The story takes place somewhere in season 2.
It was supposed to be a one-shot at the beginning and unsurprisingly (ahem, ahem) it won't be. I thought about this story before I saw the HLV Christmas dinner at Sherlock and Mycroft's parents' house. My brain was telling me how the idea of a family meal could go awry with a Mystrade and a Johnlock around the table.
Sitting comfortably on one of the mahogany chairs around the table - made of the same material whose style was reminiscent of the Victorian era – Mycroft Holmes sipped his Darjeeling tea while reading The Times with a distracted eye. He glanced over the pages of the newspaper, enjoying that moment when his mind did not yet need to be occupied with a thousand and one problems. The few morning minutes of peace and quiet were essential to him: he could drink his tea hot, not cold, because he had to deal with an unpredictable and thorny situation in the moment, in peace and quiet.
The silence of his luxurious apartment in the English district of Nothing Hill was broken when footsteps came from upstairs. Imperceptible, of course, but Mycroft heard them perfectly well. Dressed in an elegant three-piece petrol blue suit with gold shirt buttons, he did not raise his head, hardly surprised by the sound. His long legs unfolded under the table – as quietly as a cat would have done – as the footsteps reached the stairs.
The footsteps were heavy, not heavy enough for the feet to be put on by shoes, probably slippers, which indicated the person's somewhat sleepy state. His footsteps were slightly claudified from time to time, a sign of an injury to the leg – recent, no doubt. However, despite his condition, the person did not encounter any floorboards that cracked slightly under his weight, a person who knew this staircase by heart. Hands were clinging to the handrail of the staircase and touching some of the metal bars a few times. A cloth – a dressing gown – brushed against the floor. The politician raised his head only thirty seconds, perfectly timed, before the person crossed the threshold of the door.
Mycroft would have had no need to dwell on all these details in order to guess the identity of the person who would enter – he glanced at the phone in his hand – ten seconds. He knew all these details by heart. He knew the man approaching by heart. The eyebrows of the eldest Holmes frowned as Gregory Lestrade entered the room. His silver hair was a mess, his hand was distractedly rubbing his left eye, he was indeed wearing slippers, Mycroft's apparently, and the policeman had put on a robe over his pyjamas: a large grey sweater and navy blue trousers with forest green stripes.
Another morning, the politician would have enjoyed the view and would have done nothing to hide his interest in this most charming spectacle. The representative of the English government could have shamelessly killed to be able to admire the sleepy look on Gregory's face every morning.
"You're limping, Gregory." said the politician, without preamble.
The inspector stopped in the middle of his walk across the room. He ran one hand over his beard of a few days and sighed.
"Good morning to you too." he commented, trying to delay the bombs his companion would throw at him.
"Good morning, if you want it that much." Even in another room the inspector could have heard Mycroft's barely contained sniff perfectly. "You're limping."
The gray-haired man closed his eyes in an attempt to repress a grimace and continued his journey to the other room in order to reach the kitchen of the apartment. It was too early for a confrontation about the condition of his right leg. No. It was too early for a confrontation with Mycroft Holmes about his physical condition – especially on that subject, by the way. The politician would be perfectly capable of forcing him to consult a doctor to check the state of his leg, even if he told him twenty times that there was no problem.
The government official dipped his lips in the hot liquid of his tea, while his eyes remained planted on the door frame behind which his companion had just disappeared. Without any scruples. His mouth twisted slightly as he put his cup back on the table. Farewell minutes of quiet.
The policeman reappeared a few minutes later, a plate in which toast with marmalade on it balanced his footsteps, and a cup of English Breakfast. He put them down on the table with a bang and sat down in front of Mycroft and put a hand on the newspaper.
"Are you done with it?"
The politician's hand was placed on the newspaper to prevent him from shooting at it.
"If you tell me exactly what happened to your leg, I guess."
"Seriously, Mycroft? Blackmail with a newspaper?"
"By refusing to answer me, you're taking precious minutes off my mind, so I guess I can take away the childish pleasure of doing that bloody crossword puzzle you love to do."
Greg bit his lower lip to avoid bursting out laughing at the disdainful look on his companion's face, referring to his habit of filling in the boxes in the Times crossword puzzle. A habit that he liked all the more when he did it in front of Mycroft. Mycroft would spend the thirty minutes it took the inspector to find the answers by sighing – or blowing the answers out of his mouth by giving further details to the definitions, or pronouncing them in anagrams.
Doing the crossword puzzle without him was much less fun.
"Does it worry you that much?"
The politician twisted his gaze into his companion's, but could not, however, prevent himself from doing so in a caricatured manner. Of course, he was worried. Mycroft Holmes was always worried: about his idiot brother or the policeman in front of him. Greg swallowed a sip of tea to try to reduce the knot that was forming in his stomach: to see that the man, who probably ruled the whole nation, attached such importance to him would never cease to delight him.
"All right." he consented. Mycroft's lips curled with a satisfied smile. "But," he said. The politician's mouth slumped weakly. "But you won't make me go to the Barts. You won't invent a mission to some obscure hospital in this country to get me treated – because, as I said, it's nothing. You will not make me come to your office this afternoon, which you will have turned into an X-ray room beforehand. You are not going to go out and implement a decree to bring the death penalty back to this country to be imposed on the person who - in short, you are not going to overreact. Are we agreed?"
Mycroft had a grin on his face as if the whole thing was utterly ridiculous.
"I never overreact."
"Oh, yeah?" Lestrade eyebrowed. "And putting Julia Brown on the world's Most Wanted list for the simple reason that she was in my office for five minutes with the curtains closed isn't what you call overreacting?"
"I had excellent evidence that she was a –"
"You had absolutely nothing against that poor girl." he interrupted him. "You were just jealous. She was an intern, and she was showing me a slide she'd made for a school thing related to one of my investigations."
"And after checking what we had against her, the agent who made that mistake – you'll know, Gregory, that I'm not responsible for all the actions of the government – corrected it."
He was so bad-faithful, it was terrible. The policeman bit into one of his toasts which made a terrible noise in contrast to the few seconds of silence in the room.
"If you don't want a repeat of such futile mistakes, I invite you to take care who you bring into your office, curtains closed."
"You could stop checking up on me, too, that would solve part of the problem."
Mycroft sniffed as if this prospect was utterly ridiculous. He took a sip of his tea, determined not to admit his wrongdoing in the situation.
"All right, I won't do anything... exaggerated, as you say." the politician obeyed.
Greg closed his eyes, determined to enjoy this small victory. For once he would have the last word with one of the Holmes family members: we had to celebrate.
"Nothing very important." The inspector began by handing a piece of his toast to Mycroft and offering him something to eat. He was not surprised that the latter declined with a simple wave of his hand. "An enquiry yesterday. A very interesting inquiry, indeed, probably I would have spent all night – and all morning – if John had not convinced your brother that it was an 8 and not a 7. Anyway, Sherlock made his deductions, as usual, John tried to translate what he was analyzing from the scene, as usual, they left, without saying a word and without precision, as usual, and... Ah yes, Sherlock sent me a message that I had to go to an address without explaining why, as usual. One thing led to another, I tried to intercept the victim's killer, who, as a diversionary tactic, wounded John, and in immobilising the killer, he stabbed me in the leg."
The politician opened his mouth to interrupt him, while Lestrade was chastising the last one as usual that came to mind.
"It's really nothing. " the inspector insisted, preventing the speaker from commenting. "A bandage and everything has been taken care of. Very little blood. I swear to you. The killer is behind bars awaiting the sentence, most likely 20 years, which the judge will give him."
They were silent for a few seconds. Only Greg's chewing noises broke the silence in the room. Mycroft seemed to be handling the policeman's little monologue well, at least only on the surface: the skin of his hand, which now formed a fist, resting on the table was dangerously white.
The silver-haired man reached out his hand to his hand in a reassuring gesture, and he had a small smirk on his face.
"No need to repeat. I got it." he retorted in a bitter tone.
"You looked like a statue. You still look like a statue."
The politician's eyes crinkled and stared at the man in front of him.
"Well, since you seem to take such great care that I don't overreact, I try to swallow the comments that come to mind when I hear you tell me that a sick man stabbed you in the leg and you didn't even have the goodness to tell me when you came in last night when you woke me up."
Of course, his little speech had the effect of all the comments he said he wanted to swallow, but the detective inspector did not get up. He didn't have the heart to do so in front of the gloomy look of the man in the suit, and the knot in his stomach grew a little bigger.
If he listened to all the impulses in his body, Greg would have got up from his chair to surround his lover's shoulders to reinforce his desire to reassure him. However, he knew that Mycroft wasn't very affectionate person: his one hand on his was enough for him and the policeman had no desire to make the situation more difficult than it was.
"Mycroft..." Lestrade whispered. "I'm sorry. I didn't think you'd worry so much. It's trivial, I assure you. In three days, at the most, I won't even need bandages."
"Then you disapprove of my camera surveillance. "articulated the politician.
And although Greg was now wide awake, he had no idea where his companion's thoughts were heading.
"It's trivial. The day someone tries to kill you in an alley - and it's certainly not that tiresome Anderson or boring Donovan that's going to save you - you'll be glad I've got men watching you." he concludes as if it were self-evident.
Count on Mycroft Holmes to turn any situation to his advantage.
He had, by the way, a satisfied look on his face as he realized that he had won this battle. The inspector scowled and brought his cup of tea to his lips to prevent himself from retaliating: the situation that would ensue would have no satisfactory outcome for him, he was fully aware of this.
All he had done was to bring one more reason to continue his close surveillance of his person, in the end. Greg wondered if, at bottom, this whole conversation was all about that ultimate goal.
"Of course it didn't." replied the politician to his silent question. "I'm really worried about you, Gregory. I worry about you all the time. Every day I'm afraid that dear Doctor Watson will tell me that my stupid brother has brought you into some terrible scheme and some madman has blown your brains out."
Greg's fingers, still on the heel of his companion's palm, became a little more embedded in his skin as he felt the emotion. His words were the closest thing to a statement that any politician had ever said to him.
"I love you too." Lestrade whispered.
There was no need for him to say those three little words as far as the inspector was aware. They were, almost, subtitles to Mycroft's words. Mycroft's cheeks turned pink and his hand turned to grasp the inspector's hand.
"And your scenario applies more to John than it does to me. He's far more likely to blow his brains out than I am following Sherlock."
The politician had a grin, more in control of his body's revealing reactions when it came to rational discussion.
"As if my brother would allow anyone to touch his precious doctor." The chances of such a situation happening in the near future were, according to his calculations, around 23.7% – and this percentage was only present because of the possibility of uncalculated improbability. "Speaking of my brother, how is he?"
"Well, I guess." Greg shrugged. "Our topics of conversation are more about criminal elucidation than his psychological state, thanks God."
"I see." relieved Mycroft, unflappable. "I need you to do something for me. Don't worry, it's nothing. I think you might even find it a... Certain pleasure, I think."
It was worthless. Lestrade frowned at the slightly twisted mouth of the politician's planning air. Outside of a bed – or any surface they were using as such – the two men did not quite have the same definition of pleasure. Greg could easily be happy with an evening spent on his sofa eating popcorn and falling asleep on some television series. Mycroft's barometer of happiness would, no doubt, vary according to how much interest he could take in a situation. The less he could benefit from something, the more likely he was to be bored.
The detective inspector's concern was, then, no doubt well founded.
"That is?" Greg tried to enlighten him.
"I want you to put Sherlock in jail."
Mycroft had trumpeted that phrase as if he had just uttered something as normal as 'I have prevented the outbreak of a third world war between Brazil, Spain and England'. Well, that sentence would only be categorized as normal from Mycroft Holmes.
Greg coughed, spitting out some of his tea, slightly taken aback.
"You heard me perfectly well."
"I heard: I want Sherlock put in jail. And that doesn't make any sense, so I must have really misheard."
"You heard me perfectly well." repeated the politician again.
Lestrade blinked and sighed. He tried to find some logic in his companion's words, but to no avail. Then his mind rushed to the only logical explanation he could find.
"I asked you not to overreact."
"What?" Mycroft seemed slightly lost, which was a sight to be seen very rarely. "Oh, Gregory, the world doesn't revolve around you. I'm not asking you this favor to make my brother feel guilty about the stabbing you took. It wouldn't make any sense anyway. No, I'm actually asking you to put him in jail so that I can convince him – or, at best, John will – to show up for our mother's sixty-fourth birthday family dinner next Saturday."
Again, the tone used by the politician made this discussion even more surreal than it already was. The inspector opened his mouth, then closed it again after a few seconds, a little too shocked and unable to make his thoughts completely coherent.
"Once again, you heard me perfectly well. Stop it, you know I hate repetition."
"Ok, ok... But why don't you just ask Sherlock to come to this dinner?"
Mycroft chuckled sarcastically. Only his feelings for the inspector prevented him from displaying the most condescending air he would normally have given to anyone with the wrong idea to thwart his plans.
"My brother is everything but an adult, Gregory. If I ask him, he's going to say no, claiming he has something planned, like doing a sordid experiment on flies just to annoy me. If he's in jail, at least I can blackmail him into accepting."
"And you think that's adult behavior?" raised Lestrade, arching her eyebrow.
The politician glanced at him blackly. The gray-haired man raised his hands to calm the Holmes temperament in front of him.
"Let's say I accept." began the inspector. "I can't put a man behind bars just because Mycroft Holmes asked me to. I need a motive, something."
He had no doubt that it would be very easy to find a motive to motivate the presence of the detective behind these so-called bars – and to find the police officers to make the arrest – but Lestrade was silent. He was a man of integrity, after all.
Admittedly, the inspector did make certain deviations when it came to the public good.
Like letting a sociopath invade a crime scene and let him go with evidence, or using information found on Mycroft's desk to settle an investigation. All in all, nothing too untoward.
"Pick any motive you like." replied the politician, not bothering with the proceedings. "Insults to the DI, for example. It's not as if he does it systematically every time you ask him for help. I bet you'll get help from your team anyway. And, behind bars, he'll have to listen to me. Or John. I think John would be a better choice, don't you think?" The question was purely rhetorical, as he continued without expecting an answer from the inspector. "Yes, John. He might be able to stay in jail if I'm the one to talk to him. Anyway, he'll cooperate and Mother will be very happy."
Mycroft carried his cup to his lips to take the last sip of tea, satisfied with his plan. The legs of the chair scraped the floor as he got up.
The subject completely closed, finally from his point of view, the politician walked towards his companion, walked around the table, and leaned towards the face, which showed a forbidden look, in order to grab Gregory's lips. Slightly baffled by the turn of events, he responded to his lover's reflexive, slightly haggard kiss.
"Have a nice day." Mycroft whispered just inches away from the lips that tasted a mixture of black tea and marmalade.
He kissed him one last time, then with a small contrite smile grabbed her cup and walked to the kitchen.
Greg scrutinized him, wondering if he really wanted to get into a quarrel between the two Holmes brothers. The answer was obviously no. However, apparently it wasn't a multiple-choice question here. It wasn't a question at all. It was a disguised order, plain and simple.
"Keep me posted." Mycroft said, with an innocent air that only Lestrade could have had.
"You know you owe me, don't you?"
"I didn't overreact, as you asked me to, as far as I know."
His onyx gaze lingering on the inspector's leg reminded him of the heated conversation that had taken place a few minutes earlier.
"Thank you very much. But from what I understand, you're going to continue spying on me and you've deprived me of my diary."
"Oh, come on."
And this was probably the ultimate proof that Mycroft Holmes was indeed in love with Greg Lestrade: he repressed the dry tone he would normally use. He leaned against the frame of the doorway that separated the dining room from the kitchen and for one of the few times the politician looked uncomfortable.
It was a sight that was not given to everyone, and the inspector got up from his chair to take a closer look at it, so unlikely was it.
"To tell you the truth." began the 'British government'. "I wanted to ask you if you could come with me." Mycroft wringed his hands – did he really wring his hands? "At dinner. At my parents' house."
The inspector's eyes widened, surprised by this new turn of events.
It had now been nine months since Greg had first slept with the government representative in his Scotland Yard office. Curtains closed, of course. Since then he had almost moved into Mycroft's luxury apartment and shared an exclusive relationship with him. If he'd been told of these changes in his life a year earlier, Greg Lestrade would have laughed out loud.
But despite their relationship, which he still described as solid, the politician was not stingy with gestures or words of affection. They spoke very little about their relationship. In fact, Lestrade wondered whether Sherlock even knew of his place in his brother's life. And now he wanted to introduce him to his family?
If he had to get stabbed in the leg to get that kind of attention – a statement, a proposal to be presented to the Holmes as... Companion? – he would do it every day. Without hesitation. After a few seconds, the inspector approached Mycroft and put a third kiss on his lips.
"Well, for this, I may well put Sherlock in prison." Lestrade finally nodded.
The politician had a bright smile on his face. Then he put a finger in his suit pocket to take a look at his mobile phone.
"God's sakes! Between your leg, brother, and... this, I'm going to be really late."
Without further ado, he turned around and entered the kitchen. He put his empty cup on the counter by the sink, put his coat hung on a hanger in the hall closet, and grabbed his eternal took one last look at his companion who was already tidying up the kitchen and left the house.
In the silence of the dwelling, Lestrade could not help imagining the face of Sherlock Holmes being brought by a Sally Donovan, who would most likely be willing to participate, into Scotland Yard Prison. The image was both so comical and very... Satisfactory, in fact. Yes, it was.
Mycroft was right, in the end, he would find some pleasure in it.
Two hours and minutes later, Lestrade sent a message to John Watson which he would save as a reminder of that memorable moment:
Talk to Mycroft. And come and get your boyfriend out of prison.
The reply was not long in coming.
What?! What's he done now?
(And he's not my boyfriend.)
This is the first time I've ventured into Sherlock's fandom, so please be gentle. I hope you liked it and I'll quickly follow up. Full love!