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Sweet Life (2/2)

BBC Sherlock

Rating 15 (swearing, slash, drug-taking)

Summary: Lestrade is undercover as a waiter, trying to protect the Slindon diamonds. Sherlock's there on his own and Mycroft's there on drugs. It's not going to be a good evening...

Betaed, yet again, by the indefatigable Blooms84.

Part 1


Lestrade decided after a couple of hours that if he did get chucked out of the Met – and there was probably a decent chance of that after tonight – he wasn't going to go into the catering trade. His feet hadn't ached since so much since he'd been walking a beat, he had a headache from the noise, and the urge to start a revolution from the rudeness of some of the guests. He was feeling sweaty and dishevelled, and if anyone else complained about the champagne being second-rate, he was going to give them an earful. Why the hell couldn't someone try and steal all the jewellery on display? It'd make the party a bloody sight more interesting.

Lady Slindon was beckoning him over now: he hoped his supposed employer wasn't going to comment on the state of his shoes as well. She'd already confiscated his mobile; the catering staff weren't allowed to carry them, apparently. Probably in case they started taking photos of how dishonourably some of the Right Honourables were behaving, Lestrade thought mutinously.

"There seems to be some little local difficulty over by the Watteau," Lady Slindon announced. Lestrade waited, looking blank.

"The painting of the minstrel in red, over in the far corner," she said, looking crossly up at him. "There's rather a commotion, and I'm afraid some of my guests may be getting a little...excited."

"Someone blotto by the Watteau," he couldn't help muttering, and then hastily added. "I'll go and check, my lady." He wasn't quite sure what he could do, but this might be something kicking off. Decoy manoeuvre for the jewel raid, perhaps? Or just some twit who didn't mind that the champagne wasn't vintage enough?

The countess was right, he decided, as he tried to shove his way politely through the crowd.  There wasn't just the normal upper-class bray coming from that corner, but something more, someone losing their temper. And as he approached, a familiar voice announced rather too loudly: "You know nothing about the matter, and I suggest you keep your opinions to yourself."

Mycroft's voice, not Sherlock's, but it was probably Sherlock winding Mycroft up. What the fuck were those two idiots playing at? But though he could see Mycroft's long, smooth back now, there was no trace of Sherlock. Could Mycroft be quarrelling with someone else? Didn't seem plausible.

But when Lestrade got really close, it made more sense, because Mycroft was drunk. Gestures slightly too big, speech a bit blurred, eyes not quite focusing on the man he was berating. How the hell had he got sozzled so quickly? Oh, sod it - because of the drugs he'd taken before he started drinking. And it looked like Mycroft was an aggressive drunk: he'd started on some new victim now, demanding their views on Mexican politics in a rather menacing way. It was going to blow Lestrade's cover, but he'd better get him somewhere safe before he started breaching the Official Secrets Act.

Or before Mycroft ended up doing something really stupid in public. He had to help him avoid that. The poor sod was going to be embarrassed enough about this afterwards as it was; Sherlock would probably be teasing him for months.

"Mycroft," he said, reaching out, and firmly taking his arm. "It's Greg Lestrade. I need to talk to you, so can you just come with me for a minute?"

Mycroft turned slowly and peered down his nose at Lestrade. Is he going to turn nasty, try and take a swing at me? Am I just going to make things worse? But then Mycroft seemed to recognise him, and gave a slightly vacant smile.

"I'd be delighted to," he said, and let Lestrade start to steer him across the crowded room. If they could just get outside, he could find someone to look after Mycroft, take him home. Ought to see if there was anything else he could do to help, later on. He'd have to be tactful about that, though; it'd probably be quite hard for Mycroft to admit he had problems, when he was so used to being in control of himself.

God, Mycroft was sweating, wasn't he? Not surprising, the room was boiling, but he looked very pale, and he was definitely wobbly. Lestrade hoped he wasn't going to start throwing up. His pupils were dilated as well: what the hell could he be on, and should he be getting him to hospital? If he could only find Sherlock; he'd be sure to know what his brother's habit was.

As if in answer to that thought, he spotted a tall, dark figure slipping his way through knots of people and heading his way, lithe body almost dancing through gaps. Sherlock had a broad grin on his face as he arrived next to Lestrade.

