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Jealous Guy (3/4)

BBC Sherlock

Rating 15 (swearing, slash, excessive angst)

Spoilers: None for series 2 (and not compatible with it).

Written for a prompt (no 69) at the Mystrade Fanworks Festival

Summary: John and Mycroft have gone off together to the south of France. Lestrade is still trying to tell himself it's for a case.

Betaed by Thesmallhobbit - many thanks.

Part 1,Part 2.



I began to lose control

By Thursday morning, Lestrade knows what he’s going to do. He texts Mycroft to say he’s probably not going to be able to meet him at the airport and then promptly gets on the tube to Heathrow. When he gets there it’s easy to flash his warrant card and ask the security team if he can watch the CCTV feeds from the arrivals hall. It’s very busy, of course, but he manages to spot Mycroft’s tall smart figure after a bit. He’s walking along slightly more slowly than usual and occasionally gazing down benevolently at his shorter companion.

They’re not holding hands, nothing as blatant as that. But when Lestrade asks the operator to zoom in, it’s easy to see one simple fact: John is happy. He can see the bounce in his stride, the broad grin that keeps breaking out on his face. He’s almost forgotten what John looks like smiling. He’s an attractive man, of course; younger and fitter than Lestrade as well.

“Do you want us to pick the pair of them up?” the supervisor asks. “We can stop them at the exit, if you need us to.”

“No,” he says quietly. “They’ve not committed any crime.”

***

 To his surprise, he gets back to Chelsea before Mycroft and goes to their bedroom to start to pack a few things. Tries to think what to say: better stick to the facts, be adult about it. Shouting and screaming aren’t going to help. What John feels is clear and Mycroft wouldn’t have agreed to go away with him unless he’d made his mind up. The only dignity left for him in this situation is walking away now.

“Good to see you, Greg,” Mycroft says, as he comes into the house, still not quite switched off from the benevolently formal mode that is his default state. And then as he comes towards Lestrade, his arms reaching out to hug him, he stops. As if everything that Lestrade is feeling is somehow immediately obvious to him.

“Is this just London transport blues?” Mycroft asks rapidly, “Or because I didn’t come straight home? I felt I had to drop into the office briefly, check everything was under control.”

“Where’s John got to?” Lestrade finds himself automatically falling into suspect-questioning mode, drawing himself up to look tough, even menacing.

“He went straight back to Baker Street. I’m sorry, were you wanting to see him as well?” Mycroft’s mind is doubtlessly recalling previous messages, calculating timetables and action plans. Soothe irritated spouse is clearly shooting up the list of priorities.

“I was at the airport.”

“You were? Then why–“

“I saw you and John. When you were going to tell me, then?” He can feel his own body tensing.

“What?”

“Your little secret.”

“I don’t know what you mean,” Mycroft says and there’s something just off in his voice that an experienced interrogator can recognise. He’s wondering how much I know, isn’t he? No point in subtlety now.

“You and John. Did you think I wouldn’t notice? That you could just keep on with this relationship indefinitely?”

“You’re suggesting John and I are having an affair?” Mycroft’s stare now is puzzled, his voice precise. He gives the air of a man who would never contemplate such a thing. There’s a reason he’s an excellent poker player, of course.

“You take him off to the south of France on some cooked-up excuse of a case? Do you think I’m blind? Is it that he’s better in bed than me, or what is it?” His hands are balling into fists; he is probably about to do something very stupid.

“This is insane,” Mycroft says, and his poise is crumbling as well, breathing coming too fast. “I have never slept with John Watson.”

How can he sound so sincere? And then Lestrade suddenly realises. No, of course they haven’t done anything yet. This isn’t some brief physical urge that might burn itself out. This is something far deeper and more serious, the gut-wrenching need for that one person who can make you happy. John’s found his Sherlock substitute and he won’t let go of him.

“This trip away was...” Mycroft adds, and then hesitates. “It was not what it might seem. We had separate rooms.”

“So what was it then? Come on, Mycroft, you’ve had plenty of time to come up with a better cover story than missing rugby players, haven’t you? What’s your alibi for this one?”

“I can’t...I can’t discuss it.” Mycroft’s face has paled and he looks near panic.

 “Maybe I should phone John, then, hear what he has to say for himself. He’s not as good a liar as you are, Mycroft, I’m sure I’ll get the truth from him.” He pulls out his phone, desperately hoping that Mycroft will say something, anything, so that he doesn’t have to put them both through the humiliation of this.

Please don’t phone him, Greg. You are making a terrible mistake.”

“Then tell me the truth!” Lestrade demands, and he is so near screaming that he can hardly force the words out of his throat. If he does start yelling, Mycroft will have won; he doesn’t know how much longer he can stand there and listen to that bastard make excuses.

“I...you have to trust me in this matter, Greg. And you have no reason to assume...” And then Lestrade can see something occur to Mycroft, and there’s a sudden fleeting resemblance to Sherlock in ‘thinking mode’. What’s he planning, he wonders. Trying to come up with some clever way to wriggle out of this?

But to his surprise, after a moment Mycroft simply says icily:  “I don’t think we can usefully discuss this at the moment. Perhaps we could continue the conversation at a later date?”

“Fine,” Lestrade snarls. “I’ll be staying with my brother. Come and find me when you’re ready to tell the truth, Mycroft.”

***

 Lestrade knows the Met rumour mill is effective, but even so he doesn’t expect Sally to come into his office the next afternoon and say: “If you ever need somewhere to stay, sir, you’re welcome to come and kip on my sofa.”

“You’ve heard all about what’s happened, have you?” he retorts. So much for the Secret Service.

“Well, you know Anthea and me are friends?”

More like fuck-buddies, he suspects; neither Anthea nor Sally are precisely the friendly sort. “Yeah, well, I have moved out of Mycroft’s for the moment, but it’s not necessarily permanent.”

“Anthea says she should have suspected something,” Sally said. “John kept on turning up at Mycroft’s office a while back, practically camping there till he got to see him. Stupid fuckers both of them; you’re well shot of Mycroft Holmes if he really prefers that shortarsed pillock to you.”

It’s tempting to tell Sally everything, but he knows it’s just going to stoke his rage up even more.

"I don’t want to talk about it,” he says and she gives him a sympathetic smile and goes away. He tries once more to calm himself down, to remember to breathe. He’s almost glad that Mycroft hasn’t been in contact, even if it’s just some kind of psychological technique to soften him up. If he has to see him now, he will...he doesn’t know what he might do. He has these visions of bone crunching beneath his fists, of wiping the smile off John’s face once and for all, of making Mycroft bleed. He’s seen far too many cases of domestic violence, he knows how ordinary people, sensible people, can end up hurting, even killing someone in this kind of situation. He has to avoid that, at least. He may be staggering round like a nicotine-crazed zombie – there is no way he can stay off the cigarettes – but he’s not going to end up in police custody.

One week, two weeks – no word from Mycroft and he’s wondering whether he might need to take up Sally’s offer, there’s a limit to how long he can impose on his brother. It’s not getting any better; he’s not sure when or if it will do.

***

The call comes at midnight, but Lestrade's still at his desk, because if filling out statistical returns can't cure his insomnia, nothing will. Suspect been arrested for the Adair murder and does he want to come and get briefed now? He's so tired that he falls asleep in the panda car, and it's only when he gets out that he realises he's in Baker Street and almost opposite 221B.

"In here," DC Oates guides him through a front door; he follows and finds himself in a large dark, bare room. In one corner there's a huddle of police officers. Over the other side, standing by the window, just visible thanks to the street lights, is a small and familiar figure. That slimy bastard John Watson, who is smiling and saying: "Greg," like he's pleased to see him.

Lestrade's fist is moving before he consciously thinks about it, before he realises that it's stupid trying to attack John. Who, sure enough, rolls back easily from the clumsy punch. Lestrade steps forward, swinging the other hand, because if he can pin John against the wall, then his weight and height might help him. And a strong, long-fingered hand shoots out of the darkness and grabs his arm.

"Don't try and do anything silly," Sherlock's cool voice tells him, as he steps into the light. "You might hurt yourself."

It's at that point that Lestrade goes officially berserk and launches himself at Sherlock, somehow managing to topple them both over. And after that, well, he's just rolling around hitting people, fighting mad from fury and exhaustion. Then he's suddenly face down on the floor with somebody sitting on his legs and his arms pinned behind his back. He realises that every inch of his body hurts and that banging his head on the floor is not actually a constructive move. Makes himself go limp, as he tries to catch his breath.

"Are you going to stop struggling?" Sherlock demands.

"Sherlock." John's voice is firm. "That's the sort of hold that leads to deaths in police custody. Let him go."

The pressure on his body reduces and Lestrade turns over very carefully onto his front. He thinks about trying to stand up and decides that's a bit advanced for him. Though he is pleased to note that Sherlock has a split lip now.

"Sorry 'bout that," he gasps insincerely. "Don't know my own strength."

"That was John," Sherlock says, dabbing at it.

"Slip of the fist," says John. He's not only unmarked, but looking remarkably happy, like a three-way fist fight in a darkened room is just his idea of entertainment. He hasn't seen John look so happy since that time at the airport...oh fuck. Oh fuck, fuck, fuck. He tries to scramble to his feet and then everything goes a bit wobbly round the edges.

***

He's not sure whether technically he fainted, but there are an awful lot of vague bits about the next few hours. At some point he must have been taken across the road to 221B, because there is the old familiar smell of books and excessively strong disinfectant. He keeps on falling asleep and every time he wakes up he feels the need to ask Sherlock if he's alive, because if he is hallucinating about him he wants to be told that. And then he wakes up properly and it's daytime and Mrs Hudson is coming up the stairs with a plateful of bacon sandwiches.

Smells good, he thinks vaguely  and wonders if he ought to get up from the couch he’s collapsed on and grab a few before Sherlock manages to poison them. And then John comes bouncing down the top stairs, and hugs Mrs Hudson, almost making her drop the plate.

“You’re a saint, Mrs Hudson,” John announces.

“Just your landlady, dear,” she says, smiling. “Make sure you save one for himself, he needs some proper English food in him.” She disappears down to her flat and John turns to Lestrade and offers him a sandwich.

“Do you want tea or coffee to drink?” he asks and Lestrade mutters “Coffee”, as he grabs the sandwich. Because what exactly do you say to someone you were trying to beat to a pulp last night due to a misunderstanding about their sex life?

John retreats to the kitchen and rapidly returns with a couple of mugs. He plonks one on the coffee table next to Lestrade, who sits up and concentrates on drinking it, because it means he doesn’t have to look John in the eye. He’s still conscious of John sitting there in the chair opposite him, hands clutched round his steaming mug.

“I wanted to tell you,” John says at last, “but Mycroft and Sherlock insisted I shouldn’t.” It’s obviously going to be one of those just-the-facts conversations. Probably the only way to get through this awful mess, and Lestrade’s immensely grateful.

“Have you known all along?” he says, trying not to sound as if he’s accusing John of anything.

“No. But I guessed when Mycroft went off to Tibet. Sherlock’s always said he wanted to go there, but I couldn’t imagine why Mycroft would.”

“So what happened?”

“I confronted Mycroft, he refused to confirm it. But he was so evasive, I knew I was right. Kept on at him, and then I finally had to resort to blackmail.”

“You tried to blackmail My?” Lestrade tries to imagine that, but it simply does not compute. “You are actually John Watson, aren’t you? I’m not just hallucinating you now?”

“I gave you coffee, didn’t I?” John protests. “Do you want another sandwich, by the way? You look like you haven’t been eating properly.”

If I was dreaming about bacon sandwiches, Lestrade thinks, they’d have ketchup on them. “Got any ketchup?” he asks.

“See what I can find,” John says, standing up. He returns with a plate and a rather sticky looking bottle. “Don’t drop ketchup on the floor, or Sherlock will want to do another one of his ketchup and blood stains comparison experiments.”

The important thing to remember, Lestrade thinks, is that Sherlock makes John happy, but he also brings out the barking mad streak in him. “How on earth did you blackmail My?” he asks.

“Said if he didn’t co-operate I’d hand myself into the police and tell them I killed the cabbie three years ago.” John looks across at Lestrade and there’s a glint in his eyes. “I said if I couldn’t have Sherlock the thought of going to prison didn’t bother me.”

The thing about John is that he’s no good at bluffing. No wonder Mycroft had buckled at that one. And God, how had he ever thought that there could be anyone for John but Sherlock?

“Sorry,” he mutters, and John gives a tiny nod and then says:

“Mycroft said he would arrange for to me to meet Sherlock, but it all got complicated, because the bastard would not stay in one place. We heard he was planning to leave Tibet, and then the next thing we knew he was travelling to Mecca via Iran and then heading off to Sudan. And then he decided that he wanted to do some organic chemistry research and somehow found himself a private lab in Montpellier.”

“Why?”

“There’s never any point in asking ‘why’ of a Holmes.” John says wearily. “I wanted to explain to you, Greg, especially when you got the wrong end of the stick about what was happening, but Sherlock insisted it’d blow his cover.”

“And I was right,” Sherlock’s voice announces, as he stalks down the stairs in a fancy dressing gown, picks up the last bacon sandwich and goes to lean against the mantelpiece in a decorative way. “I mean, it was getting ridiculous. I thought I could trust Mycroft to keep a secret, but he decides to tell John, and then John is itching to tell you, Lestrade, and once someone at Scotland Yard knows you might just as well broadcast it to the whole of London.”

“So you were prepared to put us all through hell instead?” Lestrade demands.

“Temporary hell,” Sherlock says, waving the bacon sandwich airily. “Life seems much rosier, now, doesn’t it? All the sweeter for being conscious of what you so nearly lost.”

“Shut up, you tosser,” John replies, but there’s a warmth in his voice that reminds Lestrade that’s he’s probably just in the way again. He suspects that as soon as Sherlock’s had something to eat, John is going to feel the need to fuck him fairly thoroughly just to remind him not to muck around. Which – oh God – means that he needs to get out of here and face the world. Including the Mycroft-shaped bit of it.

“So have you told Mycroft about last night and capturing Sebastian Moran?” he asks.

“Sent him a text,” Sherlock says. “From the pattern of his recent messages, I suspect he’s currently in the eastern time zone of the US. He is very predictable in the times of day at which he feels the need to phone up and reproach me.”

Fuck. It was going to be tough enough sorting things out with Mycroft. How the hell did he do it if he wasn’t even in the country? Still, first thing to do was go and have a shower and a shave and try to get himself presentable. And then, well he’d just have to be prepared to grovel, wouldn’t he?

***

Once he's vaguely functioning again, he goes off to see the one person who always knows where Mycroft is. But Anthea just smiles her most maddening smile and says:

“Mr Holmes is on holiday.”

“Where? And when’s he gonna get back?”

“Not your business, sir.”

“Anthea!” he protests. “Look, I know I screwed up, but you thought he was up to no good as well, didn’t you?”

Her lovely smile broadens then, and she says cheerily: “Fuck off, sir,” and then returns to contemplating her Blackberry.

He leaves the office and as he’s standing in the street outside, makes a sudden decision, and taps out a text to Sherlock:

Find him for me, please. Greg

***

He doesn’t really expect to get a reply; Sherlock will doubtless be preoccupied with John. But he’s forgotten, of course, that Sherlock loves both puzzles and annoying Mycroft. So it’s less than an hour later that he gets a text back which says simply: Google ‘Mycroft Holmes’. SH

If you Google Mycroft, you find precisely zero hits, that’s always been the case. But now, when he does, there are several pages of results. And on the first page is a photo of Mycroft at a posh party next to a good-looking young black man. Whose name, according to the caption, is Canton Everett Delaware IV.

Delaware, Lestrade discovers, after a bit more searching, is an advisor to President Obama. He’s also, according to one website, the third most-powerful gay African-American man in the US. According to some rather more toxic sites, he’s a Muslim sodomite with a new pansy English communist boyfriend. While “Microft Homes” is a “Euro-weeny happy to take it up the ass from a big black librul cock”.

There are certainly quite a lot of pictures of the pair together at parties in Washington. Maybe there’s nothing going on between them.  But as Lestrade stares at the photos of Mycroft and Canton Delaware he can feel the anger burning in his guts. The anger at himself. I didn't want to hurt you, I'm just a jealous guy. The version of the song he always remembers is by Bryan Ferry in his smart suit and pink tie, making pain sound glamorous. Not this misery that hammers through his head, that replays his mistake over and over again. He can't blame this one on anyone else. He's smashed up things with Mycroft, so Mycroft's found someone else who can behave like a sane man. Obvious thing to do. That's the problem with jealousy: produces what it fears. He's seen the pattern in so many cases over the years, and he didn't spot it in his own. Stupid, stupid, stupid.


Bryan Ferry's version of Jealous Guy



Part 4

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
et_cetera55
Jan. 8th, 2012 06:49 pm (UTC)
Oh poor Lestrade!

I love this story so much. Looking forwards to part 4 (when I hope Sherlock/John will bang Mycroft's and Lestrade's heads together)

(Oh and yay for Canton Everett Delaware IV!)
kalypso_v
Jan. 9th, 2012 12:24 pm (UTC)
I too am delighted to see the Canton Delawares continue to thrive. Even if they'll need to seek boyfriends somewhere else.
cyranothe2nd
Jan. 16th, 2012 03:41 am (UTC)
Doctor Who shoutout!!!!!

Also, srsly, it isn't just Lestrade who should be apologizing/eating crow here. Relationships are built on trust and trust is built on the facts of someone's behaviour. Mycroft's behaviour changed and Lestrade came to the best conclusion he could have. It wasn't crazy, by any means, and it wasn't his fault alone becaue Mycroft could have either decided to confide in him or done something to allay his fears.
2ndskin
Jan. 16th, 2012 05:07 pm (UTC)
Got thwarted by LJfail last time I tried to comment, so here we go again! As the young fangirls say--so many FEELINGS--in this one. Things I love: semi-stoic Lestrade (I don't want to talk about it, I just want to punch people); Sally/Anthea pillow talk; calm John, decorative Sherlock, more angsting and need-to-make-this-right Lestrade, trying to figure out who the #1 and #2 most powerful gay black men are--it's difficult!)
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )