Summary: Mycroft has to break some unpleasant news to Lestrade.
Pairing: Mycroft/Lestrade, established relationship
Rating: PG-13, maybe R, there's nothing explicit
Warnings: Fluff alert!
Disclaimers: Not mine. I just played matchmaker.
Author's Notes: Just something I wrote to get over my frustration with a Sherlock/John story that will not cooperate. This isn't really a sequel to "The Other Hand," but I meant it to be in that universe. Not betad or brit-picked.
He looked up to see Mycroft's reflection staring back at him in the mirror. He finished brushing his teeth and rinsed out his mouth under the careful scrutiny of the other man.
"Am I especially fascinating this evening?" he asked with the start of a smile.
"No. Not especially so."
"Mycroft. You're staring. What's wrong?"
"Would you believe that I just like to look at you?"
He turned around to face the man, leaned back against the marble vanity, and answered, "Yes. I would believe that. I like to look at you, too. But that's not what this is. You’re not gazing adoringly at your husband, you’re analyzing a problem."
Mycroft crossed his arms and leaned his head against the frame of the door as he sighed, "Sometimes I think you know me far too well.”
“No. Just well enough. Now out with it.”
“I have something I need to tell you. I was just trying to determine the best way to broach the subject."
"Ah. Well, why don't you just tell me now instead of trying to strategize the hell out of me?"
“You don't like it when I do that, do you?"
"No, I don’t. So just spit it out. It can't be that bad. I mean, it's not is it? It's not something awful is it? You're not sick or something?" he asked with a hint of alarm creeping into his voice.
"No, no. It's nothing like that," he replied as he pinched the bridge of his nose. "I'm fine. I promise."
Some of the tension eased out of Greg's shoulders, and he relaxed again back against the sink. "Jesus, don't scare me like that. Honestly, Myc-"
"I have to leave, and I’m going to be gone for three months,” he blurted out.
Greg blinked as he processed that statement. "You have to leave."
"For three months, yes. Maybe longer. Hopefully not, but I can't make any promises."
"I knew you wouldn't like this."
"Of course, I don't like it!" he said a little more forcefully than he'd intended. He took a deep breath and tilted his head to stare at the ceiling. "Just...just give me a minute."
"I knew you would be upset. This is why I've avoided telling you. I kept telling myself that I was just waiting for a good opportunity to bring up the subject, but I wasn't. It’s just been simple avoidance. I don't want to go. I did everything within my power to keep this from happening. But it is a crucial matter, Gregory. I'm needed. Me. I have to be the one to handle this." The man was practically babbling.
Greg tilted his head back down to look at him again, "That's not really giving me a minute."
Mycroft turned so that he was standing sideways in the doorway, still leaning against the frame. He looked at Greg out of the corner of his eye. "I don't suppose it is. I'll just go...," he trailed off as he waived his hand in the direction of their bedroom.
Before he could turn to walk away, Greg said, "I'm not cross with you, you know? I knew this was coming. I know that you've been rearranging things at work so that you can be at home more. I guess I just hoped you'd figure out a way to keep that up a little while longer."
"I had hoped so, too." He swiveled his head around to face Greg again. "I truly do not wish to do this."
Greg sighed and gave him a little nod. "Will you be able to call, or is this going to be very James Bond?"
Mycroft smiled at him, rather his mouth smiled, it didn't quite reach his eyes. "No. No James Bond. I should be able to call and email. All the usual things. I'm just going to be very busy and very...well, very not here, I suppose," he finished, eyebrows downturned with a pinched look of consternation he sometimes got when he was dealing with something unpleasant. Sherlock saw it fairly often, but it rarely surfaced in Greg’s presence.
"Right. Okay. But calling is good. Email is good. I can handle that. We can handle that. It's only three months. That’s just ninety days. That seems like forever right now, but it won't be. Besides, you know how things go. We'll both be busy, and the time will just fly by. Hell, it’s already March and I barely feel like Christmas is over." He didn't know which of them he was trying to reassure, but thankfully Mycroft was willing to play along.
"Absolutely. I’m sure you’re right."
"When do you leave?"
Mycroft winced but didn't answer.
"Mycroft,” he warned. “When do you leave?"
Mycroft cleared his throat and kept his gaze somewhere in the direction of the shower as he answered, "Day after."
"Shit!" Greg exclaimed as he stood up straight. Now he was angry. “And you're just now telling me? Damn it!”
"I told you I'd been avoiding this. I just didn't want-"
"Stop it." Greg had fisted his hands and was standing with them on his hips in a rather aggressive pose. He was the one staring now, until Mycroft finally brought his eyes up to meet his gaze. He had no idea what Greg saw as he looked back, but, whatever it was, it seemed to diffuse his ire. His arms dropped down to hang at his side and his posture slumped a bit.
"I should have told you sooner, obviously."
"You think? Jesus. I...You know what? Never mind. I don't want to be mad at you. I don't. You're leaving very soon, and I don't want to spend what little time we have pissed-off at you." Greg clenched his jaw and breathed in and out a few times through his nose. He opened his mouth a couple of times, then shut it without speaking. He squeezed his temples with the thumb and forefinger of his right hand, hiding his eyes as he finally added, "Don't do this to me again. That's all I ask."
"I can't do that. You know quite well that this is part of it."
Greg's head popped up from his hand, "Not the leaving, you idiot. The not telling. Don't put me, don't put us, in this position again. I mean it."
"Oh. That I can do. I'm afraid I've been a bit of a coward about this."
"I'm afraid you're right. But I get it. I wouldn't have wanted to tell you, either."
"Do you think this will ever be any easier?"
"God, it'd better. But, yeah, yeah I do. We're still new, Mycroft, so it's hard to think about being separated right now. But give it a few years, we'll probably be glad for the break."
"I somehow doubt that," he countered as he turned his body back toward Greg's and stood up straight in the doorway.
Greg nodded as he said, "Yeah, I do, too. But it won't always be like this either."
"No." And he finally walked into the bathroom to stand before Greg. He put one hand on his hip and cupped the back of his head in the other. Then he gave him a very soft, very apologetic kiss. He pulled back and then moved in again to place several more chaste, close-mouthed kisses on Greg's lips. And then his cheeks, his chin, his eyelids. Until he finally rested his lips against his forehead and stayed there a minute, breathing in the scent of Greg's soap and shampoo and the hint of the toothpaste he'd just used.
Greg reached forward to wrap his arms around Mycrofts's waist and leaned in, squeezing him tightly, pulling his head away from those lips to bury his face in the soft curve of the other man's neck. Then Greg kissed him back, fluttering the same sort of kisses on his neck and shoulder, under his jaw and behind his ear. Mycroft had put his own arms around Greg's shoulders and was holding him tightly, too. Greg kissed him one final time on his temple, savoring the feel of the short hair there brushing against his mouth. Then he murmured against his skin, "Let's go to bed, hmm?"
Mycroft reached behind himself to grip Greg's hands in his own and bring their arms back down to their sides. Greg felt a long, soft finger brush along the pulse point on his wrist. Then Mycroft joined their hands together in front of him and brought them up to his mouth where he placed a few delicate kisses along the back of Gregory's left hand. He looked up at Greg through his lashes as he stuck out the very tip of his tongue and ran it over every vein, around every knuckle, dipped it in between the fingers to ghost across the thin web of skin there, and licked a deliberate curve over the band on his ring finger. Greg soon realized what he was doing. He was mapping his hand. Committing the taste and the feel and the scent of every millimeter to memory for when he didn't have access to the real thing. He looked past Mycroft's shoulder to the bed in the dim room beyond and envisioned his entire body receiving the same treatment. He felt his skin flush and a shiver pass through him at the thought.
Mycroft finally lifted his head from their hands and took in Greg's steadily growing arousal. Then he answered, "Yes. Let's go to bed. I need to touch you. I need to-"
"I know what you need," Greg interrupted as he tugged at Mycroft's hand and started pulling him toward the door. He heard a soft chuckle from behind. "Come on," he urged as they walked toward their bed, "we don't have much time, you know?" Greg let his hand go, pulled off his shirt, slithered out of his boxers, then fell back onto the mattress. He opened his arms and spread his legs wide in invitation. "Come on, Mycroft. Get down here and give me something to get me through the next three months."
So he did.
Much later, as they lay in the afterglow, cuddled together with Greg's head on Mycroft's chest, Greg heard a rather dreamy voice remark, "You know we'll have tomorrow night, too, Gregory. I was thinking, if you are amenable, perhaps we might record-"
"God, you and your damn cameras,” Greg rumbled back before the man could finish that sentence. “Just go to sleep, Mycroft."
After several minutes though, it was clear that Mycroft wasn't going to relax into sleep anytime soon. Greg finally sighed and said, "Oh, stop pouting. I didn't say I wouldn't do it. I just don't want to talk about it right now."
He felt the other man smile into his hair, place a light kiss on the crown of his head, and whisper, "Thank you."
"You're welcome, you voyeuristic bastard."
"You know you look terribly good on screen. You're really quite photogenic, Gregory. I'm not the only one who thinks so, either. I have noticed Anthea peeking over my shoulder more than once..."
Greg just rolled over on top of him and shut him up the best way he knew how. Neither of them went to sleep for a very long time.