"Where've you been, Lestrade?" he demanded. "The balloon goes up in seven minutes and Jones wants you in place."

"What?"

"Didn't you get his message? The raid's at 9.20, and it's 9.13 now."

"Go away, Sherlock!" Mycroft announced. "I'm having a private conversation with Greg."

Sherlock's eyes flicked up and down his brother contemptuously.

"You idiot, Mycroft. I told you this might happen if you came."

"What's he on?" Lestrade demanded.

"Insulin. He's diabetic and he's having a hypoglycaemic episode. Needs some sugar." Sherlock whirled round back into the crowd, and reappeared a few moments later clutching a silver tray loaded with raspberry tartlets. But as he tried to cram one into Mycroft's mouth, his brother lashed out, his fist crashing clumsily into the tray, scattering the pastries onto protesting guests.

"Keep him away from me!" Mycroft yelled.

"It's OK, Mycroft," Lestrade said soothingly, taking his arm again. "Come over here and sit down. Sherlock, grab some fruit juice, it'll be easier to get that down him."

By the time Sherlock returned, Lestrade had Mycroft deposited in a chair at the side of the room. He should have thought of diabetes, he told himself furiously, they always used to warn you to look for that if you were arresting someone for being drunk and disorderly. He grabbed the glass of orange juice that Sherlock thrust at him. Gently does it now, Mycroft's not himself. He firmly squashed the thought that said that was a good thing, bent down to put his arm round Mycroft's shoulder and then held the glass to his lips.

"You're having a hypo, so I'm giving you some fruit juice," he said as reassuringly as he could. "Drink some of it please, Mycroft, you'll feel a lot better." Mycroft obediently swallowed; the juice was mostly going in, Lestrade thought.

"Four minutes till kick-off time," Sherlock announced.

"I'm staying with Mycroft, Sherlock, tell DI Jones that." He wasn't leaving the British government collapsed in a sweaty heap. More to the point, he wasn't leaving Mycroft like this.

"They may need you."

"So does Mycroft and he's more important." He handed the empty glass to Sherlock, as if he were the waiter, and turned back to Mycroft, gave his shoulder a squeeze. God, he still looked terrible, he thought.

"OK," he said, as Sherlock slid away. "Just sit here for a bit till you feel better. Is there anything else you need?"

"I...I'm fine," Mycroft said unconvincingly. "If you have to go..."

"I don't. How are you feeling?"

"Still a little...hazy. But I'll be all right in a couple of minutes, now I've had a drink."

"No hurry," said Lestrade. And then all the lights went out.

A woman started to scream in the pitch dark, and Lestrade could feel Mycroft's body shaking, near panic from the hypo and the disorientation. He crouched down beside the chair and grabbed for Mycroft's hand. He accidentally groped his thigh – more muscle there than expected, his fingers abruptly registered - and then managed to find the clammy fingers, grip onto them. Mycroft's breath was harsh as Lestrade wrapped himself round him, willing him to calm.

"Stay still, you're safe. You're not having a blackout, there's been a power cut. Don't try and move, you'll trip over someone. Just keep listening to me, I'm here with you."

The screaming stopped abruptly as a man's voice rang through the hall, gloriously confident:

"Ladies and gentlemen, this is Lord Slindon. I'm afraid that the Tarrant Hall wiring has let us down yet again, and we seem to have blown a fuse. So if everyone just stays where they are, we'll get some torches, and then take you all out into the garden instead, which is looking very lovely in the moonlight. But it'll take us a little while, so please bear with us. We'll need to escort you out a few at a time, to avoid any accidents."

There was a moment's quiet when the announcement ended and then the hubbub of normal conversation resuming. The spirit of the blackout, if not the Blitz. A few small pools of light from pen torches and mobile phones emerging. Shouldn't have stopped smoking, Lestrade thought, or I'd have had a lighter on me.

Mycroft's fingers were crushing Lestrade's hand now, and he heard him mutter something.

"What is it?" Lestrade asked.

"You said you'd stay with me, DI...Greg."

"Of course."

"I think you need to...reconsider your decision, I'm almost sure that wasn't Lord Slindon's voice just now."

"Oh fuck, the raid. The lights go out and then they grab...no, that doesn't make sense."

"The lights go out," Mycroft replied slowly and carefully, "and then people get escorted out one by one-"

"So that they can pick out anyone with valuable stuff on them, take them off somewhere, and they probably won't be missed for a while. Sod it, that's neat."

"You need to stop them," Mycroft said, his hand pulling away from Lestrade's.

"There's a dozen coppers and Sherlock out there," Lestrade replied. "There's just me in here to protect you. Most important man in Britain, I'd say. I'm not budging."

"Thank you, Greg," Mycroft breathed, and there was something trusting in his voice that ricocheted through Lestrade's body. Oh fuck, he thought, what a time to realise just what he does to me. But then he felt Mycroft's hand reaching up to brush his cheek, the shift of weight as Mycroft's body relaxed into Lestrade's encircling arm. Maybe it was the right time after all. A silent moment of connection, warmth, before the next hurdle to be faced.

***

"You're sure you feeling OK?" Lestrade couldn't help asking after a minute or two, his grip tightening slightly round Mycroft, holding him closer.

"Fine," Mycroft said softly. "I'm sorry for distracting you from your operation."

"It's OK. You couldn't help it." Just like I can't help this, whatever happens later.

"It's not the first time this has happened," Mycroft said. "I...I mean the hypoglycaemia. I try and keep my blood sugar levels tightly controlled, but occasionally I miscalculate."

You try and keep everything under tight control, Lestrade thought, and look what a miscalculation that's been.

"Is this something recent?" he asked.

"I've had diabetes for years, since I was a child. It's just...I haven't told many people about it."

Because you'd rather be thought a toffee-nosed doughnut-rejecting git than show anything that might appear to be a weakness. Typical Holmes.

"I can keep my trap shut," Lestrade said. "But next time-"

"There may not be a next time," Mycroft replied quietly.

"What the fuck?"

"I didn't mean it like that, Greg." There was a taut control in Mycroft's voice now. "But there is someone with a powerful torch who's been standing at the door for a while and is now heading right this way. There is a small but non-zero possibility that they're looking for me, and that this is more than a simple robbery. It's the other reason I so seldom attend parties."

"Someone may be out to get you?"

"Perhaps quite literally. I'm fairly sure it's only one person, so if you move away you'll be out of the danger zone."

"I'm not going anywhere," said Lestrade. "We're in this together." One man, but probably armed. And if a gun went off in this crowded room, there'd be a stampede and someone would get killed. Probably best not to mention that to Mycroft.

"Are you OK to walk?" he added. "Not too shaky?"

"I'm almost back to normal. Well, my blood sugar levels, at any rate."

"Then stand up and hang onto me, because if we get separated, we may not be able to find each other again. Let me do the talking, and I swear I'll get us out of this safely." Mycroft probably knew that was complete bullshit, but his sweaty palm slipped confidently into Lestrade's hand.

Was this the right tactic, Lestrade wondered as the bloke with the torch got nearer. The primitive urge to run, to hide was screaming through him. He realised he was pressing his hip almost automatically against Mycroft's side; if the shooting started, he could knock Mycroft on the floor and then pile on top to protect him. Don't be stupid, he told himself. If someone fires at this range, neither of us has a ghost of a chance.

The torch swept across the wall beside them and he fought not to close his eyes, because if he couldn't see them, they couldn't see him. And now the beam was turning towards them...

"You OK, sir?" said Sally Donovan.

Lestrade let out a breath he didn't know he'd been holding.

"Sally!" he croaked. "Good to see you."

"You got the...erm, Mr Holmes with you?"

"Good evening, Sergeant Donovan," Mycroft said, sounding staggeringly composed. "I take it things are now under control."

"Yeah. Come with me, and we'll get you out of here." They followed cautiously through the crowd.

"Sorry for the delay," Sally said. "We had to make sure we'd collared them all. Excuse me, please, madam, can we get through here? We're bringing lights in right now, everyone can leave soon."

As they neared the doors of the hall, Mycroft's hand pulled away from Lestrade's.

"You OK?" Lestrade murmured.

"If you could give me a moment please, Inspector, I'm still a little wobbly."

"Got some paramedics if you need then," Sally said. "The Freak...Sherlock said you'd been taken ill."

"Just a little overcome with the heat," said Mycroft. "If DI Lestrade could give me a hand, it'd be helpful. I don't want to trip over anything in the dark."

Lestrade slung his arm round Mycroft's back in a way he hoped looked more 'helpful bloke' than 'secretly wants to touch up this man's arse', and they went on.

"It all went smoothly, did it, Sally?" he asked, as they walked along seemingly endless corridors.

"Worked like a dream once the Freak spotted that the meter reader was bogus, and realised that he'd put a detonator in the fuse box. The thing was timed to blow at 9.20, so when a bunch of extra catering staff arrived at quarter past nine, we just had to arrest them. We knew they had an inside man as well, so we let him do the announcement in the hall, and then grabbed him."

"Who was that?"

"The butler, I presume," Mycroft broke in. "It almost always is."

"Yeah," Sally replied. "DI Jones and the others are processing the gang now. You'd have been proud how slick the arrests were, sir."

"Sorry I missed out," said Lestrade.

"Sherlock said he was keeping you informed, but I might have known he'd foul things up."

"It was really my fault for complicating the matter," Mycroft said, as they emerged into the moonlit calm of the garden.

"Not your fault," Lestrade replied. "I'll take you home now, unless there's anything else I need to sort out here."

Sally was looking up at him curiously, he realised, and Mycroft's breathing suddenly seemed louder.

"I don't need..." said Mycroft, and then suddenly stopped, looking down at the ground. Lestrade's hand automatically dropped away from his back. You don't need my help. Or at least you do, but you can't stand to take it. So you're going to push me away again, you sodding bastard, despite what happened tonight. Because of what happened tonight.

"I don't need to say," Mycroft said at last, very slowly and distinctly, "how grateful I am to the Met for tonight's work. Both for the smooth running of this operation under very difficult circumstances and for the care taken of me when I became unwell. All most commendable. If you were able to accompany me, Inspector Lestrade, we could, erm, discuss the possible security implications of Lord Slindon's butler having criminal connections."

"We can wrap up things here, sir," said Sally cheerily. "No need to come back after you've dropped Mr Holmes off. You can go straight to bed."

Oh fuck, thought Lestrade, it was that bloody obvious, was it?

"OK Sally," he said. "See you tomorrow." As she went back inside, he turned to look at Mycroft. God only knew if it was medically advisable for him to have a shag tonight, but you had to unwind after a situation like tonight's somehow. Mycroft's face was unreadable in the dim light, and Lestrade felt sudden uncertainty. Had Mycroft meant what he thought he'd meant?

And then Mycroft put out his hand tentatively and took Lestrade's. "I suppose," he said, "I should have revealed some of my weaknesses before."

"Don't worry, Mycroft," said Lestrade, just before their lips met. "You may still have to stay clear of the doughnuts, but no-one's ever thought that I'm too sweet."
 

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
thesmallhobbit
Nov. 14th, 2011 05:15 pm (UTC)
I enjoyed this very much. Lestrade's care and concern for Mycroft was lovely, although clearly Sally saw where it was all heading!
fengirl88
Nov. 15th, 2011 01:14 am (UTC)
I liked this explanation of Mycroft's concern for his diet - I wondered if that's where the previous part was going.

*sporfles happily at "Someone blotto by the Watteau"*
dominomino
Nov. 21st, 2011 06:38 pm (UTC)
This may have just become my head canon.:D Enjoyed this so much. By the way, does this make Lestrade the only man on Earth who has slept with both of the Holmes brothers? *g*
marysutherland
Nov. 22nd, 2011 04:06 pm (UTC)
Unfortunately, Mycroft as diabetic immediately rules out a whole lot of excellent fics by other writers in which he is helplessly or lasciviously eating sweet things.

I've seen quite a few fics where Lestrade has slept with both Holmes. More unusually, there are a few in which John does. (I've written one like that myself).
angharadd
Jan. 11th, 2012 10:29 pm (UTC)
I liked this fic, diabetic Mycroft makes so much sense, and your Lestrade voice is a joy.
marysutherland
Jan. 14th, 2012 08:11 am (UTC)
I took me a while to feel confident writing from Lestrade's POV, but now I find it very enjoyable to do, because he's tough without being callous and has a sardonic sense of humour.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )