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MI Sex (2/3)

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.

Summary: Some of Mycroft's secrets aren't as well hidden as he'd like

Part 1



"Am I allowed to say how much I hate Christmas?" Lestrade asked, as they sat in Mycroft's club at lunchtime.

"If you were in the Diogenes, you would not be allowed to say anything," Mycroft replied, "although certain eloquent hand gestures are occasionally allowed. Since this is the Tankerville Club, you can say what you like as long as you add that it's all the fault of the Labour Government."

"Why the...blazes have you brought me here?"

"The puddings," Mycroft replied. "They do a treacle tart that will restore your faith in humanity. With proper custard, of course."

If Mycroft was craving puddings, the country must be in dire trouble, Lestrade knew.

"Gordon Brown being difficult?" he asked.

"There are some politicians it is painful to watch," Mycroft replied. "But I can't...I shouldn't talk about that. Why are you feeling so hostile towards Christmas?"

"The pickpockets are worse than ever this year. And it's inspired Donovan to have another go at pairing me off," Lestrade replied. "She's convinced I'm going to be sitting miserably at home all Christmas if she doesn't find me a man." Part of proving that he wasn't pining for Mycroft had been looking round for someone else. But since he was too old for clubbing and too cynical for dating agencies, he'd somehow ended up with Donovan trying to sort out his love life.

"How bad was this one?" Mycroft enquired sympathetically. Lestrade sometimes wondered if he got a vicarious thrill out of Lestrade's personal life; he always seemed interested to hear about it. Possibly it reassured Mycroft that long-term celibacy was a more sensible option.

"Not as bad as Gold-Shirt Tony," Lestrade said. Sally was at last starting to grasp that setting him up with twenty-five-year olds was not a good move. "Early forties, librarian at UCL, intelligent bloke. Quite sweet really, till he had a bit too much to drink and started weeping about his ex-boyfriend. I'm not getting involved with anyone still hung up on somebody else." God, he was a hypocrite, wasn't he?

 "I...I shouldn't have mentioned it," he added, a little uncomfortably. "And anyhow, I have something more important to tell you about. I need to warn you about the rat."

"The rat?"

"Sherlock brought a rat to the Yard yesterday."

"Dare I ask if it was dead or alive?" Mycroft said, his eyes twinkling.

"Alive. It's huge and vicious. It's not a normal London rat – I can cope with them. This is from somewhere in the Far East: Indonesia, I think. A giant Indonesian rat, just what we needed."

"What happened?"

"You don't want to know the details, but it escaped and got into the Gents. I suspect Anderson may have a whole new set of phobias. Sally was trying to calm him down. Took him home, which is probably not going to end well."

"Customs and Excise have specialist wildlife officers," said Mycroft. "I might send them a tipoff."

"Thanks," Lestrade said. "I don't want Sherlock to turn up at your mother's for Christmas with it. Might scare her rigid."

"I hardly think–" Mycroft said, and then stopped abruptly, a look of alarm coming over his face.

"What is it?" Lestrade asked.

"Talking of rats, an old acquaintance that I'd rather had been forgot," Mycroft said, as a small grey-haired man came towards their table.

"Well look who's here," the man said sneering. "Mycroft Holmes, stuffing his face as usual." Beneath the closely-cropped hair were light grey eyes behind steel-rimmed specs in a pale, vicious face, Something eating him up inside, thought Lestrade.

"I thought you were in prison, Guy," Mycroft said in a tense voice.

"Cancer. I've got three months to live, so they've released me. I thought they'd shoved you off to Washington."

"They did. But I came back," Mycroft's voice was calmer now, a hint of his normal poise returning. "All the old gang are gone now. They wouldn't recognise you if you turned up at Vauxhall Cross. Not that I advise it, of course."

"All the old ones may be gone," Guy replied, "but not you young thrusters, eh?" He turned to Lestrade. "Whatever he does for you in bed, it's not worth it. He's a bloody expensive lay, is Mycroft Holmes."

"Guy!" Mycroft snapped.

"The Service's biggest tart, everyone reckoned." Guy's voice was getting louder. "Not much to look at, but he had such winning ways. You'd beg him to let you bugger him, but it'd be you who ended up getting screwed." Everyone in the room was staring at them now, and Mycroft was just sitting there, looking stunned.

Lestrade jumped up and grabbed Guy's wrists. "I think you'd better come with me, sunshine," he said, as calmly as he could, and started to steer him away from the table. The club steward materialised at their side, and suddenly Guy subsided.

"I didn't mean anything," he whined. "Take your hands off me, I'm a sick man." He slunk out of the room.

"I'm very sorry," the steward said. "Mr Hollister is a life member, but I'm afraid he's rather forgotten his manners."

"They're not that clubbable in Pentonville, or wherever he's been," Lestrade replied. "Don't worry, no harm done." Not true, of course. He could feel the rage surge up in him again as he got back to the table and saw Mycroft still sitting there quietly, looking like he was about to be sick.

"You alright?" Lestrade asked.

"Fine," Mycroft said, with utter lack of conviction. "It's just...there must have been a serious communications breakdown. I should have been informed of Guy's release in advance."

"Is he dangerous?" He'd love an excuse to arrest the bastard.

"No. But he got a twenty-eight year sentence for spying thanks to me. It's not surprising he's...unhappy."

"Guy Hollister," Lestrade said. "It rings a very vague bell."

"Last of the old-time traitors," Mycroft said, a little more confidently. "Seventeen years working for the Russians before I brought him down."

There was more than that, Lestrade thought, there had to be. There'd been something oddly specific about Hollister's jeering; not just simple homophobia, but something more personal. And Mycroft's lack of reaction, too, suggested the man's allegations had hit hard. Was Hollister, perhaps, Mycroft's ex-lover? Impossible to ask, he decided, and firmly started discussing whether you could prosecute so-called "carol singers" under the Trade Descriptions Act if they only knew one verse of "Jingle Bells".

***

Lestrade survived Christmas and New Year unscathed and was just starting to wonder how he could avoid Donovan trying to arrange him a Valentine's Day date when he got distracted by a serial killer. Fortunately, Sherlock sorted out that one, with the help of his new friend, a pocket-sized army doctor with a taste for illegal handguns. As they stood around at the FE college afterwards, Mycroft told Lestrade he had high hopes of Dr Watson sorting out Sherlock. Lestrade though it more likely the poor sod would end up in hospital or with a criminal record within a couple of months, but there was no point in saying anything when Sherlock had a new enthusiasm.

He slept for sixteen hours solid when he finally got home and woke up feeling as if he'd been embalmed. There were fourteen messages on his answer phone, but he ignored them in favour of several pints of coffee. There was a pile of post as well – he'd hardly been in the flat for a week – and he looked grumpily through it. All bills and junk mail except for one. Bulky A5 envelope, hand-addressed to Gregory Lestrade Esq. In his experience, letter-bombers weren't so old-fashioned, so he opened it up.

 A handful of photos spilled out. One of a young-looking Mycroft with his arm around another's man shoulders. The second with Mycroft and a different man on a beach, splashing one another. On the back of each of them was a name and two dates: Oliver Latimer, 1995-1996; Paul Mitchell, 1992. Oh hell, he thought, with sudden suspicion, and hastily worked his way through the rest of the package. And yes, more pictures of Mycroft and then a note: Thought you might like a copy of your boyfriend's Service record.

Lestrade looked more carefully through the pictures the second time. Eight different men, none of whom he recognised, all older than Mycroft, making a rough sequence through Mycroft's twenties. Mycroft was kissing one man at a Christmas party, and there was another where a topless man in eyeliner was feeling Mycroft's arse. The others wouldn't have warranted a raised eyebrow in the straightest of photo albums. Bloody hell, he thought, Mycroft must have had a boring life if these are the most sordid photos a blackmailer can manage. No-one under aged, no spangles, no drag, it made gay life look almost as tedious as straight life. Good job no-one had come across some of his old photos.

His phone rang, and when he answered it Mycroft's voice said rapidly: "I've been trying to get hold of you since yesterday. Guy Hollister's dead."

"Who? Oh, your Tankerville Club rat. Good riddance!"

"He'd left instructions when he died that packages should be sent to various of my...associates."

"He's the one responsible for the photos, is he? Don't worry, I've seen a lot worse."

"You've, you've opened the package? I left messages, I thought...you've looked at the pictures?"

"Yes, but–" The line went dead. Fuck, he thought, I should have checked my answer phone after all. Sure enough, there was a sequence of increasingly urgent messages from Mycroft asking him to destroy the parcel immediately or return it to him unopened.

Probably been outed to half his colleagues, Lestrade thought, and forgotten I'm not going to be spooked by that kind of thing. Still, he shredded the photos and left a cautious message with Anthea: Package disposed of. Contact me if any further action required. He hoped if Mycroft really was in trouble, he'd ask for help, but offering it might just add to his humiliation right now. Best to leave it to him to decide what to do. Anyhow, Lestrade had to concentrate on a more pressing problem: what the hell did he put in his final report on the serial killer cabbie so he didn't incriminate John Watson?

***

It was only when he didn't hear from Mycroft after the Tilly Briggs case a couple of weeks later that Lestrade started to worry. Both him and Sherlock ending up in the Thames and then those bloody embarrassing front-page newspaper photos of them dripping wet; he'd expected at least a call to check he hadn't gone done with some hideous disease as a result. But there was no sign of Mycroft and no response to his messages. At last he resorted to texting Sherlock:

Is Mycroft away? Not heard from him recently. GL

Sherlock's response was rapid: Congratulations on getting rid of him at last. Hope you're more cheerful now that you've broken up. SH

***

"I'm not Mycroft's boyfriend – I never have been," Lestrade said firmly when he went round to 221B that evening. John had gone off for a meal and an argument with his sister, and it felt almost like the old times visiting one of Sherlock's flats. Sitting amid piles of paper, staring at the skull and hoping the chair he was sitting in hadn't been booby-trapped.

"I had presumed...I mean he's besotted with you," Sherlock replied, leaning against the mantelpiece and looking down at him. "He's been heard to describe you as intelligent. Did you turn him down, then?"

"He turned me down, several years ago. We're friends, that's all." God, he must be desperate if he was discussing this with Sherlock, of all people.

"A pity. It'd be better if you were together."

"Sherlock!" Lestrade exclaimed. "That sounded almost caring."

Sherlock smiled. "Purely selfish motives. When Mycroft's in a serious relationship he has less time and energy for interfering in my own life. But he's always been singularly incompetent at getting together with anyone."

"That's not what I heard," Lestrade retorted, and then realised he'd been rash.

"Tell me," Sherlock said, smiling sideways at him. "You know you want to."

"You're too bloody nosy for your own good," Lestrade said with resignation. "An old enemy of Mycroft's died and left a nasty legacy. A bunch of photos of Mycroft's exes sent to his colleagues, including myself. And Mycroft has freaked out about that."

"Ah, so you were targeted by Guy Hollister as well."

"Did he send a copy to you?"

"No, but I had to run a very special errand for Mycroft at the start of the month, retrieve a package that had been sent to our mother before she could open it."

"Does your mother know that you're out?" – shit! – "Does your mother know about you?"

"Yes," Sherlock replied, "but she's happier with the theoretical idea of her sons being gay than the specific details of whom exactly they're sleeping with. Fortunately, I got to Hollister's little gift before she did." He went over to a pile of papers and swiftly pulled out a familiar looking envelope.

"Mycroft told you to destroy it, didn't he?" Lestrade said.

"I never destroy evidence," Sherlock said, "but I did refrain from opening this. It sounds as if that was an error. Come over here, the light's better." Lestrade followed him to the table by the window as Sherlock donned gloves and reached for a letter-opener.

"We know who sent it," Lestrade protested. "The handwriting's the same as on mine, and there was no obvious attempt to disguise it. So no useful fingerprint evidence."

"Hollister could have had an accomplice."

"It's not technically blackmail, so no crime committed. And he's dead anyhow."

"All right," Sherlock said, as he opened the envelope. "Photos in here as expected. Check them through, see if there are any differences from the pack you received."

"Same pictures," Lestrade said, after a few minutes frowning concentration. "And the only difference in my note was that it said 'boyfriend' rather than 'mother'."

"Are you sure about the photos? You destroyed your copies, presumably."

"Eight photos in mine and some of them at least I remember quite clearly. And all with names and dates on the back."

"That's important. Hollister's intended to send a specific message, not just a general one about Mycroft sleeping around."

"You call that sleeping around?" Lestrade demanded. "Eight blokes in what, seven, eight years? For a gay man in his twenties?" He saw Sherlock look at him with sudden interest. "No," he added, "I'm not telling you my score, but it was lot higher, believe me.”

"Those may not be all of Mycroft's partners from the period," Sherlock said. "The point is that they're the colleagues with whom he slept."

"The colleagues?"

"Hence Hollister's note referring to Mycroft's service record."

"Oh God, of course. That's pretty daft of Mycroft – that sort of thing never ends well. I mean, Donovan and Anderson is just a disaster waiting to happen." That was possibly telling tales out of school, but from Sherlock's smirk, he'd known already. "So that's why the names are on the photos. And that's the motive. I wondered when I met Hollister whether he might be an ex of Mycroft."

"You met him?" Sherlock demanded, throwing up his hands. "Did it not occur to your tiny little mind to mention this before? Where? When? Why?"

"Tankerville Club, just before Christmas, I was having a meal there with Mycroft," Lestrade reeled off. "It's probably why Hollister mistook me for his boyfriend."

"What did he say?"

"Called Mycroft an expensive tart," Lestrade replied.

"I need his exact words."

"It was several months ago."

"You remember your meetings with Mycroft, don't you? You remember every word he says, every look. You go home and analyse them afterwards, in case you find evidence that he does want you after all."

"Oh sod it, I'm that bloody obvious, am I?"

"The way you look at him when he arrives at a crime scene. The way you subsequently don't look at him, even while staying conscious of his every gesture. Mycroft's just as bad. But I always simply presumed you were both trying to keep your relationship secret and failing completely."

"Why didn't Mycroft say anything, then?"

"Why does Mycroft do anything? Tell me about Hollister."

Lestrade repeated the conversation as best he could.

"Dates," Sherlock said. "Mycroft joined the Service directly after university, so that'd be 1989. When did Hollister get convicted?" He dug out a phone from his pocket and started to tap away. "Put the photos in sequence," he ordered, "then tell me the date range and any overlap."

"First is from 1991, last from 1998. A couple of possible overlaps, since he's only given the year, not the exact date."

"Hollister was arrested in 2000," Sherlock said, "so years missing from either end. And one other missing element, of course."

"What?"

"You were wrong about Hollister being Mycroft's ex. There are no photos of him and Mycroft; if they'd been together, there would be something."

"Maybe Hollister wasn't gay?"

"No. The men concerned knew the photos were being taken, even the incriminating ones, and they were taken by Hollister – the reprints are from negatives, not prints. So they must have had a hold on Hollister, mutually assured destruction. Mycroft slept with some of his colleagues, but not him, that's why Hollister was so bitter towards him."

"Makes sense."

"But it's the dates that bother me," Sherlock said. He sat down at the table, picking up the photos, putting them down again, shuffling them around, even turning one upside down. "Too short to be a code, surely? Let me check the names, just in case any of the others were traitors." He tapped on his phone, dropping the photos one by one. Lestrade carried on staring at them. No obvious type Mycroft went for, except older men. He didn't think that was his appeal to Mycroft, but maybe when he'd been younger, less confident perhaps...There was something uneasy about Mycroft in some of the photos, as if he was trying to convince himself he was happy and not entirely succeeding. Or maybe that was just Lestrade's imagination.

"How old was Mycroft when he came out?" he asked.

"Twenty or so," Sherlock replied, without looking up from his phone. "He was fat and spotty and miserable as a teenager, I don't think he got anywhere with girls or boys."

And now he's thin and spotless and still miserable, thought Lestrade. There were always some gay men who found it hard to get their lives together.

"Seven out of eight of the men didn't make a splash," Sherlock announced eventually. "Which you'd rather expect with the Secret Service."

"And the eighth?"

"The last one, from 1998, Freddie Clinton. Became deputy head of MI6 a year later, so he must already have been very senior when Mycroft was involved with him. And there's one other relevant piece of information. Mycroft made himself extremely unpopular when he first joined the Service."

"How?"

"Too clever for his own good. One of his early reports said that Soviet control of Eastern Europe couldn't survive more than a couple of years. Everyone else was planning for the next century of the Cold War. Five months later the Berlin Wall came down."

"Nobody likes a smart-arse. So?"

"So the photos show us that he changed tactics. Found another way to get ahead, via the beds of his superiors."

"He wouldn't," Lestrade replied automatically.

"Wouldn't or couldn't?" Sherlock said, smiling at him across the table. "How long after you first met him before you wanted to have sex with him?"

No point in lying to the bastard. "Half an hour," he replied, folding his arms.

"He's irresistible to some men," Sherlock said, leaning back in his chair. "I've never understood why."

"Coiled spring," Lestrade said. "All that intelligence...power, under very tight control. You want to release him, unbutton him." Make his scream, make him beg. Sherlock, he noted sardonically, had almost unconsciously started to bat his eyelashes at him, as if he couldn't bear anyone finding Mycroft more attractive than him. The thing is, Lestrade carefully didn't say, you may be gorgeous, but you'd obviously be bossy as hell in bed, and I can't be doing with that.

"For whatever reason," Sherlock said, after a few moments, "Mycroft has his admirers and I think we can safely assume he used them to boost his career. He didn't stop till he'd slept with the deputy head of MI6. An expensive tart, as Hollister correctly stated."

Mycroft wouldn't be the first to do that sort of thing, Lestrade thought. If he'd been ambitious and his path had been blocked, it might have seemed the only way.

"At school, he helped other boys with their maths homework for years," Sherlock went on. "He desperately wants people to find him useful, to value him. I suspect he did the same thing when they packed him off to America. Ingratiated himself via a special relationship or two."

"And since he's been back?" Lestrade asked. "Has there been anyone?"

"Not that I know of. Not that you know of. He's clever, but he's not completely unreadable. Mycroft doesn't need to sleep with anyone now to secure his career."

"But these pictures could still get him into trouble? Have got him into trouble?"

"Of course not. Try and use your brain, however inadequate it is. These are old photos; if there was anything seriously damaging in them, Hollister would have used them long before as his get out of jail free card. Quite literally. No, this is an afterthought, a last bit of malice by a dying man. Just gossip and old gossip at that. No harm done, except to Mycroft's ego and that always needs deflating."

Lestrade glared at him and wondered if it was worth trying to explain how much something like this could hurt. Probably a waste of breath, he concluded.

"Meanwhile, now we've established the facts, the solution to the remaining problem is straightforward," Sherlock went on, smirking.

"What do you mean?"

Sherlock rolled his eyes theatrically. "You and Mycroft satisfying your desperate urge to uncoil one another's springs. You want him, he wants you, so sort it out between you! Then maybe next time I get a case I can deal with it without interference from either of you."


Part 3

Comments

( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
stardust_made
Jan. 26th, 2012 08:24 am (UTC)
Nice thing to wake up to! Totally hooked up now and am batting MY eyelashes, hoping for a speedy update.

I really like the ease with which the story is unfolding, both through a considerable period of time and then within scenes, too. The dialogue is great and there's enough detail to make the story substantial but not overwhelm the plot. F5, F5, F5.:)

P.S. The giant rat.*snort*
marysutherland
Jan. 26th, 2012 08:50 am (UTC)
Glad you're enjoying it - I couldn't resist having the giant rat (or setting it on Anderson). I've got comfortable writing from Lestrade's POV now (heavily inspired by Fengirl88 and how she portrays him), so it's quite easy to get the story to flow.

I'll try and get the last part up tomorrow: it's all been written and betaed, so it's just a case of doing the final checks on it.
maggie_conagher
Jan. 26th, 2012 10:00 am (UTC)
oh, please do get the last bit up tomorrow. I am in love with this particular dynamic. Mycroft's detailed past, the hurt running so deep, and Lestrade caring about him regardless of past bad choices. Perhaps that's the advantage of fortysomething love?

I need Mystrade hurt/comfort desperately but would not be opposed to lots of uncoiling as well.

You put a great deal of analysis into all of your characters, as goes fengirl, and it's a treat that I never have enough of. Thank you!
marysutherland
Jan. 27th, 2012 08:59 am (UTC)
I'm pleased you're enjoying it. I do rather like writing about grown-ups in love, because there are these messy pasts to deal with, but Lestrade, in particular, has the maturity to be able to do so plausibly. he's a very comforting figure, if you don't mind the bad language.

There is (finally) a bit more action in the final part ;-)
shezan
Jan. 26th, 2012 05:09 pm (UTC)
As usual, perfectly wonderful. I love all the voices; Mycroft, Lestrade and this worldly-wise Sherlock.
marysutherland
Jan. 27th, 2012 09:03 am (UTC)
I'm pleased you like this. I'm not quite sure I've got Sherlock right - this was written pre-series 2 and in that they seem to have made him more gauche about relationships (especially in Belgravia). The impression I got from Series 1 was more that he understood about love/sex and how to manipulate people via it, he just wasn't interested in it for himself.
et_cetera55
Jan. 26th, 2012 08:45 pm (UTC)
I love your Lestrade so much. He is always so real and rounded.

And poor Mycroft!

I look forward to reading the next part :)
fengirl88
Jan. 27th, 2012 12:07 am (UTC)
A giant Indonesian rat, just what we needed. *sporfles happily*

oh dear, Mycroft... but I look forward to a happy ending just the same.

marysutherland
Jan. 27th, 2012 09:04 am (UTC)
I'm just so predictable, aren't I? But the magic healing power of sex with Greg can rarely be denied. At least, not by me.
fengirl88
Jan. 27th, 2012 10:36 am (UTC)
you did say you always write happy endings, so I am holding you to that!

*wonders why anyone would want to deny the magic healing power of sex with Greg*
pillow_face
Jan. 27th, 2012 01:09 am (UTC)
"you may be gorgeous, but you'd obviously be bossy as hell in bed, and I can't be doing with that." I laughed so hard because it's true xD Love your mystrade fics, especially this one. I think I'm developing a soft spot for tart!Mycroft .__.
fitzcamel
Jan. 29th, 2012 11:01 pm (UTC)
I'm surprised that I'm the first to comment on the mini-crossover, but...I cackled at the mini-crossover, so thank you for the laugh (as well as the fic itself, of course!). Although now I have to wonder, did Mycroft play rugby at university?
marysutherland
Jan. 30th, 2012 08:19 am (UTC)
Anthony Price's Audley novels are undeservedly obscure: I suppose because so few of them were filmed/televised (I know there's one TV version, which I've never seen). So I'm glad that someone spotted the reference. I can't somehow see Mycroft as a rugby player. But I can believe David Audley giving a guest lecture in Oxford and Mycroft asking such intelligent questions that Audley recruits him almost on the spot - R&D does seem to be run almost entirely on the amateur principle.

As for whether Mycroft ever has a relationship with Audley himself, I can't imagine that as being anything but terrifying. On the other hand R&D is full of attractive men to sleep with (though only a determined careerist could stomach Oliver St John Latimer). As well as Mitchell there's James Cable, Tom Arkenshaw, and, depending on the timeline, Peter Richardson, Hugh Roskill and arguably Jack Butler too (who is sweet if rather red-faced). And then you have the possibility of liaison with other departments, as it were...
nathcoelho
Feb. 1st, 2012 04:36 am (UTC)
I sure agree with sherlock!
*_________*
love this chapter
and poor My!
get together, you two!
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )