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MI Sex (1/3)

BBC Sherlock

Rating: 18 (swearing, drug-taking, explicit slash)

Spoilers: none for Series 2 and not compatible with it.

Written for a prompt (no 103) at the Mystrade Fanworks Festival and betaed by the amazing Blooms84.


The first time he met Mycroft Holmes, Lestrade had just nipped outside the Royal London Hospital, because he was getting desperate for a smoke. Puffing away rapidly, still worrying about Sherlock, he saw a tall, dark-haired man in a penguin suit approach him.

"Are you Joe Collier?" the man asked a little uncertainly. "The nurses said you'd come out here."

"Yeah, that's me," Lestrade replied. The man looked at him dubiously again. Lestrade worried if it was the smoking that was putting him off. Or his filthy clothes, or the frankly appalling sight of Lestrade with his hair dyed carroty-orange.

"I'm Mycroft Holmes, Sherlock's brother," the man said. "I was at the opera, when they told me he'd had an accident. What happened?"

"We were doing a job replacing pipes over at Coburg Square. Trench collapsed, he got buried in the rubble. I got him out, but he'd bust some ribs and they were worried about internal injuries. They're doing tests on him, now. Dunno what exactly."

He knew it sounded implausible, but it was less implausible than the real truth. That they'd been just about to get their hands on John Clay and his associates, and foil their attempts to tunnel into a bank when some half-arsed gang member had managed to bring the whole tunnel down around their ears. Complete bloody disaster. He stubbed out his cigarette.

"Better get back inside," he added. "They didn't say how long they were going to be. I want to check he's OK before I bugger off." He paused. "He didn't say he had a brother." Sherlock had worked with him for more than a year and Lestrade had always presumed he'd been raised by a pack of wolves. Or possibly bloodhounds.

"I'm a civil servant," Mycroft Holmes – what kind of a name was Mycroft? – replied. "I've been on secondment in the United States for a few years."

When they got back inside there was still no word about Sherlock. "Afraid you're gonna miss all your opera," Lestrade said, and settled back in the least uncomfortable of the plastic chairs. "I can get us some coffee if you like." Mycroft was staring rather hard at him, he realised, slightly embarrassed.

"Shouldn't you be getting seen to?" Mycroft enquired. "You...you have blood on your shirt."

"Probably Sherlock's. I dug him out, it was all pretty messy. I'll get meself cleaned up and seen to later."

"But-"

"There's a ten-mile queue down in A & E. I'll be sat there till midnight and they'll discharge Sherlock when me back's turned."

"You're very concerned for your...colleague."

"He's the weirdest bloke I've ever worked with, but we're mates," Lestrade said. "We look out for one another."

"Hold out your hands," Mycroft said, coming to stand in front of him, and there was a tone of command in his voice that somehow had Lestrade doing what he was told. Mycroft inspected them carefully, and Lestrade tried to resist the urge to say: Any other bits of my body you'd like to examine? He'd always had a weakness for dressed-up posh blokes.

"Some of the cuts are quite deep," Mycroft announced. "I'll go and find someone to take a look at you." He disappeared, and to Lestrade's astonishment, returned quarter of an hour later with a nurse. She promptly took Lestrade off to a treatment room, as Mycroft sat back down and started fiddling with his phone. By the time Lestrade got back, cleaned and bandaged, Mycroft had installed himself comfortably in one corner of the waiting room and was sedately drinking coffee from an actual cup and saucer.

"I'll have someone bring up some sandwiches soon," Mycroft announced. "They had to operate on Sherlock, we'll be here for hours yet. And you need to keep your strength up. That is, if you want to stay here, DI Lestrade."

Lestrade wondered for a moment if he should try bluffing and then saw Mycroft's shrewd grey eyes on him and knew it was pointless.

"How did you know?" he said.

"I was appallingly slow, rather distracted I'm afraid. But your hands are not those of a manual labourer and though you're strongly-built, it's also not a labourer's physique. Your skin tone would be genetically unusual to find combined with red hair, and the intensity of your eye colour suggests coloured contact lens. Then I remembered that when I asked your name, your hand automatically went towards your pocket. You're used to producing ID of some kind. There are other indications as well, but that was already enough to suggest to me that you were a police officer temporarily working undercover. When you were leaving to be patched up, I took a photo of you – a black and white photo, so as to avoid confusion – and sent it to a colleague who had access to police records. It was simple enough to trace you."

"OK," said Lestrade. "Yes, I'm Greg Lestrade. So it’s now time to tell me who you really are."

"As I said-"

"Yeah, I'm happy with you being Sherlock's brother. From the deductions alone, you have to be. But you're not a detective yourself. Sherlock would have told me if you were, and besides, you haven't nicked my warrant card. And ordinary civil servants don't have access to police databases, or go off to work in the US for years. You're Intelligence of some kind, aren't you?"

Mycroft nodded.

"OK, fair enough, I won't spread it around. But do you want to hear about the operation tonight, so you're up to speed on that? It all started with a man called Jabez Wilson and an advert he saw about genetic testing of redheads..."

***

"Mycroft wasn't seconded to the US," Sherlock told him, when Lestrade asked. "He was exiled. The intelligence community is riven with factions. Someone who bore a grudge against Mycroft sent him off to the Cousins, the CIA. The man who organised that is now gone, so Mycroft's returned. Which presumably means he's going to start poking his nose into my business."

What that involved, Lestrade gathered over the next few months, was Mycroft turning up periodically to help out, normally in the aftermath of cases, when Sherlock had swept off triumphantly, leaving a mess of unresolved problems in his wake. Or when Sherlock had got himself into hot water and a bit of diplomacy was called for.

Like the awful day at the Horse of Lords when Sherlock decided the best way to return the stolen Mazarin diamond was to place it surreptitiously in Lord Cantlemere's pocket and then demand that Lestrade search him. There were practical jokes and there were bloody embarrassing scenes with senior government ministers, and why the fuck Sherlock couldn't tell the difference, Lestrade could not figure out. But Mycroft had materialised at a crucial moment – just passing, so he claimed – and smoothed everything over.

"I owe you a drink," Lestrade said, when he and Mycroft were finally walking away.

"That's very kind, but I-" Mycroft began.

"A soft drink if you're still on duty. But a chance for us both to sit down and unwind, because you look a bit frazzled as well. I don't want Lord Cantlemere and Sherlock giving you ulcers."

"It's bruxism, not ulcers," Mycroft said, once there were sitting on the terrace with a whisky each. "Teeth-grinding. Associated with stress, which is obviously associated with Sherlock. He...I wish he had someone to look after him."

"I can't see anyone sticking with him," Lestrade said. "Though if I ever come across a nice calm bloke who's trained in unarmed combat and bored with tiger-wrestling, I might suggest it." He stopped, because Mycroft was looking at him curiously. Oh shit, had he said too much?

"Did Sherlock tell you he was gay?" Mycroft asked, quietly.

"No, but...he's wary towards any woman who might think he's boyfriend material; he gets on better with women he's sure aren't attracted to him. I recognise the pattern." No need to explain why; he suspected Mycroft knew about his own past already. Though he'd been careful not to eye Mycroft up too obviously.

"He needs stability," Mycroft said.

"Maybe," Lestrade said, "but he doesn't want it. He'll calm down eventually. Are there any bits of your week that you're allowed to tell me about?"

***

It was an odd friendship to develop, but perhaps an inevitable one: Lestrade and Mycroft both needed someone discreet to vent to. And the object they needed to vent about was often the same one. Sherlock's reputation as a detective was still developing, but so were some other worrying habits.

"I wanted to ask you a favour," Mycroft said, about a year after they'd met. They were in a cafe, and Lestrade was gulping down hot, sweet tea. He wasn't actually in shock, but Sherlock had spent twenty minutes haranguing him before Mycroft had turned up, and it was either hot tea and a bun or a ciggie to unwind.  At least these regular meetings with Mycroft were encouraging him to cut down on his smoking a bit; it was easy to tell that Mycroft didn't like the lingering smell.

"Don't worry," Lestrade said. "I won't arrest Sherlock. I know he's...having problems at the moment."

"You mean his drug consumption is getting worse," Mycroft replied tartly. "I'm surprised you associate with him at all."

"He's on the books as an informer," Lestrade replied. "I get tip-offs from a lot of junkies, if not usually ones like him. In return, I don't arrest them."

"Maybe you should do," Mycroft said. He was eating a small piece of lemon cheesecake extremely slowly and carefully, as if it was a struggle not to wolf it down.

"What are you saying?"

"Sherlock needs a shock to his system. Something to make him realise the danger he's running into."

"Arresting him won't stop him using," Lestrade said. "Prison won't stop that. Cutting off his funds won't stop that – you've done that already, haven't you?"

Mycroft nodded and then said: "I want you to stop using him as a consultant. That might do the trick."

"Hell of a loss to the Met if I do. You know what our clear-up rate would be without him."

"He's on a downward spiral."

"I know!" Lestrade almost shouted. "But until he wants to do something about that, there is nothing we can do. You'll just make things worse if you try."

"Please," said Mycroft. "Being a detective is the one thing other than the drugs that he cares about. Not me, or Mummy or our friends. If you say he can't work for you anymore..."

The look of misery on Mycroft's face was almost unbearable. He had to believe he was trying everything he could, didn't he, thought Lestrade. And being a copper got you used to doing things that you knew were unlikely to work.

"It's going to come across as pretty hypocritical," he said. "Sherlock'll just point out I'm a nicotine addict meself. Still, I could claim I'm going to get kicked out of the force if I keep on using a junkie as an advisor. Might possibly get through."

"Thank you," said Mycroft. "I can't say how much I'm in your debt."

***

Mycroft was right, after all, to Lestrade's surprise. Seven unpleasant weeks after Lestrade had stopped accepting Sherlock's help – a period which included three unsolved murders and hundreds of abusive text messages – Mycroft phoned to say that Sherlock had agreed to enter an addiction treatment programme.

"It's been a wakeup call to him," Mycroft said. Lestrade carefully didn't say how many of those he'd had from Sherlock in the last forty-something days; he'd ended up leaving his phone off the hook overnight when the furious calls got to every hour on the hour.

He went up to Southgate on the day that Sherlock was admitted to the private hospital there. Not to get involved, he hoped, but just in case. Because if Sherlock somehow got himself arrested, someone to liaise with the local bobbies would come in handy.

He'd been sitting in the cafe near the hospital for an hour and a half when Mycroft arrived. Lestrade had answered all his e-mails, including the ones that had been lurking since Christmas, and was just starting to wonder if he should go along to the hospital and check what was happening.

"You OK?" he asked, when Mycroft came in. He clearly wasn't, but Mycroft always wanted to save face.

"No," Mycroft replied, sitting down. He had the look of a man who would scream if he knew how to. Lestrade hastily went and got a fresh pot of tea for him and a plateful of scones. Because there was a time for diets and a time for comfort food, and Mycroft looked like he needed a lot of comfort. He sat and waited in silence as Mycroft ate slowly and systematically through the scones. He'd hear what happened eventually.

"We got to the hospital, and parked," Mycroft said at last. "And then...Sherlock said he wasn't going to do it. He was...scared."

Mycroft had been too, Lestrade could tell. He wished he'd been there, to help him, but the situation had been complicated enough as it was.

"What happened?" he asked.

"You'd told me beforehand that he might not go through with it. And that...that it wouldn't do any good to try and pressure him." Mycroft's chin was going up, in that defensive way he had. "So I said it was his decision."

Well done, Lestrade thought. That was Mycroft's weakness, of course, the urge to fix things whether people wanted them fixed or not.

"Sherlock said he needed to think," Mycroft went on, in a very tightly controlled voice, "so he went for a walk, and I sat in the car for an hour or so. Then he came back and asked if I could make you change your decision about calling him in on cases. I said that the way he'd treated you, any reasonable man would have nothing to do with you ever again."

"So what did he say to that?" Lestrade couldn't help smiling. Maybe Sherlock still knew him better than Mycroft.

"That you were desperate and unreasonable. That you were the only one of the Yarders bright enough to know when you were out of your depth, and conscientious enough to put up with him." Mycroft had a hint of a smile now. "But I also told him he'd be no use to you if the drugs clouded his mind. Asked him if he'd seen the recent research on cocaine and memory loss."

"And?"

"He said he'd try the programme," Mycroft said, staring miserably out of the window, towards the hospital. "But...I'm not sure whether he'll stick to it. I suspect he'll walk out within a week."

It was times like this you saw how much Mycroft cared about his brother, loved him. Well, if you weren't Sherlock and oblivious to the fact. The poor sod, thought Lestrade, reaching out his hand to cover Mycroft's on the table, wishing he knew the right thing to say.

"It's a start," he said. "If this doesn't work out, we'll think of something else."

Mycroft was looking round at him now in shock, down at Lestrade's hand, then up at his face. Oh shit, thought Lestrade, I shouldn't have said "we", should I? But he didn't move his hand, just kept it wrapped round Mycroft's long, cold fingers and gazed into his unhappy grey eyes. And Mycroft didn't pull away, didn't protest.

"I'm sorry," Lestrade said at last, because Mycroft was still just sitting there looking stunned. "Not for falling for you, obviously, but now's probably not the right time to tell you. Maybe if we talk about this later?"

"No," said Mycroft, and now his hand did pull away – reluctantly? – from Lestrade, to bury itself in a pocket. "I...it can't work, Gregory. I am touched by your interest, but...no." He stood up. "I need to get back to the office." He handed a five-pound note to Lestrade. "For the scones," he said, and then he was gone.

He hadn't said I'm straight or I don't fancy you, thought Lestrade. Or even I've already got someone. But it didn't matter: the answer was still no, and he had to accept that. Put his feelings for Mycroft back in the deep freeze and hope that he hadn't accidentally wrecked their friendship.

***

Three weeks of silence later Lestrade decided it was time to phone Mycroft, and he dug out the latest contact number.

"I wanted to check how Sherlock was," he said. "God, the hospital haven't taken away his mobile, have they? I don't know he'd survive withdrawal of that."

"If you're not providing him with cases, he may not have felt the need to call you," Mycroft replied. "Whereas I now know the guilty secrets of every member of the hospital staff and a large number of exotic swearwords. But he has stayed there, which is something." He paused and then added. "I had been meaning to phone...I was, I was going to ask you for a favour, a large favour."

"Fine. What is it?"

"Sherlock's finishing his programme a week on Saturday and I have to be in Japan at the time. Do you think you could possibly collect him? The hospital says it's always best to have friends on hand when a person leaves, eases the transition."

"Of course," Lestrade said. "Anything I can do to help."

***

"I gather Mycroft decided he couldn't face the family reunion," Sherlock said, as Lestrade put his suitcases in the car. "And has fled to Japan to avoid one."

"If I was your brother, I'd probably move to Alpha Centauri," Lestrade retorted. "Oh, never mind. It's a star, just so you know." Sherlock was looking vaguely healthy, he thought, a hint of colour in the pale skin, not quite as restless as usual. "How do you feel?"

"Bored," Sherlock announced. "A month of addicts and petty criminals and the patients were a dubious lot as well. I need scope. I need murders." He pronounced the word with relish.

"You need murdering," Lestrade retorted mildly. "Good job Mycroft's not here." And then he smiled. "And you know why? Because you'd have to admit he was right. You needed to get yourself sorted out."

He texted Mycroft that evening: He's clean and he's solved two tricky cases already. I'll keep an eye on him till you're back. GL.

Mycroft's response was immediate, even though it must have been the middle of the night in Okinawa. Thank you, Greg. I am immensely grateful. Mycroft.

***

So there they were, Lestrade thought, friends again and gradually the pattern of meetings for little chats picked up again. Mycroft was even busier, though, always disappearing off at unexpected moments. Good job that Sherlock had stayed off the drugs. Lestrade was still mentally counting off the weeks and months that Sherlock stayed clean, but somehow it had become years. It had been, what, nearly three years since the hospital? And since telling Mycroft that he fancied him.

It had been stupid, he realised that now. Sherlock didn't want people getting too near him and Mycroft was probably the same. There was a detachment at the heart of both of them. Maybe if you were that clever, you could never get close to anyone; you'd always think of them as just an irrational assembly of molecules. But the Holmeses needed friends, at least, Lestrade decided. He might just be a stupid middle-aged plod, but that didn't stop him wanting to keep an eye out for Sherlock, the silly sod. And as for Mycroft...

He couldn't help what he still felt about Mycroft, but he kept a lid on it as best he could. He didn't want to embarrass either of them, pining after an unavailable man. And it wasn't as if he didn't have other things to distract him.

Part 2

Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
kalypso_v
Jan. 23rd, 2012 02:16 pm (UTC)
I like that description of John.
marysutherland
Jan. 26th, 2012 08:39 am (UTC)
I'm not sure John strictly counts as *calm*. One of the bits I did like in Belgravia was him half-strangling Sherlock (which was entirely deserved). And then promptly reverting to helpful doctor mode afterwards.
shezan
Jan. 23rd, 2012 03:19 pm (UTC)
Oh, that IS nice. I don't always like Mystrade, but you work it out very convincingly.
marysutherland
Jan. 26th, 2012 08:41 am (UTC)
I like showing the vulnerability behind Mycroft's superior facade: we've got some very interesting glimpses of that in series 2 as well. (This was written before that, so isn't compatible, but I am currently writing S2 Mystrade as well).
maggie_conagher
Jan. 23rd, 2012 09:05 pm (UTC)
After this fic, I might be able to forgive Mycroft.

Lestrade's undercover persona was a unexpected delight.

thank you.
marysutherland
Jan. 26th, 2012 08:45 am (UTC)
I'm writing post Reichenbach Mycroft at the moment, which will give a possible explanation for why he did what he did. But glad you're starting to forgive him already.

I like sticking in references to ACD cases, and the idea of Lestrade dyeing his hair to help sort out the Red-Haired League was just too funny to resist.
stardust_made
Jan. 23rd, 2012 10:27 pm (UTC)
Found myself suddenly wanting Mystrade in my life and what luck—very much interested in this story! I loved your Lestrade's POV (I've written just the one story from his POV and admire when someone does it so effortlessly) and Mycroft, seen through his eyes, was very believeable. Also, totally got a kick out of the canon references!:)

Looking forward to the next part!
nathcoelho
Feb. 1st, 2012 03:59 am (UTC)
liked very much this part! ^^
=)
great fic
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )