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Jealous Guy (4/4)

BBC Sherlock

Rating 15 (swearing, slash)

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

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

Summary: Lestrade's jealousy about Mycroft has produced what it feared

Betaed by Thesmallhobbit - many thanks.

Part 1,Part 2,Part 3


I was dreaming of the past

Lestrade knows he can’t do anything until Mycroft comes back; well, at least is back in the country. Flying off to Washington to try and track his husband down might come across OK in a romantic comedy. In the real world, it looks perilously close to stalking. And if the right-wing bloggers get any hint that there’s a love-triangle involved they will go crazier than ever, and that’s not going to go down well with Mycroft. He has to avoid getting them any deeper in the shit.

He falls back into survival mode, and ironically it's almost back to what it was like when Sherlock died. When he'd thought Sherlock was dead. He makes himself get up in the morning and shave and go to work on time in mostly ironed shirts and not fall apart at the seams. And if his handling of cases isn't exactly brilliant, does it matter? The crime rate's down with Moriarty finally gone and he has a consulting detective genius on hand for when he's baffled, which frankly is most of the time. Sherlock is, of course, indifferent to the fact that Lestrade is a walking wreck. And John – well, John is still at the point where about 95% of his concentration is on Sherlock, as if he daren't look away from him for more than two minutes or he might disappear again, turn out to be a ghost all along. Things are never going to be quite the same for him either, are they? You fix the broken bones, but some of the scars linger.

Lestrade realises one day that Mycroft must have been in the States for nearly a month. Wonders, as usual, when he’s going to come back, and has an abrupt panicky thought: Maybe he won’t. Surely Mycroft would never abandon Britain? But if he’s really serious about this Canton bloke, what might happen? The Washington gossip sites make it clear they’re still involved, you apparently can’t breathe within the Beltway without someone blogging it. And Sherlock always used to say that Mycroft practically ran the CIA on a freelance basis. Maybe he could find a job over there if he wanted to.

He’ll come back for Christmas at least, Lestrade tells himself hurriedly. Or to sort out the divorce. He wonders again whether he should write to Mycroft, but how can he explain himself? How can he put into words his own ridiculous jealousy, the illusions that were clouding his mind? It’d just confirm to Mycroft that he’s better off with his new boyfriend. You can’t unscramble this mess.

***

The text from Sherlock arrives when Lestrade’s sitting in his office just before lunchtime, trying to convince himself that a packet of crisps and a past-its-sell-by date yogurt really is a healthy lunch.

 I’ve sent you an e-mail with a link to a video. Watch it. SH

He texts back rapidly: Safe for work?

No violence and definitely no nudity. SH

Lestrade’s aware that leaves whole categories of problematic material unaccounted for, but at least Sherlock’s unlikely to send a video of a cute animal to him unless it’s one with potential as a murder weapon. And when he clicks on the link, what comes up is a security camera eye view of an interior: the living room in 221B, no mistaking that wallpaper. Mycroft’s bugging Baker Street again, is he? What does he think he’s doing?

What Mycroft’s doing, he suddenly realises, is sitting there in the flat staring crossly at Sherlock, who’s fiddling with his phone. Mycroft’s back in London, then, and Lestrade’s heart is suddenly hammering as if he’s in the room with him.

What do you think you’re playing at, he texts Sherlock. The reply is immediate:

Proving a point. SH

“What do you think you’re playing at?” Mycroft demands of the onscreen Sherlock.

“Proving a point. I told you I had information about Lestrade and here you are.”

“What you’re doing is interfering in my private life,” Mycroft says, and it’s amazing the reproachful note he can get into that statement. Lestrade tries to keep the volume of his swearing down at this point because there have been recent complaints from the people outside his office.

“I’m merely providing a few data points,” Sherlock says, smiling down at his phone. “Such as that Lestrade is smoking again. Quite heavily, I deduce, despite his attempts at concealment. I pick-pocketed one pack of twenty and he was halfway through a second pack by the time I pick-pocketed him again the next day.”

“And?” Mycroft asks in a freezing tone. Sherlock turns his infuriating smile on his brother.

“And if he has a heart attack or gets lung cancer it would be inconvenient for me and Mummy would be cross.”

“I’m not Greg’s keeper.”

“Just as well, or you’d be prosecuted for cruelty to a dumb animal,” Sherlock says. “But if you want to dissolve your civil partnership, I suggest you two actually discuss the matter. It’s become extremely boring watching you fooling around with Delaware and trying to make Lestrade jealous. You have no flair for adultery. Have you actually had sex with the man, yet, by the way? Or does that depend on what definition of sex you’re using?”

Even with the poor quality image, Lestrade can see Mycroft’s body stiffen at that one, look away from Sherlock, straight towards the camera. And then there’s a sudden stillness. Oh fuck, Lestrade thinks. He didn’t know the camera was there, did he? Not Mycroft bugging 221B, but Sherlock bugging his own flat, setting up Mycroft...

“I think,” Mycroft says very calmly, as he stares unblinkingly into the camera, “that I would prefer this discussion without Sherlock as your proxy, Greg. I presume you’re at New Scotland Yard, so meet me at Queen Anne’s Cafe on Broadway in quarter of an hour, please.”

***

Lestrade orders a skinny latte for Mycroft and a double espresso for himself, and tries to brace himself for getting chewed out. Though he can tell as soon as Mycroft's tall, tense figure appears at his table that he's in one of those 'more in sorrow than anger' moods that always make Lestrade feel like an ignorant, blundering idiot. Well, that's pretty appropriate, isn't it?

"Good afternoon, Greg," Mycroft says, as calmly as if this is some formal briefing meeting. Lestrade braces himself, wishing the smoking ban had never been invented, because he needs every chemical help he can get right now.

"Before you start, My," he says, "I didn't know what Sherlock was planning with the camera feed, but I still shouldn't have watched a private conversation. I shouldn't have started smoking again and I really should have trusted you and John. Anything else you need me to apologise for?" It comes out more belligerently than he intends, but he's never been good at grovelling.

"The reason you are no good at card games," Mycroft replies, sitting down very slowly, and delicately picking up his coffee, "is that you always show your hand far too soon.  And that you don't even realise when you hold an ace."

"What do you mean?" He looks into Mycroft's grey eyes, which slide away from his face, and he realises that Mycroft's calm is all just a front, a shield for something painfully vulnerable.

"There is something you don't need to apologise for. Did it never occur to you when you thought I was cheating on you that you could find someone yourself, indulge in a little tit for tat? Or when you'd walked out on me?"

It's a good job Lestrade's sitting down, because he can feel his legs give way in shock.

"I, I...no. Just...no."

"My immediate hypothesis after your accusation," Mycroft says very quietly, fiddling with his cup, “was that you were projecting your desires, or trying to excuse your own conduct. I had you watched, of course, to see if you were cheating on me, while I sought out someone who would allow me to retaliate if you were."

"Canton Delaware."

"You believed the worst of me, why not confirm it? Even when I knew that there was no-one else involved on your side. I told myself it was justified."

"It was," Lestrade says, and now his body feels not just shaky but almost too heavy to keep upright. Like it's made of some bizarre lead jelly. He takes a last swallow of his coffee, but it doesn't help.

"No," Mycroft says, and his fingers come across the table to brush, very gently against Lestrade's hand, clenched round its mug. "The first rule of strategy, the most important one, is very simple. When you're in a hole, stop digging. I didn't sleep with Canton, because just in time I realised that I still wanted you, and that hurting you, betraying you, wasn't going to help. And how could I complain about your lack of trust when I'd promptly unleashed a surveillance team on you? I have been gravely at fault as well, Greg, and I must apologise."

Their fingers are intertwining almost automatically now, but it's not as simple as that, Lestrade knows.

"It's OK," he says, even though they both know it isn't. "We're been idiots, haven't we?"

 Mycroft nods, and then says slowly, "But I must ask...why did you believe it? Of John, if not of me?"

Lestrade winces at that, but he forces himself to look at Mycroft. "He said once...you fancied him."

"I did," Mycroft says, "but there've been other men in the past, for both of us. And you're not normally jealous...or insecure." There is something in the way he says the last word that suggests to Lestrade whole new cans of worms best left firmly unopened.

"It was Sherlock dying," he says, instead. "That kind of sudden death, murder, it screws people up. People do crazy things from grief sometimes."

Mycroft sits there and Lestrade can hear his brain processing that idea. Just occasionally you remember that Mycroft, like Sherlock, sometimes finds the behaviour of ordinary people mysterious.

"Sherlock playing dead was a good idea in theory," Mycroft says at last, "but an immensely stupid move by both him and myself in practice. I saw what it was doing to John, I forgot the strains it was imposing on you. I think, in terms of errors of judgement, we're more or less all square. Which means, Greg, that we now have two options."

It's seldom romantic being with Mycroft, but then Lestrade isn't really one for romance himself.

"Which are?" he says, and his thumb is starting to stroke Mycroft's palm in a way that he hopes is an unsubtle hint.

"We can sit here auditing our past mistakes in excruciating detail," Mycroft says, rather abruptly, "or we can go and have make-up sex, which I'm reliably informed can be immensely satisfying. Well, not so much reliably informed, as told by Sherlock."

Lestrade's unconscious cannot help flashing up images of Sherlock that first morning back in Baker Street, lounging smugly around like a bloody bacon-fed alpha lion. And then he sees Mycroft’s gaze on him and remembers that’s he really far too easy to read.

"Of course I think Sherlock's sexy,” he says, “I'm a bloody gay man. But I haven't slept with him and I wouldn't, and I'm 100% certain I'd rather have you than him."

Mycroft has the momentarily baffled look of someone whose careful strategic plan has just been rudely short-circuited. Succeeded by something that's almost a smile.

"That's a yes to make-up sex, by the way," Lestrade adds. I didn’t mean to hurt you, I didn’t mean to make you cry. There’s a lot of hurt been caused by this whole sodding mess, but time to start fixing it. He digs in his pocket and pulls out his packet of fags and slides them across the table to Mycroft.

“Dump them,” he says.

“And the other pack?” Mycroft asks, in a voice that’s stern and yet somehow tender. “If Sherlock’s taken to pick-pocketing them, you presumably have an emergency cache?”

“I’m going round with cigarettes stashed in my left sock. God, I’m a mess without you, aren’t I?”

“I put on three pounds while in the States,” Mycroft replies softly. He overeats when he’s unhappy, Lestrade knows that by now. And that Mycroft’s embarrassed by the habit.

“They serve you far too much food over there,” Lestrade says, smiling, “hard to avoid eating a bit much sometimes. What you need is a bit of exercise, that’ll help get the pounds off again.”

“And you, presumably, need something to distract you from your cravings for nicotine?”

Lestrade doesn’t say anything, just nods. Because Mycroft is looking at him in a way that he hasn’t seen for a long time, a look that makes him shiver inside. Mycroft is systematically working out how to reduce Lestrade to a sweaty and incoherent wreck in the shortest possible time. How to reclaim Lestrade as his own, body and soul. Because they are going to make this thing work, aren't they, regardless of what life – and death – can throw at them.


Comments

( 17 comments — Leave a comment )
maggie_conagher
Jan. 9th, 2012 08:36 am (UTC)
loved this realistic relationship and how they had to sort their way through all the hurt. Building and maintaining something is in some ways more romantic than the fluff of love at first sight etc.

All the sadder for nobody bursting into tears. I admire your restraint. :)
marysutherland
Jan. 14th, 2012 08:16 am (UTC)
I've been married long enough now to know that relationships can go badly wrong even when you love one another, and that it does take work to fix them.

My characters all tend to be very emotionally repressed (other than concerning anger), so they rarely cry. But this also means they are terrible at actually talking to one another and sorting out their difficulties. It'll be interesting to see how many tears we get in The Reichenbach Fall.
et_cetera55
Jan. 9th, 2012 07:44 pm (UTC)
I second maggie_conagher - you have portrayed the whole Greg/Mycroft relationship beautifully realistically (and painfully). This was a wonderful fic - thank you for sharing :)
flawedamythyst
Jan. 12th, 2012 01:50 am (UTC)
Oh, this was good. I very much enjoyed it, even if it was mostly-sad. Happy endings make up for that.
marysutherland
Jan. 14th, 2012 08:19 am (UTC)
I did once say that my typical fic was 10,000 words of angst followed by a happy ending. I find it hard to create a believable, changing relationship unless I have that kind of wordcount to work in. And I'm too sentimental to write many fics with unhappy endings - real life has too many of those.
flawedamythyst
Jan. 14th, 2012 03:27 pm (UTC)
Mine is probably 10-30k of UST, followed by a schmoopy ending. I can't do unhappy endings either, and it generally takes me ages to convince at least one character (usually Sherlock, occasionally John, sometimes both) that they want to get it on with the other.
thesmallhobbit
Jan. 14th, 2012 10:05 pm (UTC)
Very pleased to see this posted. Poor Lestrade, letting his own insecurities take over. But so glad they had make up sex as recommended by the unrealiable informant called Sherlock.
(Deleted comment)
marysutherland
Jan. 21st, 2012 06:56 pm (UTC)
Glad you enjoyed reading. I tend to feel that RL has too many unhappy stories for me to want to write them as well. And I take both Mycroft and especially Lestrade as being grown-up enough to try and make things work again even when they have made serious mistakes.
(Deleted comment)
girlysocks
Jan. 15th, 2012 02:33 pm (UTC)
Awwww, I loved this. Jealous Lestrade is really kind of cute the way you write him. Also, I loved happy, bouncy John 'cos he's my sweetie.
cyranothe2nd
Jan. 16th, 2012 03:47 am (UTC)
AWWWW! ~Mutual~ apologies, YAY!
marysutherland
Jan. 21st, 2012 07:01 pm (UTC)
You were entirely right in your comment on part 3 - Mycroft is a lot to blame for what happened, and he handled the whole situation very badly. I've written quite a lot of Mystrade fics and I always tend to write Mycroft as retreating, emotionally and literally, whenever things go wrong, whereas Lestrade will get angry easily, but won't bear a grudge. (I think both of those characteristics are already visible in canon). I admire Lestrade a lot precisely because I'm more like Mycroft in that way.
2ndskin
Jan. 16th, 2012 05:27 pm (UTC)
Whew. I did know I could count on a happy ending, but a month in DC with too much food and a willing Canton? Dear me. Good for Mycroft for resisting the one, if not the other. I was quite irritated with Mycroft in this fic, but I think that's a good thing--I can tend to idolize him as much as Lestrade, so this is a good corrective. Things I loved besides the overall story: "Sherlock's unlikely to send a cute animal to him unless it's one with potential as a murder weapon," "cruelty to a dumb animal," "bacon-fed alpha lion" (I see a zoological theme); Also thought S's interference very in character. Well done as ALWAYS.
lifefiction
Feb. 1st, 2012 03:51 pm (UTC)
This was brilliant, I just ♥ it!
(Deleted comment)
marysutherland
Jun. 8th, 2012 08:30 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you enjoyed the characters. Constable (Eustace) Oates is actually from another old favourite of mine: PG Wodehouse, The Code of the Woosters. As you have obviously noticed, there are a lot of characters (and plot points) from Golden Age detective fiction lurking in the margins of my stories.
( 17 comments — Leave a comment )