Disclaimer: I own nothing. Not one teeny, tiny little dot. ACD deserves the credit for the orginals and Mr Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat for the characters in this guise.


"Fancy a Smoke?"

The blue flashing lights of about a dozen police cars...fourteen to be exact...were beginning to make his eyes ache.

One would have thought that seeing as they had been there for...he glanced down at the watch cupped gently in his palm...74 minutes and 52...53...seconds precisely they could have taken the courtesy to switch those damned things off; by the time he made it back to the office he was going to have the most terrible migraine; he could feel the spiralling tension already forming behind his eyes.

Mycroft Holmes pressed his pale fingers against his eyes and gave a frustrated sigh, just as a heavy drop of water splashed on the end of his nose.

And the thought of the bulging red paper file lying half-read and un-dealt with on his desk deep within the maze of Whitehall just added to the dull thudding inside his skull.

Not that there was anything to do done until the Met were satisfied and every paper-clip had been checked and double-checked for hidden incendiary devices.
The threat would, of course, turn out to be just that, as it had every time they had been forced out into the London drizzle within the past year; the result of the over-imagination of some low-level civil servant with far too much time on their hands.
He had no doubt the police were becoming as bored of the routine as he.

"Fancy a smoke?" Mycroft turned his head slowly to meet the gaze of a young constable who had stealthily approached from his left and was holding out a rather bedraggled pack of Dorchester's. He allowed his eyes to linger somewhat longingly on the waterlogged packet-three weeks Mycroft, don't-before lifting his gaze to the numerous tutting figures of his superiors, mere shadows through the grey sheet of rain. The officer gave a wry smile, "It's okay. No-one's looking."

Passing his eyes over the figure of the man beside him-scuffed toes of his shoes-two years and eleven months as a constable; to the red grazes on his knuckles-recklessness holding him back and blossoming purple smudges beneath his eyes-still working tirelessly to prove his superiors wrong-he pulled a white stick out and slipped it between his lips, watching as nimble fingers flicked a red, disposable lighter into life.

The first puff was pure heaven before the inevitable guilt at breaking his New Year's resolution set in.

"Thank you," his words slipping out around the cigarette, "It seems I forgot my own in the…" he paused, breathing out a slow stream of smoke, his tone languid, "…panic."

The young man didn't look at him as he sighed, flicking grey ash to the pavement with a casual twist of the wrist.
"No worries," he raised his eyebrows and tilted his chin motioning towards the heavy clouds shrouding the city, raindrops clinging to his eyelashes and darkening his thick hair.
"It's not exactly the nicest way to spend a Wednesday afternoon is it? This must be the third scare in about four months."

"Second in three and a half," Holmes corrected sharply, trying to decide whether to stub out his half-smoked cigarette or risk the onslaught of his conscience when he returned to the office.

He took a long drag, savouring the tang before letting the stick slip from his fingers and crushing it beneath his heel.

As he did so the young man beside him gave a generous chuckle.

"Been counting have you?"

"It's my job to notice things precisely," Mycroft flicked his gaze sideways, his voice cold, "as a police officer I'm sure you understand."

He was beginning to wonder whether entering the building would be any safer following the police sweep; he hoped the squad combing the building were more observant than this young constable.

The police officer didn't seem to miss the jibe, the smile slipping from his face. He gave a stiff shrug, his standard issue mac rustling and took another drag on his cigarette. Mycroft sucked in the smoke as it swirled past his face, wishing he hadn't extinguished his own.

When he spoke the man's voice was tighter than before.

"And what do you do in there?"

Straightening up so that he could lord it over the younger man in all his 6'1" glory the young politician gave a pointed stare and firmly pressed his lips into a straight line. He'd dealt with this question a million and one times before, always the first to be raised in any polite introduction after names were exchanged. This time he didn't even bother to lie, just pushed his hands into his pockets and looked straight ahead, unmoving.

A nervous chuckle sounded in his ears; Mycroft started. People didn't laugh at him, not unless he wanted them to.

"Oh! One of those I-could-tell-you-but-I'd-have-to-kill-you jobs?"

"Don't be so ridiculously vacuous," it was snapped more viciously than intended and Mycroft scolded himself inwardly for allowing his emotions to go unchecked for a moment. Quickly he collected himself, twisting his fingers into the fabric lining his pockets and focusing his attention on a shadow moving behind one of the windows above: rain spattered against his face and not for the first time he longed for the umbrella that was currently leaning against his desk, bone-dry.

He kept his expression hard and tried to keep the contempt from his voice.

"I hold a minor position in the civil service; no more than a desk job and certainly nothing as intriguing as your imagination has constructed."

Mycroft cast his gaze sideways at exactly the same moment as the shorter constable, his blue eyes locking with brown momentarily.

"Lestrade!"

Both men turned towards the rain-washed figure, dressed in an identical, dark coat, a soaked cap sitting haphazardly on her head. She gave a lopsided smirk, ignoring the civil servant completely and gave a sharp head twitch, beckoning the officer forward.

"Quit with the mother's meetin' and get a shift on. Coleman wants us to check out the bins round back. Police work, can't say we don't get the glamorous jobs."

Holmes' lips almost pulled up at that…almost.

He didn't pretend he wasn't glad to see the other man go.

He offered a farewell for mere politeness; a short nod that was returned with a forced smile and then immediately pulled out his watch, wondering how much longer the Met would keep them waiting in this downpour.

What he did not expect was to have a crumpled umbrella thrust into his hands as the constable…Lestrade…strode past.

"Here!" the young man turned without stopping, his lips quirked upwards and chin tipped forward with attractive impishness. Mycroft stared after him, glad he had never been prone to blushing when he received a wink, "Wouldn't want that suit to get ruined."

The man vanished behind the rain curtain and Mycroft allowed himself the briefest smile as he flicked open the device and revelled in its instant shelter; it was probably too late for his suit but the gesture was very much appreciated.