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A man, a plan, a canal

BBC Sherlock

Rating: PG (implicit slash)

Summary: fluff, but rather muddy fluff.

Special thanks to Blooms84 for betaing and helpful suggestions.

 

The text message arrived at 10.32 pm, just when Mycroft had finally had a chance to eat his supper:

Suggest you come and collect your husband. Our current location is W9 1AA. SH

Even as he texted back: What have you done to Greg and why isn't he phoning me? MH, his mind was already racing over a mental map of London. That postcode would be just north of Paddington, somewhere up around Little Venice...oh dear. Greg and large bodies of water were never a good combination. He was barely surprised when Sherlock's text flashed up:

Lestrade's phone fell in the canal. So did he. SH

***

Mycroft's new driver, Clark, was amazingly fast, and within half an hour, Mycroft was up at Blomfield Road, where Gavin Roylott, dealer in illegal snakes, had recently been attempting to resist arrest. The incident reports were as confused as usual – Mycroft was extremely sceptical about the escaped black mamba – but he presumed that someone would have let him know if anything dangerous had occurred. Sure enough,  when he got there, the situation had clearly moved into the tedious post-arrest phase, with everyone standing around discussing what to do next.

Contrary to Mycroft's calculations, he noticed that Sherlock and John were still there, on the edge of the crowd of police and onlookers.  John was attempting to shine a torch into Sherlock's eyes, while Sherlock was batting him off and rattling off street names. Judging from the muttered addition: 'No cameras at the western end,' Sherlock was planning the location for imminent alleyway sex and John was checking Sherlock wasn't going to keel over mid-coitus. It was a wonder that pair didn't get arrested more often after chasing suspects, Mycroft thought, the adrenaline always left them appallingly uninhibited in the aftermath. He should probably remind their surveillance team again about the need for discretion.

Never mind his idiot brother, though, where was Greg? In the centre of the crowd, of course, worn out, muddy and still laying down orders. He spotted Mycroft as he forced his way through the confusion, and called out:

"Ten minutes, and I'll be with you. Just need to make sure the RSPCA  and London Zoo are on the way."

Twenty-seven minutes later, Greg came over to where Mycroft was standing by the car. Mycroft could hear his shoes squelch as he approached.

"I've got a change of clothing in the boot," Mycroft said.

"Not worth it. Just take me home, My."

"You're shivering. Do you want some brandy?"

"Thanks," Greg said, taking the silver flask. "Hope you don't mind me using it as mouthwash. I swallowed at least a pint of canal water, I reckon."

He moved away to find a bin, gargling and then spitting. "God, the silt in there's terrible," he said as he returned.

"Are you hurt?" Mycroft asked, trying not to sound alarmed, because Greg didn't like that.

"No, just pissed off with myself. Should have been an easy collar, but Carter panicked Roylott at the station, so we ended up having to chase him, and then Roylott managed to trip me on the towpath. My own stupid fault I ended up in the drink."

"Let's go home," said Mycroft.

***

Greg was almost falling asleep in the car, his soggy, muddy torso slumping against Mycroft. His dry cleaning bills had gone up substantially  - he preferred not to dwell on the exact figure - since Greg had come into his life. He'd never met a man before who could get so dirty. In all the right ways, of course, as well as some of the wrong ones.

But not tonight. Sherlock and John would probably spend a couple of days in bed now – recovering, allegedly – after all their efforts on the case. But if Greg wasn't back at his desk tomorrow morning, there'd be questions asked, procedures being followed. He sometimes wondered if he should phone up the Met's personnel department and enquire if DI Lestrade needed a note from his mummy to excuse him for coming in late. Though if he did, they'd doubtless start making difficulties about Greg's overtime again...

***

Mycroft nudged Greg awake as they got home, and ignored the sighs from Clark as he saw the state of the back seat. At least there was no blood this time. Or...other fluids.

"Do you want some food?" he asked, once they'd got inside. "There's some of the daube left. I could have Mrs Hamilton heat it up, or cook you something else."

"I had some sandwiches earlier, I'm OK. Besides, I don't really want to eat anything now, just in case I've swallowed too many bugs."

"Straight to bed then?"

"Bath," Greg said firmly. "I've got mud everywhere, and I need to unwind a bit."

"I'll run you one," said Mycroft. "Ready in a couple of minutes. If you want to take your clothes off down here, so we don't spread the mud any further, that would be preferable. Is it worth getting them washed, or should we just destroy them immediately?"

"They'll be fine," Greg replied wearily. "I thought you said your Mr Wu could get anything clean."

***

When Greg got into the bath it promptly turned into a muddy soup. With things floating in it.

"There's an entire ecosystem there," Mycroft said with resignation. "Stand up and I'll change the water."

By the third change of water – Mycroft's utility bills had rocketed up as well – the water merely went the pale brown of a light oolong tea when Greg lay down in it, and most of Greg's sturdy body was now visible. Mycroft started checking it surreptitiously: no bruises, or cuts...

"Yes, I have had a tetanus jab," Greg said wearily. "Don't fuss."

"I'm not fussing," Mycroft replied firmly. "I'm simply observing."

"Fine. Then please observe that I'm OK, if you'd just pass me a flannel." Greg scrubbed at his face furiously. "It feels like I've got mud in my eyeballs," he said at last. "Behind my eyeballs."

"I can get-," Mycroft said, and then stopped. "If you decide you need something for your eyes, that can be arranged."

"Thanks, My. I'll see how they are tomorrow. Tonight, I just want a nice soft bed that's not a river bed." Greg leant back, starting to relax at last. Then he suddenly sat up.

"Oh sod it," he said. "I knew I should have had a shower, then I could have got all the muck out of my hair as well. But I'm not sure I can face it now."

Mycroft had a sudden memory of Nanny washing Sherlock's hair in the bath. She'd had to keep doing it for years:  Sherlock used to claim it was the only way he could avoid getting shampoo in his eyes.

"Lie down," he told Greg, "I'll do it."

"You sure?"

"I don't want you muddying the pillows. Just let me get some shampoo."

By the time he returned, Greg was lying on his back, looking like the world's most macho Ophelia. Mycroft knelt by the bath, heedless of his trousers, and started to pour water over Greg's hair, its short coarse strands - black, grey, white - now even more varied in colour, with the remains of mud and weeds. His fingers seemed to know instinctively what they were doing – maybe he should have offered to help Nanny all those years ago, save her back. Though it was far easier, of course, without all Sherlock's wriggling and complaining.

He took his time: not quite a scalp massage, but it might help Greg relax a bit more. Working too hard, as usual, but the lines of his face were starting to soften now. Then Mycroft poured some of the thick amber shampoo onto his hands and set to work with that. Greg's eyes were closing again, as if he might drift away. His lips were vaguely moving – humming something? – but Mycroft couldn't hear what. Oh God, those full, clever lips...

Not tonight, he told himself firmly, Greg was worn out. But if they had a decent night's sleep, tomorrow morning was definitely worth trying. Greg often woke up grumpy, but you could improve his mood surprisingly quickly with a hand down his pyjama trousers. And he would smell particularly nice, after this.

As Mycroft started to rinse the shampoo out, Greg's brown eyes flicked open, and his hands suddenly came up,  catching Mycroft's wrists.

"You were using your posh shampoo, weren't you? What a waste, My, just to get mud out of my hair."

"Not a waste at all," Mycroft said, smiling back, as he gently kissed Greg's brow just below the hairline. "Don't you realise, Gregory Lestrade, that you're worth it?"

 

Comments

( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
kalypso_v
Jun. 9th, 2011 01:05 pm (UTC)
I love the macho Ophelia.
2ndskin
Jun. 9th, 2011 03:50 pm (UTC)
So lovely--really a sweet domestic insight. I love the new bit about remembering Nanny and Sherlock, love the shoe squelching and the drycleaning and utility bills, and your wonderful way of introducing a bit of London geography into every tale. Sweet and funny and a delight to read.
Also: I would watch every episode of a reality tv show about Mr. Roylott and his illegal snakes.
Cheers.
marysutherland
Jun. 10th, 2011 09:36 pm (UTC)
Thanks again for your help on this, and the assorted tweaks that resulted. In lieu of Roylott's illegal snakes, I suggest a reality TV show about the Cape Fear Serpentarium, where I saw a black mamba for the first time. For years I had known about them only from Joan Aiken's Arabel, Mortimer and the Escaped Black Mamba which, while wonderful, is not entirely scientifically reliable. Other than the fact that black mambas are not as black as you might expect, the real thing was very impressive, though not as worrying as the cobra looking for a way out of its glass case.

But the star of the Serpentarium TV show would be Dean Ripa, its owner. A worrying number of the signs discussing the assorted poisonous snakes referred to him having been bitten by that particular species. There was a particularly gruesome one which described the times at which he developed various symptoms after being bitten by a Bushmaster (I think the projectile vomiting and diarrhea began after about 30 minutes). That sign also contained a line that is a prompt for an entire fic on its own: that Dean Ripa's life was only saved because of the prompt actions of 'his then wife'. Passion amid the eyelash vipers - what more does any TV show need?
fengirl88
Jun. 10th, 2011 07:33 pm (UTC)
echoing the love for Lestrade as macho Ophelia, and joining the appreciation for Mr Roylott and his illegal snakes...

grassle
Jun. 11th, 2011 04:49 pm (UTC)
Lovely! What gorgeous domesticity and sweetness. Does "Greg and large bodies of water were never a good combination" mean there have been other such incidents?!
marysutherland
Jun. 11th, 2011 06:15 pm (UTC)
I have previously written a 221B in which Lestrade ends up in the Serpentine. And there are the notorious Tilly Briggs wet shirt Sherlock and Lestrade photos, first referred to by Warriorbot and which get passing references in several of my fics.
grassle
Jun. 11th, 2011 08:37 pm (UTC)
Yup, that's me, late to the party! Thanks for the links. Off to read!
morganstuart
Jun. 11th, 2011 05:38 pm (UTC)
Very nice! I love the final lines.
rusty_armour
Jun. 11th, 2011 05:55 pm (UTC)
Ah, I love h/c, especially when Lestrade is the woobie! I love the way Mycroft tries to take care of him without looking too much like he's taking care of him. Somehow, it doesn't surprise me that Lestrade doesn't like fuss or the thought that Mycroft would go to too much trouble for him. Anywaaaay, the bath and shampoo/scalp massage were really nice. I agree with kalypso_v about the "macho Ophelia" line, though I think my personal favourite was Sherlock's parting text to Mycroft:

Lestrade's phone fell in the canal. So did he. SH

BTW, I love the nod to "The Speckled Band" with Roylott and his illegal snakes. *g*
marysutherland
Jun. 12th, 2011 06:19 pm (UTC)
Glad you enjoyed it - and you're the first commentator to pick up the nod to ACD canon with Roylott. Unpleasant things are always happening to Lestrade in my fics, because he's like a Duracell Bunny - you know he'll just get up and keep going. (Just about every one of my fics tagged 'Lestrade's POV' has something maddening or dangerous happening to him).

I also think both Mycroft and Lestrade are used to looking after themselves, so they find the care-receiving role a bit strange. But given I'd written a fic before in which there's a passing reference to Mycroft washing a previous lover's hair, I thought Lestrade's hair should get some loving attention as well.
rusty_armour
Jun. 12th, 2011 06:47 pm (UTC)
Oooh! I'll be sure to check out that other fic. I was also told about a certain metafic in which Sherlock plagiarizes a Merlin story in order to write RPS about him and John. I'll have to check that out as well.

Uh...I'm not stalking you. It just looks like it.
marysutherland
Jun. 12th, 2011 07:19 pm (UTC)
If you want to stalk me, please go ahead. I don't get much excitement round here nowadays, as you can guess from my icon. The Sherlock metafic is "Captain of the Ship", which starts here. But be warned, if you are a fan of 'Merlin', that Sherlock is *not*. (In fact, one of the alarming things writing this fic was finding out how naturally close many of my views on slashfic were to those of an arrogant over-intellectual sociopath).
rusty_armour
Jun. 12th, 2011 07:26 pm (UTC)
Well, there hasn't been much excitement around here either, so I think I probably will have to stalk you. *g* Thanks for the link for "Captain of the Ship". I've been finally catching up on Merlin, so I have to confess that I'm on a bit of a kick at the moment. However, I think I can deal with Sherlock not being a fan. I think it would be a little surprising if he were. I mean, all the historical anachronisms alone would drive him mad. ;-)
weefreethings
Jun. 11th, 2011 07:15 pm (UTC)
LOL at the amount of mud Lestrade has brought into poor Mycroft's life. And I love the Speckled Band reference! :D
nathcoelho
Jun. 12th, 2011 02:11 am (UTC)
My and Les are so cute!!
great fic! <3
lovely day-in-day of them
xD
whatifisaidno
Jun. 14th, 2011 09:19 pm (UTC)
Cute!
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )