"Hello?" Greg's voice on the far end of the phone was tired, almost confrontational, and Mycroft almost reconsidered the intelligence behind waiting until the evening to make the phone call.
"Gregory, is now a bad time?"
"Not at all. Happens to be the perfect time to distract me from the paperwork your brother generates, actually." Greg's tone had softened.
"Good timing indeed," Mycroft agreed. "Would you be available this Friday evening?"
"Let me just check." A rustling came from the end of the line as Greg dug through his desk for his planner. "Free as a bird after six."
"In which case, may I request your arrival at half past seven?"
"Sure. Email me the address, I'll just lose it if I write it down. Anything I should bring?"
"Just yourself. Have you any allergies that I should be aware of?"
"Nope. I'll see you on Friday. Got to run, this paperwork won't do itself, no matter how hard I will it to."
"Paperwork fairies failing to carry out their duties?" Mycroft asked, surprised to gain an almost startled laugh in reply.
"Yeah, something like that. Bye."
"Until Friday," Mycroft replied, and the line went dead.
Greg was not entirely sure that he was turning up at Mycroft's home for a date. The majority of signs suggested that that was the case. But Mycroft was a Holmes, and if Sherlock was anything to go by, their ideas of social norms were not, well, the norm. He had made an effort worthy of a date, regardless. Shined his nice black shoes, ironed his good pair of black trousers and paired them with a pale green button up. The shirt was one of his favourites.
When Mycroft opened the door in a slightly toned down version of his usual suit (his jacket was off, but the waistcoat remained on. The long sleeves of the shirt were rolled up to his elbows) Greg was glad that he had made the effort and did not feel too under dressed.
They chatted amicably as they ate, Greg expressing his approval of the food. A creamy Carbonara sauce, served with pasta that Mycroft had made fresh. Greg, who sometimes got distracted when cooking bagged, dried pasta and ended up with an overly-watery mess, was impressed and made sure to make the fact very clear. When they were done they moved to the living room with their mugs of coffee. They sat on the sofa together in companionable quiet, occasionally murmuring a few words to each other.
The house was at the edge of the city, rather than its busy centre. A large window in the living room looked out over the small back garden. Beyond the back wall, silently and slowly being engulfed by the darkness of the night, spread a large park.
"A short walk, perhaps?" Mycroft suggested, following Greg's gaze out of the window. "It is supposed to aid digestion."
The walk continued their companionable, comfortable silence. Greg revelled in it. Work was so loud, required so much verbal communication, that he was particularly fond of those he could just be quiet with. John was good for it, always willing to meet for a beer or two, have a brief, fond complain about Sherlock, then sit quietly and watch whichever game was on at the time. Neither man followed any sport closely enough to make it worth the din which surrounded big matches, so they avoided the pubs at those times. There was something extra, however, in the silence he shared with Mycroft.
Their shoulders and arms bumped on occasion as they walked. Fingers brushing but never quite managing to link together. They stopped back on Mycroft's front doorstep, Greg planning to continue his walk home once the other man was inside.
"It was very pleasant to see you, Gregory," Mycroft started.
"Thanks for cooking for me. I'd offer to return the favour, but all I can really do well is risotto. And it'd never compare."
"Risotto sounds wonderful, on the contrary. I am sure that you underestimate your own skill. I am free next Saturday, or the following Thursday, should either suit." Greg knew that he was being offered an out, should he not wish to host. He could refuse both days; Mycroft would not attempt to schedule a third unless he could offer one himself.
"I can do Saturday, I'm only working the morning. Seven okay with you?"
"Seven would be perfect. Email me the address?"
"Like you don't already have it," Greg replied, grinning. "I'll send it to you anyway. Night Mycroft." Without allowing himself to chicken out Greg leant forward and pressed a very brief, very chaste kiss to Mycroft's lips. He spun on his heel, heading down the path to the road without waiting for a response. It left the ball entirely in Mycroft's court.
"Until Saturday, Gregory." Greg could not help but smile at the words which floated after him in the cool, May night air.
Saturday morning for Greg began with a body with no obvious cause of death in an alleyway. When, by the early afternoon, the forensic team had found suspicious amounts of nothing, Greg swallowed his pride and sent a text to Sherlock. As soon as he had a reply in the affirmative he sent Anderson off for an early lunch. He was going to be pressed for time in the evening, he did not need a Sherlock based headache to top it off.
Sherlock arrived and bounced around the room in his usual exuberant fashion. John trailed in behind him, and the look of gratitude that he shot in Greg's direction told the DI that Sherlock's boredom had been reaching unbearable levels in the week since he had last solved a case.
"Very good, this killer. Not only have they left nothing from the crime, they've left almost nothing from before it." Sherlock was as good as vibrating with glee at the puzzle. Greg glanced at his watch as he nodded, waiting for Sherlock to get to the point. The detective's demeanour changed immediately. "Am I keeping you, Lestrade?"
"Yes, actually. I was supposed to clock out nearly an hour ago, and I do have somewhere to be." Sherlock's focus shifted and Greg found himself at the centre of a familiar beam of attention.
"You have a date," Sherlock spat the final word. "Your cuffs still have detergent on them, from where you put a wash on this morning. Black trousers usually last you a half week, but these are different from the ones you were wearing yesterday when we saw you to pick up cold cases. There's a shopping list in your pocket. 'Arbo' is visible, probably the beginning of Arborio rice. You're making risotto, the only dish you feel you're competent at. Who is it?"
"None of your business," Greg replied, ignoring Sherlock's eye roll. He realised too late that Sherlock was right up in his space, a hand in his jacket pocket and on his phone. The small device was in Sherlock's hands, and Sherlock across the room, his thumbs flying over the keypad, before Greg could lunge after him and grab it back.
A furrow appeared in Sherlock's brow as he frowned. Greg's inbox was entirely free of incriminating texts.
"Sherlock, give me back my phone. You can't just-" Sherlock's face cleared in the way that it always did when he slotted the puzzle pieces into place. It was swiftly followed by a look that Greg almost missed but thought was possibly concern. Greg had seen the look on his face only once before, directed after John when he had been hurried off in after a case, his arm broken. It settled on a mixture of anger and disdain, a look that Greg was well familiar with.
"You would do well to abandon such foolishness," he snapped at Greg.
"You pitching a fit isn't going to change anything. We have a date, I intend to enjoy it. I rather hope that there will be further dates. We're both adults, Sherlock, we can look out for ourselves." In an instant the detective was in Lestrade's space again, slipping his phone back into his pocket and towering above him.
"Be cautious, Lestrade. Hurting my brother would likely have disastrous consequence." He stepped away, beckoning for John to follow him. "Clock off. I'll have something for you tomorrow."
"What's going on with Mycroft? Sherlock, what-?" John's voice faded off as he took the stairs behind Sherlock.
The delay meant that Greg was still cooking when Mycroft arrived. He had lost track of time while stirring the rice, and sworn loudly as the doorbell rang. "It's open!" He shouted, darting into his bedroom to change. He emerged moments later to find Mycroft carefully removing his shoes in the hallway. "Hey, sorry. Lost track of time a little. Work ran late."
"It did not keep you entirely, at least," Mycroft replied, handing Greg a bottle of white. "I have been reliably informed that this will suit a risotto."
"All wine is good wine, so long as it comes in a bottle and not a carton," Greg told him, leading him through to the kitchen. "Dinner will be about twenty minutes."
"This is a deplorable view to take of one's palette," Mycroft scolded, following Greg obediently.
"When you've been through Uni on the minimum amount of work possible you learn to take your alcohol as you can afford it. Quantity and affordability over quality." Greg returned to his cooking, stirring the risotto for a few moments before leaving it to simmer for a little longer. When he turned, Mycroft was watching him with undisguised horror. "Oh come on. You can't tell me you've never tried cheap booze."
"I believe that if one is planning to spend money on an alcoholic beverage, it may as well be one that will be enjoyed for the taste and quality," Mycroft replied. Greg snorted, shaking his head as he leant back against the counter.
"Someone never drank for the sake of getting drunk," he commented. "Not sure you'll ever understand the attraction of getting drunk for less than a tenner."
"Drunkenness is not a state that appeals to me," Mycroft agreed. "And I never found it necessary to purchase copious amounts of alcohol for a lower price."
"You only say that because you've never been drunk." Greg turned back to the stove, adding the last little bit of seasoning to it before stirring it and starting to spoon it onto plates. "We'll have to rectify that, I think."
"Planning to get me drunk so that I am more suggestible, Detective Inspector?" Mycroft asked, following Greg to the table and settling into his seat as a plate was set in front of him.
"Not in the slightest. I simply believe you missed out hugely as a teenager if you didn't try it at least once," Greg told him. "And I do notice that you haven't rejected the idea out of hand."
"I am not generally adverse to new experiences," Mycroft responded dryly. "And I believe such things are usually best tried when in trusted company."
They ate in relative quiet, their focus on their food and glasses of wine. Greg made coffee when they were finished eating, passing Mycroft a mug before turning to the fridge. Mycroft peered over the police officer's shoulder, the large coffee mug cradled carefully in his hands.
"I wasn't going to do pudding," Greg told him, pulling a box out of the fridge as he spoke. "But I couldn't resist." Within moments he had tipped the bright berries out of the box and into two bowls before covering them liberally with cream.
Despite a token protest from Mycroft about the proper place to eat a meal they ate their pudding in the lounge, settled on the sofa, leaning against the armrests with their feet brushing together in the middle.
Within moments, Greg had cream on his nose. Mycroft found this fact highly distracting from his own pudding. The policeman was apparently oblivious and continuing with his meal. He glanced up, pausing when he noticed Mycroft watching him.
"Something on my face?" Greg's tongue slipped out, probing quickly for any food leftover around his lips. Mycroft glanced away, swiping his tongue over his own lips.
"Your nose," he murmured, gesturing vaguely. Greg grinned, shifting closer to Mycroft.
"Get it for me?" He asked. Mycroft raised an eyebrow, ignoring the way his mouth dried as Greg came into his personal space. He tugged a handkerchief from where it was tucked into the pocket of his trousers, unfolding it and gently wiping the cream from the other man's nose. Greg's nose wrinkled, and he smiled as Mycroft pulled the hankie away, folding it carefully before slipping it back into his pocket. "Thanks."
"You are most welcome," Mycroft replied, finishing the last of his pudding and placing his bowl on the coffee table. Greg's followed it and they settled back into their seats.
"I believe that you owe me a story," Greg said, reclining into the sofa and considering Mycroft over the edge of his coffee mug. "Why is the mysterious man who runs the British government so interested in a small charity?"
"It is a cause that I believe in," Mycroft replied. "When I was a teenager, a good friend of mine lived maybe a ten minute walk away from our home. My parents did not approve of our friendship; she was not from the correct social standing, in their opinion, for me to socialise with. I used to climb out of my bedroom window, walk across to meet her at the field at the back of her garden. Some nights we would stay out there all night, talking about anything and everything." Mycroft paused, sipping the last of his coffee. "When we were sixteen, her father was killed in a violent attack. I waited in the field every night for a week, I did not know what had happened. She didn't come out, the home phone wasn't answered, I thought perhaps I had done something wrong." The silence stretched on, and Greg inched closer, laying a hand beside Mycroft's on the sofa. Their hands brushed, and Mycroft shifted his hand to lie over Greg's. "Her mother had a breakdown, shortly after the death. The three children were removed for their own safety. Once I was able to look them up, I did so. Her mother was retained in hospital for her mental issues, on her release she committed suicide. The three children were placed in a foster home together, and later adopted into three separate homes. There was no help for them, and nothing that I could do."
"Mycroft..." Greg lifted his free hand, starting to reach for the politician before pausing, unsure of his right to do so.
"She is doing well enough," Mycroft assured him. "Help at the time may have kept their family together. I believe that a charity which helps that to happen is a worthwhile one." Greg nodded, dropping his hand back to his side. "You have work in the morning. I should leave you to your rest."
"Oh. Okay, let me get your jacket for you." Greg stood, heading for the small coat and boot room in his hallway as Mycroft followed him.
When he shut the door and turned with the jacket in his hands, he found that Mycroft had stopped just behind him. The politician took the jacket, shrugging it on without leaving Greg's personal space. Mycroft lifted one had to Greg's face, gently cupping his chin as his other hand dropped to Greg's hip. Greg's mouth went dry, and he flicked his tongue over his lips, allowing the hand on his chin to tilt his head slightly.
Mycroft's breath caught as Greg leant into his touch, his gaze following the tongue which flicked out to wet the other man's lips. He leaned forward, feeling Greg surge towards him in the same moment. Their lips met, and Mycroft tightened his grip on Greg's hip as a hand slipped into his hair and another rested at the front of his shirt.
Mycroft gasped as the hand in his hair gripped gently. Greg's tongue flicked forwards briefly, cautiously, and Mycroft took the opportunity to meet it with his own and follow its retreat. He continued to follow as Greg leant back, his back hitting the door that he had just closed. They broke apart for a moment, both with their breathing elevated as they stayed close to each other. After a moment of respite Mycroft leant in again, pressing a closed mouth kiss to Greg's lips for a few long seconds before licking his way into the shorter man's mouth. Greg sighed into the kiss, almost moaning and fisting his hand in Mycroft's shirt.
"I should go," Mycroft muttered once they had separated again, his forehead pressed against Greg's. Greg let go of him, pushing gently, almost reluctantly.
"Go on, then, before it's any more difficult for me to let you leave." Mycroft huffed an almost silent laugh, pressing three quick, barely there kisses to Greg's lips before pulling away entirely.
"I shall see you again soon," Mycroft said, reaching for his umbrella, which was leaning beside the door.
"Absolutely," Greg agreed, still leaning against the door. "I'll call you when I have my shifts for next week, let you know when I'm free."
Mycroft inclined his head in agreement before opening the door and walking out into the night.