A/N: I don't even know where I got the idea for this story. But I quite like it. Originally it was supposed to be a funny story, but it turned out more serious than I expected. Still, despite some sad themes, please, don't think that this story is sad. I surely don't.
This is kind of a crossover, but not really, because, even though it takes place at Hogwarts, Harry Potter characters are only briefly mentioned. The story takes place before Harry went to Hogwarts.
This is unbeted, because I really wanted to post it as soon as possible. I'll send it to my beta later and take care of all the mistakes. I hope there are not many.
The castle was magnificent. Mighty, beautiful, so full of power and elegance. Yes, the castle was magnificent.
And Gregory Lestrade was dead. Dead in that magnificent castle.
It could have been sad, devastating even, if he still had it in himself to care. There were only a few things that still stirred some emotion in him, few people who got any response other than indifference.
Oh, hell, he was brooding again. It happened to him once every other year. It was never good. A brooding ghost was such a cliché he wouldn't allow himself to become one. Furthermore they had Grey Lady for that. Who'd want to be just another brooding ghost when they already had that woman?
The sound of voices brought him back from his apathetic musings. The Potions must have ended and the students, first years happily escaping their most feared Professor, were chatting obnoxiously loud just to dispel the gloomy atmosphere of the dungeons. Greg himself hated the dungeons but it was the one place those insufferable brothers never visited. They preferred towers, those two. One occupied the Ravenclaw Tower, Greg suspected that the pompous bastard had somehow actually managed to become friends with the Grey Lady. The other preferred the Astronomy Tower, gazing longingly at the distance during moonlit nights; not that Greg had ever seen him do that, but he highly suspected. At moments like this it was better not to run into those annoying arrogant brothers.
The first years passed him, hidden in an alcove, and he caught bits of their conversation. Poor Gryffindors, a quiet red haired boy and his loud Scottish friend, not so subtly complaining about all the horrors Professor Snape had bestowed upon them. Oh, that was just the beginning of their seven years of suffering, Greg thought. Still as apathetically he floated after them – the boys didn't notice the soundless ghost.
He was bored and brooding. Maybe spying on Professor Trelawney's lesson could entertain him; the school year had just started and she had already predicted a certain death to three students. And that's where, distracted by his thoughts once again, he forgot about all the caution. He lifted his eyes from the dull stone floor only to see a translucent figure of Mycroft Holmes floating above the stairs leading to the Great Hall. Pale eyes of a ghost, tinted slightly with darker grey – almost close to the man's actual eye color, followed his movement until Greg crossed from the exit of the dungeons to the bottom of the stairs.
"Good evening, Gregory." A cool voice made him pause on his way up.
"Mycroft," he replied in tone, not looking up.
"Oh, I see you are in a bad mood today." Mycroft observed, his tone calm and with icy notes of a voice from beyond the grave. As Greg floated past him, the other ghost turned around slowly, his feet not touching the ground, and followed a step behind.
"I'm not in the mood for your mind games today."
"But what's left to do if the mind is all we are now?" Mycroft asked.
Greg snorted. "Yeah, that's what I'm talking about." He turned around the corner, hoping the other ghost would leave him alone. When Mycroft simply followed he muttered. "I hope your brother is not around."
"Sherlock?" Mycroft asked, as if it needed confirmation. "He's been strangely nice later."
"Well, that's new."
"I think he likes John."
"That new Defense Against Dark Arts teacher?" Greg glanced over his shoulder to see the other ghost nod. "He's nice. I was hoping kids would finally learn something useful. It's a shame that that spell…"
"Well, they do say that this position is cursed." Mycroft said with no emotion in his voice. It might have been because he was a ghost, but Greg though it was simply because the man didn't care. Mycroft was more than capable of showing emotions, but the fact that a professor had died within Hogwarts walls did not bother him. Truth be told, it did not bother Greg either. When you were already on the other side death didn't seem like a big deal anymore.
"I was hoping he'd stay a professor for a while bit longer."
"Unfortunately, Defense Against Dark Arts, unlike History of Magic, could not be taught by incorporeal being."
"Actually I mean I wish he lived longer."
"But that was a nice way to replace the word 'dead'." Greg said, seeing the other ghost's abashment. "Incorporeal…You sound so old-fashioned sometimes."
"Actually, that word is not old-fashioned at all." Mycroft hastened to correct. "Anyway," they glided around another corner. "Sherlock was showing John the castle the other day."
"John had already seen it." Greg sent the other ghost an amused look. "Worked here for a year, actually."
"Well, according to Sherlock, everything looks different when you are a ghost." Mycroft's eye roll and haughty tone told more about what he thought of his brother's idea than his words. Oddly, it made Greg smile. Yes, those brothers could be hell to talk to, but their own sibling rivalry was quite amusing.
"Never noticed any big change." Greg commented and it earned him a smile in return. Suddenly he remembered something that he was meaning to tell the other ghost for the whole week now. He didn't get a chance before, spending most of his time brooding in the dungeons. "Do you know that John tried to warn the new professor off?"
Mycroft's face transformed to surprise and then amusement, the change not as quick as it could have happened had he still been alive. "Interesting." He smiled.
"Yeah…I told him though that the curse does not necessary mean that the new Professor will die."
"Did it help?"
"I'm not sure." Greg shrugged. Casually he glided through the wall, bored with pretending that walls were barriers for him and walking along the corridors. "He still seemed nervous last time I saw him."
"And that was…?" Mycroft's unfinished question trailed away, allowing Greg to finish it himself, as the other ghost appeared on the other side of the wall with him.
"I'm not sure." Greg frowned, trying to remember. He turned around, noticing absently that they were now in the Trophy Room. "Probably a couple of weeks ago. Not that long."
And that was the major problem of being a ghost. Time simply didn't matter. Who would care about time if they had an eternity? Quite frequently, Greg lost the track of time. But Mycroft not, Mycroft never forgot what the date was, or how long had it been since they had last seen each other. Greg would have found it fascinating had he not been feeling so apathetic at that moment.
"Gregory," Mycroft sighed. There was no sound of footsteps to tell Greg if the other ghost was following him or not, but he got the impression that Mycroft had stopped. He glanced over his shoulder and, true enough, the other ghost was hovering by the case representing Hogwarts Awards for Services to the School. Greg had spent many hours listening to what students did to get those awards in his early years as a ghost.
Mycroft was staring at him in mild exasperation. "Gregory," he repeated with feeling, the cold voice from beyond the grave colored with genuine concern.
Greg ignored it in favor of his own irritation. "Mycroft," he echoed with a fake sigh. When the other ghost did nothing but stare at him patiently, Greg turned away, crossing the Trophy Room and then going through the door to the Armour Gallery. He was sure the other ghost would follow, and if not, all the better for him.
"Gregory, wait!" Mycroft rarely raised his voice, but as he followed Greg along the corridor with suits of armor on every side, he seemed to lose his cool.
"Mycroft, I don't want to talk about it." He grumbled.
"So you do know what I'm about to say?"
"Not exactly, no." Greg paused again, giving the other ghost time to catch up. "But the subject is more than familiar to me."
"Maybe you should stop running away then?" Mycroft asked softly. Slowly he floated toward the other ghost. His translucent form acquired a silvery glow in the warm light of the candles and the remaining rays of the setting sun that managed to get through the dusty windows. He was a ghost, but he was beautiful. All lean and gracious, every movement elegant and swift, every turn of his head like a pose for a portrait. There was one painting of him in the castle; a man in tailored black robes with a small blue and bronze pin on the lapel betraying his loyalty to his Hogwarts House. His eyes were sharp as they regarded the passers-by, dark grey but clear with intelligence of this amazing man. Mycroft Holmes. A man whose input in Wizarding Law was so great, his works were still studied and analyzed. A great man once. Now merely a ghost. Greg had never asked why Mycroft did not move on. Why did he choose to stay on this plane, neither alive, nor dead?
As Greg observed him quietly the other ghost moved to float right in front of him.
"As a ghost," Mycroft started quietly. He did not miss Greg's flinch at the words. "This is one thing you can not ignore."
"This is all that is left to do?" Greg asked bitterly. He did not expect an answer, but Mycroft still replied, his voice gentle and lacking the usual coldness. The eternal cold that was a part of them.
"I wouldn't say that. There are other…things to occupy your time other than brooding over-"
"Don't." Greg interrupted him harshly.
"Gregory," Mycroft's sad wistful eyes regarded him calmly. "Don't be like that. You are a strong honorable man…"
"A dead man."
"Yes, dead." The way he said it, it sounded like something one might be proud of. Or at least something not to be ashamed of. "We found our peace in a place different from the others."
"We are here because we did not find peace." Greg contradicted.
"Long time ago – maybe." Mycroft said simply. Like it was such a simple matter. "Now I just get happiness where I can find it." He lifted his chin defiantly.
"Happiness? For a ghost?" Greg snorted unbelievingly.
"Content, then." Mycroft amended quickly.
"That's stupid." He rolled his eyes and made a move to float away but a hand wrapped around his wrist, stopping him.
"Is it?" The other ghost asked in a whisper, letting go of his wrist and reaching out to gently cradle his cheek. The touch was cool, but not ice cold as it would have felt for a living creature. It was soft and so careful, the other ghost ready to withdraw his hand and leave at a mare sign that the gesture was unwelcome.
Greg gazed into his eyes and leaned into the touch slightly. "I don't know," he replied, as softly.
Mycroft gave him a little smile, kind and loving and just a tad bit sad. "See," he said. "It's not stupid at all." And then he leaned in, closing the distance between their lips, and left a soft feather light kiss before drawing back.
"Maybe it's not." Greg muttered before sealing their lips in another kiss.
The sun had set, but the Armour Gallery was alight with the soft glow of the candles. The dark settled over the Hogwarts castle; but this time the dark was just the dark, the absence of sunlight didn't have any deeper meaning than that. And Gregory Lestrade's sadness, the kind that came over him once every year, dissipated.
So what if it was the anniversary of his death. Even in death he managed to find happiness. Or, to be fair, it was Mycroft Holmes who found him first.
A/N: Did anyone recognize the two first years?;)
Please, let me know your thoughts about this story.