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The Bruce-Partington conspiracy

BBC Sherlock

Rating: 15 (swearing, implicit slash)

Spoilers: Missing scenes from The Great Game, so spoiler-heavy for that.

Prompted by a discussion about Mystrade in ACD, when I realised that they visit 221B together in the Bruce-Partington Plans, but not in the corresponding section of The Great Game. Also inspired by Time to Choose by Blooms84 (to which it is a sort of sequel) and Another man by Trillsabells.

 

They were still arguing about the visit to 221B as the car crawled down the Marylebone Road, because Mycroft Holmes might be an immovable object, but Greg Lestrade aspired to be an irresistible force.

"Sherlock will refuse to help on principle if it's you asking him," he pointed out yet again.

"No, he won't," said Mycroft. "Well, yes, he will refuse to help initially, but he won't sustain that refusal, he has no persistence in these matters. So he'll end up solving the case eventually, just to spite me."

"I thought you said that Andrew West's death was a matter of national importance."

"Indeed it is, although I'd prefer it if you erased that fact from your memory," Mycroft replied. "But there's a difference between urgent and important. Whoever took the memory stick may have transmitted the entire contents to a prearranged buyer within five minutes of taking it. If not, they'll be hoping to auction the contents off to the highest bidder, and an auction like that takes time to arrange. We have a little leeway on this."

"But there's still no reason why I can't tell Sherlock that West's death is suspicious and get him interested immediately. It's what I'd normally do. He's used to us being baffled," Lestrade said. He probably looked baffled already, he thought; it was an occupational hazard of associating with the Holmeses.

"No." said Mycroft. "As soon as Sherlock knows that Andrew West was working at Vauxhall Cross, he'll know I'm involved somehow."

"OK," Lestrade replied, running his fingers through his hair. "Then we both go and see him. Because at least then, when he tells you he's too busy, which is his normal excuse, I can point out that he's not currently doing anything for the Met."

"We have already discussed this," Mycroft replied. "I would prefer Sherlock not to know of our relationship."

"He'll have to know some time."

"Of course," said Mycroft, in his smoothest diplomatic tone, the one he used for his very polite version of 'fuck off'. "But there's a difference between need to know and need to know this morning."

"Then we both go along there and we don't tell him. It's not going to be a surprise to him that the Met and the Service are both interested in this."

"Sherlock has been remarkably blind to our attachment so far. I suspect he prefers not to imagine that I might have any...desires that way. But even he is liable to notice if he sees us together."

"We can keep our distance from one another, not say anything."

"My dear Greg, your self-control is astounding sometimes. Mine is currently fragile. I find it extraordinarily difficult to be in your presence without some form of contact. Inappropriate contact."

At that point, Mycroft's right hand detached itself from the dossier he was cradling, and abruptly began to track its way across Lestrade's trouser leg, heading straight for his groin. As did most of the blood in Lestrade's body. His left hand went out, to return the favour, but Mycroft gave him a disapproving look.

"I will be meeting my brother in a minute or two, and I'd prefer to be erection-free at that point. It might worry him otherwise."

"And what about me?" Lestrade demanded.

"I'm sure the driver could take you round Regent's Park a few times, till you feel relaxed enough to go back to Scotland Yard. I'll get out here now, Evans," he added to the driver. "Baker Street's probably still blocked off after the explosion."

"Very good, sir."

"Don't I even get a kiss?" asked Lestrade. Evans had seen so much already in the last few weeks, that there was hardly any shame in this.

"Gently," said Mycroft. "My mouth-"

"You are going to keep that dental appointment this time, not claim there's a crisis in Kazakhstan that prevents you," Lestrade said, "I'll escort you there myself, if necessary."

"There's no need. As soon as I've dealt with Sherlock I'll get it attended to. It's just a nuisance."

"So is not being able to kiss you properly. Well, give my love to Sherlock. Oh, I forgot, he's not supposed to know about all this. Then just tell me what happens, please. I need to try and keep on top of this West case as well, even if we're not officially handling it."

***

It took a twenty minute ride, followed by some rather determined concentration on the Met's draft Policing London Business Plan to get Lestrade's body to lose its preoccupation with Mycroft. Then of course, the bastard phoned on the new private line.

"Plan B," Mycroft said. "Can you please phone Sherlock immediately and tell him about the envelope you found after the explosion?"

"What? Oh, right, yeah. Will do." Lestrade punched in the number on his mobile and got a reply within a couple of rings. He had barely started to say anything before Sherlock announced he was coming and hung up. What was going on, he wondered and phoned Mycroft back.

"I'm confident it's under control," Mycroft said, "Although  I'm afraid my schedule's been put out a little. John wasn't back when I got to 221B, so I had to wait around till he returned from Sarah's sofa. Given that Sherlock now has a...pal, it seemed a shame not to use the extra leverage."

That was probably why Mycroft wanted to keep their relationship from Sherlock, Lestrade thought. Because Sherlock would want to do some 'leveraging ' on Mycroft as retaliation. God, they were a manipulative pair. Thinking of which:

"So did Sherlock accept the case?"

"Oh, no, but I wasn't expecting him to yet. Which was why we had to move to plan B."

"Me telling him about the envelope in the strong box?"

"That's right."

"But if the West case is so important-"

"Oh, but as I said, I'm sure this is connected to that case as well. Given the explosion and the symbolism of the pink phone."

"How do you know it's pink, anyhow, when you haven't opened the envelope?"

"I'm afraid I can't let you know all our department's little secrets, Greg. But the pink phone makes the connection obvious, of course."

"What?" said Lestrade. Sometimes talking to one of the Holmeses was like trying to solve a crossword with cryptic clues and an invisible grid.

"I did explain first thing this morning." Mycroft's voice on the phone was infinitely patient.

"I was..distracted," said Lestrade. God, it was really not helpful to start thinking about first thing this morning. It was not helping his concentration on the matter in hand – the case, he meant the bloody case.

"It refers back to the Pink Lady case, at the end of which I rather rashly let myself be seen with you in public, albeit briefly. I suspect the phone will be intended to convey messages to me about the Bruce-Partington plans. Delivered via Sherlock for extra point, of course."

"God only knows," Lestrade replied. "Why is this all so bloody complicated?"

"You'll deal with it, I'm sure. I always feel...safe leaving things in your capable hands."

"Shut it!" he yelled back. "I need to sound coherent, not horny, when Sherlock turns up."

"My dear Greg, it'll take Sherlock a little while to get over to Scotland Yard, and we are on the private line at the moment, aren't we? I'm sure we can deal with anything else that needs attention before then. Put any other matters that arise to bed, as it were."

***

And then the bomber got busy again, and all thoughts of anything else fled out of Lestrade's mind. His only contacts with Mycroft were short, desperate calls, trying to coordinate what was happening, to beg for information about the bomber, to find any angle that might let them get ahead of this madman.

"Anything more on the Bruce-Partington project?" he asked at one point. "You said that was connected, so do I need to get Sherlock back on that?"

"Don't worry," Mycroft replied. "Dr Watson's investigating that."

"John? There's not a hope in hell he can solve it."

"Of course not, but it reminds Sherlock about the case and it may pique the bomber's interest in helpful ways."

"What are you talking about?"

"John's enquiries are going to get noticed, and that might come in handy. Just make sure that you have a team keeping an eye on him at all times. But remember, no intervention, just a watching brief."

"And Sherlock? Do we need to be minding him as well?"

"Don't worry, Greg. I'll deal with Sherlock."

*** 

"Mycroft, I've just had a call. John Watson's been snatched."

"Ah, that's good." Mycroft's voice on the phone sounded like he'd just been offered a particularly fine claret.

"Good? It's a fucking disaster! We didn't have a chance to do anything. They must have used some kind of tranquiliser dart, my guys reckoned. John just keeled over suddenly by the entrance to Euston station. Then a couple of Good Samaritans were helping him up and hustling him down to the underground, and by the time we'd got a man down after them, they'd somehow vanished."

"The end game is approaching."

"Mycroft!" Lestrade found himself yelling now, good job he'd closed the office door before he'd started the call. "You know what this Moriarty does. He straps people into fucking bomb jackets. He's probably doing that to John right now."

"Exactly."

"What the fuck? Were you expecting this?"

"Something like this, yes," Mycroft said calmly. "Just over an hour ago my brother arranged to meet Moriarty and hand over the Bruce-Partington plans. Moriarty obviously wanted a bargaining chip of his own. And it's hardly surprising that I'm not the only one to notice the potential of John as a weapon against Sherlock."

"That is...we're talking about a human being, Mycroft, not just a chess piece."

"We're talking, Greg, about a mass murderer," Mycroft replied. "If I had asked Dr Watson for his help in trapping Moriarty, told him we needed him to be the bait, don't you think he'd have agreed, whatever the personal risk?"

"Maybe. OK, yes, he's brave enough, bloody stupid enough to agree. But you didn't ask him, did you?"

 "He wouldn't have been able to keep it a secret from Sherlock, and that would have complicated things unnecessarily. But don't worry. We know where Sherlock and Moriarty are meeting, so we can arrange things there, make sure Moriarty's team is neutralised. If you meet me at the pool at 11 pm, you can assure yourself that the situation is under control."

"It still sounds bloody dangerous to me," Lestrade grumbled.

***

It was extremely tempting, after the explosion at the pool, to tell Mycroft: 'I told you so'. He wouldn't have done that if it had all gone completely wrong, of course, not fair to kick a man when he'd screwed up big time. But it had gone just wrong enough to remind Lestrade – and, he hoped to God, Mycroft – of the dangers of being too bloody clever. Given that they had Moriarty's team of snipers out of action less than three minutes after they'd entered the building, they could easily have closed the thing down the moment that Moriarty reached the pool. But Mycroft had insisted on keeping the thing going and going, though Lestrade had been too busy reading the tied-up snipers their rights to know exactly what was happening, let alone why. All he knew was that it had somehow ended up with Sherlock shooting the fake semtex that turned out not be quite as fake as Mycroft had expected.

No-one had died, at least, and he didn't think either John or Sherlock were badly injured, for all they'd had paramedics swarming over them. But he ought to go and check, once he'd given Mycroft a serious bollocking.

But when he'd found Mycroft, the bastard had simply turned round and kissed him, in full view of half of his agents, and said: "I think we ought to go and explain ourselves to Sherlock and John, don't you?" And Lestrade had been so staggered that he'd not been able to think what to say, just found himself walking hand in hand over to where John was sitting slumped on the tailgate of an ambulance, the inevitable shock blanket round him, and a plastic cup of something steaming held in one grubby hand.

"Hello," John said, looking up vaguely, and then his eyes took in their clasped hands, and his gaze widened very slightly. "They said you were responsible for police liaison tonight, Mycroft. I didn't realise it was meant quite that literally." He spoke with the tiredness of someone who'd already used up several weeks' quotas of emotions  that night.

"We should have told you before," Lestrade replied.

"I should have guessed."

"Where's Sherlock?" asked Mycroft. "I suppose we ought to tell him as well."

"He's not really in a fit state," said John. "They're treating him for concussion."

"Did he get hurt in the explosion?" Lestarde said. "Fuck it, I thought he was OK."

"It wasn't that," John replied, even more wearily. "He got into an argument with one of the paramedics just now, who was trying to check his ribs. Stalked off without looking where he was going, tripped over a bloody oxygen cylinder and cracked his head on the pavement. He'll be OK, but he's pissed-off enough already without having you two to cope with."

"On second thoughts," Mycroft said, smiling benignly, and letting go of Lestrade's hand, "Sherlock may already have enough revelations to cope with for one night. If he's falling so hard already, I mean. I'll leave you to deal with that, John. "

He swept off and Lestrade turned to follow him, thinking once again that someone should explain to Mycroft that being enigmatic at one in the morning might be clever, but it wasn't funny.

"Greg," said John, "I... could I have a word with you?"

"What's up?" said Lestrade, mentally retuning himself to repressed but sane conversation.

"You're really...involved with Mycroft now, are you? Is that sensible?"

"Probably not. It doesn't matter, though."

"But you're ordinary, normal, and he's, they're not. Isn't it insane to get so...close to someone like that? Whatever you feel about them?"

On John's face, Lestrade suddenly noticed, there was an expression that was oddly familiar. He'd seen it in the mirror too many times in the last year. The half-alarmed, half-delighted look of someone who'd realised how much they were in love with a brilliant idiot by the name of Holmes.

"Not you as well?" he said.

"Fraid so," said John, smiling up at him. "I risked my life to save Sherlock tonight. Well, I would have risked my life if the semtex had been real. You know what, he claimed he knew it was fake all along."

"So did Mycroft. They're such devious bastards, both of them, aren't they?"

"Manipulative. And wrong about the explosives. Well, a bit wrong. I don't even like Sherlock half the time."

"Mycroft is so...well you know what Mycroft is," Lestrade said. "You're going to have to explain to Sherlock, you know."

"About you and Mycroft?"

"No. About you and him. That's the hard bit."

"How did you manage it then?"

Oh fuck, thought Lestrade. Probably not helpful to say, 'Well, we'd just gone through your files and decided you were a good match for Sherlock, and it seemed a good time'. Might sound a bit...manipulative.

"We'd just finished an assignment successfully," he said, as casually as he could. "You know how it is. Stuff you've planned has worked out, fitted together just right. You feel you can do anything then, however ridiculous it seems."

"Yeah, the aftermath's like that, isn't it?" said John, smiling and shaking his head. His left hand, which he'd been flexing, suddenly stilled into calm. "It's just that with Sherlock and me that's normally when the police arrive and start asking awkward questions."

"OK, " said Lestrade, grinning. "So next time, I'll just let you two go off and have a quick knee trembler first before questioning you. Deal?"

"Deal," said John. "God, we are crazy, aren't we?"

"They are too," Lestrade replied. "And you know what? It's going to be even worse, so much scope for manipulation." He paused. "We don't have to put ourselves through this, you know. I could...we could both find someone else. Someone who's safe, easy, not trouble with a capital T."

"Oh yeah, we could," said John. "Just like you didn't have to choose to spend your life sorting out dead people, and I didn't have to choose trying to stop them dying in the first place."

"But we did, didn't we?" said Lestrade. "We say we want calm, sanity, ordinary life, and then we end up with this." He gestured to the scene around them. "Mycroft said if you'd known Moriarty was targeting you, you'd still have agreed to carry on."

"Well, better me standing there at the pool in a parka with explosive trimmings than some poor innocent sod of a bystander," John replied.  "And you knew what Mycroft was doing, and you still let him carry on."

"We had to catch Moriarty. I couldn't have him left loose in my city, our city." Lestrade shrugged. "Maybe we are both crazy enough that getting involved with the Holmeses makes some kind of strange, warped sense."

John's face, even more worn and battered than usual, was suddenly lit up by a smile.

"Oh God, yes!" he said.

 

Comments

( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
fengirl88
Feb. 16th, 2011 10:39 pm (UTC)
this is just what TGG needed - a proper explanation of why Mycroft and Lestrade don't turn up together about the plans as they do in ACD. well, that and some double entendre, Mycroft's best "fuck off" voice, cryptic crosswords with no clues and a lovely conversation between John and Lestrade. *is happy*
marysutherland
Feb. 17th, 2011 02:15 pm (UTC)
I only realised once I started writing this fic that it also gives you the answer to the other strange bit of TGG - how come Lestrade phones Sherlock immediately after Mycroft has left 221B? There's barely time for John to comment about sibling rivalry. If there's Mystrade co-ordination it all suddenly makes sense. And I also feel that Mark Gatiss as Mycroft can easily put double entendre into the most innocent sounding statement.

But there's still one bit of ACD's Bruce-Partington Plans original that's begging to be played with. When John, Sherlock, Lestrade and Mycroft all go to Oberstein's house near the end and 'Mycroft Holmes absolutely and indignantly declined to climb the railings'. Someone has to write something where another character (John, Sherlock, Lestrade, Anthea) has to get Mycroft over some high railings or a wall. Not me, because I can't write physical comedy like that, but someone should.
2ndskin
Feb. 17th, 2011 02:51 pm (UTC)
mmm hmm.
marysutherland
Feb. 17th, 2011 03:01 pm (UTC)
Is that the sound of a plot bunny breeding? I posted this as a prompt to Brother Mine as well, so we could end up with lots of Mycroft Obstacle fics.
2ndskin
Feb. 17th, 2011 03:16 pm (UTC)
yay! am on self-imposed writing hiatus, but if no one takes poor Mycroft and his climbing issues in hand, I will rush in madly for a little Buster Keaton--or Three Stooges--moment.
2ndskin
Feb. 17th, 2011 12:44 am (UTC)
good lord!! how did you weave it all together so seamlessly? Brava!!! Wishing Gatiss would pull all this into the first episode next fall. I like Lestrade's tired, turned-on, testy voice here very much. It's all delicious--a little UST, a lot of Mycroft messing with Sherlock, Mycroft to the rescue--but not perfectly, which is quite nice--AND--Sherlock slapstick at the end--I was not expecting that. And the sweet little conversation between John and Lestrade--always love the idea of them imagining they're the normal ones. Poor John-- wondering just how he should attempt a move on a Holmes and Lestrade offering to give them space for the "knee trembler." Aww. Boys. Am a big fan of "Another Man" as well. You might possibly have pulled me out of my grumpy mood, madam!
lucybun
Feb. 17th, 2011 08:37 pm (UTC)
Really, really excellent! I never even thought about why they'd changed the meeting in the series. And I love the way Greg is so easily aroused. Also, Greg's "are we both nuts to love these sods?" conversation with John at that end is funny and sweet and perfect. I loved this.
marysutherland
Feb. 18th, 2011 11:42 am (UTC)
It nearly broke my brain working out how to fit all the meeting stuff together, and I'm still not sure I've got the timing right. But once I'd noticed the change, it was a really nice plot bunny to play with. And I'm getting interested in the idea of Lestrade and John as a tag team trying to sort out the Holmeses, because L & J are both naturally team players.
lucybun
Feb. 18th, 2011 10:27 pm (UTC)
Eh, timing shmiming. I don't like for little things like that to stand in the way of a good story. If we start picking apart holes in the series and in ACD we'd have a fine mess. But the stories are fabulous, which is what counts. And I like your idea about J & L. I can't wait to see what you come up with. I'm friending you, if you don't mind. I don't want to miss out on any new lovely Mystrade you produce.
marysutherland
Feb. 19th, 2011 08:05 am (UTC)
Happy to be friended - I don't write much Mystrade, but Blooms84 has inspired me to do a few pieces. Next up is some Sherlock/John, but I haven't yet got a timetable for later pieces, depends partly on my betas.
darthhellokitty
Feb. 17th, 2011 08:45 pm (UTC)
Oh, this is really good!

"You're really...involved with Mycroft now, are you? Is that sensible?"

"Probably not. It doesn't matter, though."

"But you're ordinary, normal, and he's, they're not. Isn't it insane to get so...close to someone like that? Whatever you feel about them?"

On John's face, Lestrade suddenly noticed, there was an expression that was oddly familiar. He'd seen it in the mirror too many times in the last year. The half-alarmed, half-delighted look of someone who'd realised how much they were in love with a brilliant idiot by the name of Holmes.

"Not you as well?" he said.

"Fraid so," said John, smiling up at him.


Holmeses - can't live with them, can't live without them, might as well love them...
marysutherland
Feb. 18th, 2011 11:45 am (UTC)
I've got more Mycroft fiction coming up at some point (and another Mystrade plus John/Sherlock), but I keep on getting distracted by shinier things.
morningstarzip
Feb. 18th, 2011 02:28 am (UTC)
Can I say how much I love this? Yes, because I do.
random_nexus
Mar. 3rd, 2011 06:10 pm (UTC)
BRILLIANT! Truly. Just adored how you woved the background into TGG. I would SO enjoy seeing John & Sherlock after this, how THEY get together. You did this so well, so very, very excellently well.

:D
marysutherland
Mar. 3rd, 2011 09:08 pm (UTC)
It was very hard work getting everything slotted in so it fitted. I'm afraid I'm not quite sure I've the ingenuity to sort out the S/J side of this as well. As it is, I think I'm tying myself up in timelines left, right and centre (and I hate it when I do that - it's the historian in me, the chronology has to work).
rusty_armour
Mar. 7th, 2011 08:30 pm (UTC)
I'm really sorry it took me so long to read this. I meant to read it when you first posted it, but then I got busy and...Thankfully, blooms84's rec post for David (which I still have to read) served as a helpful reminder. Anywaaaaaay, this story works very well as a sequel to Time to Choose. I love the way Mycroft is still working behind the scenes and continues to drag Lestrade into his schemes. You've done such an excellent job plotting this fic that I could easily believe that Mycroft was orchestrating many of the events of "The Great Game," such as Lestrade calling Sherlock about the envelope with the pink phone inside. The dialogue between Mycroft and Lestrade is wonderful. It's fabulous that Mycroft can't help getting distracted by Lestrade, and that Lestrade wants to tell Sherlock about them. Lastly, that discussion between John and Lestrade at the end is beautiful. I especially got a kick out of the final lines:

"We had to catch Moriarty. I couldn't have him left loose in my city, our city." Lestrade shrugged. "Maybe we are both crazy enough that getting involved with the Holmeses makes some kind of strange, warped sense."

John's face, even more worn and battered than usual, was suddenly lit up by a smile.

"Oh God, yes!" he said.


I'm looking forward to reading David.
coldlikedeath
Mar. 14th, 2011 12:50 am (UTC)
GAH I LOVE IT! *FLAIL*
et_cetera55
Jul. 23rd, 2011 07:34 pm (UTC)
Oooh I do love manipulative Mycroft and you write him so well. Such a fantastic way to explain the divergence of TGG from the ACD story :)
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )