. "Good."

"Just, not in front of Sherlock or Sherrinford."

Lestrade laughed.

"Come to bed, My."


Beatrice Lestrade was in the soothing process of washing dinner dishes when the call came. She calmly dried her hands and picked up the phone.

"Is it done?" was all she asked evenly.

"Yes." Mycroft replied. "I am grateful for your assistance in picking out Detective Skardon as a traitor."

"My specialty in the Secret Service was in counter-espionage." Beatrice smiled. "Glad to know I've still got it."

"Still, I am in your debt."

Beatrice scoffed. "Gregory is my son, Mister Holmes." The former spymaster said to Mycroft. "I wouldn't forgive anyone who would harm him. Not even if it was you." she told him.

Mycroft understood the veiled threat.

"I wouldn't have it any other way, Mrs. Lestrade."

Both former and current spymasters smiled in mutual understanding and hung up simultaneously.