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Secret Santa for Cally: The Opposite of Perfection (Sherlock; Mystrade)

frolicking periwinkle

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This is so intimidating - I feel like I'm writing for fanfiction royalty - and in her own genre. 

I hope you like it - it's only my second Mystrade fic.  I've been batting around the idea of a part two, but it won't make it before the deadline. So... Happy Holidays!

Secret Santa: For Cally

Title: The Opposite of Perfection


Greg took in a deep breath, pressing his lips together as the dry air irritated his throat.  He had been coming down with a cold for a few days, but he felt incredibly lucky that Mycroft had been too busy setting the preparations for the gala.  He had been focused on keeping Mycroft whole and well, making sure the younger man had tea in the morning before he left for work and waking up when Mycroft got home so that he could talk himself through any necessary decompression. 

But, there had been a serial killer sweeping her way through Hyde Park.  It had been two weeks and five deaths before Sherlock pinpointed that the killer was female.  Then it was only a matter of time before New Scotland Yard was able to capture the criminal.

The stress of the case, plus making sure that Mycroft was able to sleep, and pressing food on him when the two of them were actually home together, had worn Greg out completely.  Closing his eyes, he drew in another deep breath, this one resulted in him nearly doubled over with harsh, wet coughs. 

Stepping into their en suite, he regarded himself in the mirror.  Luckily, the pallor of illness had not yet settled into his features, and – with any luck – he would be able to suppress the illness just one more night. 

Pulling a little used drawer open, he removed a compact of liquid to powder foundation.  He generally used it to even out his skin tone before he went onto the news for a press conference.  Somewhere along the line Mycroft had mentioned the importance of being able to control lighting to look good on camera.  He was wise enough to know that people would be taking pictures throughout the evening, so he decided a touch up here and there would not go a miss.

He felt a twinge ripple through his sinuses as he pat on the foundation.  Turning to the side he lifted his elbow to meet his face. “Huh-huRRRDDSSCHH!!!”  The violence of the sneeze made his head throb in protest. 

Just one more night.  He could do this for Mycroft.  He had to.  His partner was going to be attending to the Queen personally.  He would be dressed to the nines, acting in perfect proper accord.  He would be perfectly prepared, perfectly dressed, and perfectly perfect. 

Greg looked at himself in the mirror and sighed.  He was not perfect even on the best of days. But, he would do his best to at least seem perfect.  The last thing that Mycroft needed was his upper echelon society peers questioning him on why he had settled for Lestrade.  He wondered that often enough, and in the darkness of night, when Mycroft was working into the wee hours of the morning, Greg couldn’t stop the thoughts that maybe this was the night… maybe this was the night he didn’t come home because he had found someone else, someone more suited for him. 

Swallowing down some antihistamines and paracetamol, he looked at his phone as it vibrated.  It was Mycroft texting that he would meet Greg at the gala and that the car would be around in five minutes. 

He tucked his phone into his inner breast pocket, and grabbed an extra handkerchief.  He would need his best acting skills to fool Mycroft even if just for tonight.  Tomorrow… tomorrow he would give into the illness.  Mycroft needed him to be perfect, and even though he was a little too rough around the edges, a little too brash in his natural form.  He would strive to be perfect for Mycroft.


There was something innately calming about people already recognizing he and Mycroft as an established couple.  When he arrived, people treated him with a little more than average respect.  He was given an update by Anthea as of Mycroft’s schedule for the night and where Greg was expected to sit.  He was disappointed, but not surprised, that he would not be seated with Mycroft.  Knowing that Mycroft would be seated a high table with the Queen made it abundantly clear that Greg did not belong there with him. 

That did not mean that he was not happy for Mycroft, however.  A smile blossomed through his entire being as he heard that.  To attend the Queen, personally, and to be asked to sit with her at the head of the hall… he couldn’t have been more proud of his partner.  This was the sort of recognition that Mycroft had worked towards his entire life.  And, while Greg knew that he had been in the presence of the Queen before, to be requested to attend to her during the entire gala was a big deal.

As the night progressed, Greg stayed to the back of the hall.  He got himself a drink and a few appetizers, and made polite conversation with the diplomats and their consorts.

When he could, he would lean against a far wall and just watch Mycroft.  The man was the pinnacle of grace and poise.  He was, as assumed, dressed impeccably, and he was able to keep up conversation with every dignitary, diplomat, assistant, photographer, and adoring citizen, as well as keep up various conversations with the Queen.  Greg knew that Mycroft was likely running out of spoons, and that he would need care when they got home. 

He wondered if there were any medicines he could take to totally skip his impending cold.  Or, perhaps, he could call… someone… and he could just stay away from Mycroft during that time.  Even as he thought it though, the entire idea was preposterous.  Not only would Mycroft want him there, he would not be able to reconcile himself with someone else helping the love of his life decompress. 

Sighing, he went and got another whiskey.  He had already reached the beginning of a buzz, but he knew that he could just listen to people if he could focus on being buzzed rather than focusing on trying to keep up with a conversation.

“You look like the epitome of English decadence,” Mycroft said, coming up to Gregory, as he got a flute of champagne for himself and one for the Queen. 

“You’re too kind,” Gregory responded, but there was no mistaking the look of love and pride that he gave Mycroft.  “You are doing a tremendous job,” he said, taking a sip of his drink to wash away the tickle his throat.  “I’m so proud of you.”

Mycroft smiled at him.  “Are you getting on well?  I have seen you speaking with some highly influential people.”

Greg nodded.  “People are being simply charming,” he responded as the bartender gave Mycroft his two champagne flutes.  “Go.  I’ll be waiting for you at the end.”

Mycroft gave Gregory a warning look, tinged with guilt.  “It’s going to be a late night.  I am to escort the Queen to her entourage at the end of the night, and there is no certainty that I won’t be attending her back to the palace.”

Greg looked as though he was going to say something, but remembered his place.  He nodded, acquiescing the point without complaint.  “Go,” he said, not allowing Mycroft to start deducing about him.  “Attend the Queen.”  Even as he said the words, another smile spread over his face.  “So proud,” he said, walking away before they became engaged in a longer conversation.

Mycroft watched him go, and could not be more proud of his partner.  Gregory looked every bit the part of a polished gentlemen.  Mycroft refocused, knowing that Gregory would not do or say anything that he would have to fix afterwards.  This fact brought him so much relief that he put Gregory out of his mind for the rest of the evening.

By the time dinner rolled around, Greg was feeling dizzy.  Even with another round of medication, he knew that he had started to spike a fever.  There was little that annoyed Mycroft more than ill people who attended galas, and he knew that as soon as the dinner was over, he would have to make his excuses.  The entire process of doing so, however, filled him with dread.  He was supposed to say good-bye to everyone with whom he had spoken, and the Queen, herself.  Just the thought of doing so made his head throb and a dull ache start behind his left eye. 

Making certain that he was sitting up straight, he worked to focus on the conversations going on around him.  He had to be perfect for Mycroft.  After dinner had been cleared away and dessert was served, Greg felt inherently stumped however.  The dessert appeared to be two cookies with a thick amount of filling between the two.  Everyone was given a spoon to eat it with. 

Greg was pleased that he was not the only person who picked up the spoon and tapped at the cookie – which appeared to be quite dense.  A repressed laugh became a gruff repressed cough as a nearby gentleman pressed too hard on the cookie causing it to break apart with force and shoot across the table.  Finally, he watched someone press down on the top cookie with their spoon, and squish out the frosting.  Then he ate that and cut the cookies as though they were cake.  It seemed like a good enough idea to Greg, so he followed suit. 

As dessert was ending, Greg knew that he had to leave, immediately.  His buzz had worn off, making him comfortably sleepy.  However, his nose continued buzzing.  Scraping his chair back, he realized a second too late that he would not make it out of the hall in time. 

Swiping up his napkin, he sneezed with a violent “Huh-eerRRRDDZZZZHHH!!”  If the sneeze itself was not embarrassing enough, it had echoed off the walls of the open room, and the quiet talking that had been occurring ceased completely. 

Blushing, he looked up towards Mycroft, who was giving him the most scathingly disgusted look that Greg had ever received in his life.  Averting his gaze, he sniffed to make certain that he was presentable, and put his napkin… oh no… he had sneezed in his napkin.  That meant he couldn’t bring it home, nor could he leave it there.  His blush deepened as he realized just how many social faux pas he had committing: sneezing, at the table, into his napkin… he was not perfect.  How could he ever have thought that he would be?

Quickly, he put the napkin on his chair and strode out of the hall, not turning back to look at whatever look Mycroft was choosing to fit him with. 

Had he looked back, he would have seen the look of concealed concern.  Mycroft had seen him just as his face crashed into the napkin.  He had looked disgusted for the faux pas, and the apologies that he would have to make.  But, he also knew that Gregory’s sneezes were too big to stifle, and that he didn’t errantly sneeze.  So, he must have been feeling truly wretched to sneeze so violently.  He winced as he watched the blush rise in Gregory’s cheeks, especially as the hall quieted and looked at him.

“Goodness!” the Queen had said, with a small statement about such a big sneeze. 

She, of course, knew that Gregory was Mycroft’s partner.  “My apologies, your Majesty,” Mycroft said, embarrassed and flatfooted.  He had started texting to have people come in and disinfect the hall, starting with Gregory’s seat.  In doing so, he missed the incredulous look that the Queen gave him. 

As the hall was cleaned out, and people moved to the next room for dancing, Mycroft got up and stood back as the Queen stood from dinner.  “You should check on him,” she said, as they walked towards her entourage. 

“It’s of no importance,” he replied in an effort to make certain that she knew that she was the most important responsibility that he had in his life. 

She said nothing until she got settled into the car which was to take her home.  “One’s partner is always of importance, Mr. Holmes.  You’ll do well to remember that.” 

His emotions rapid cycling between extreme anger and unabashed guilt.  Having been dismissed, he waited until her car was out of sight and went to call for his own.


Were Mycroft to say that he was surprised that Gregory was in the car when he got it, it would be a lie.  Upon calling for the car, Anthea had told him that it would be between the gala and home, and not even half way.  So, they must have turned around to pick him up.

Upon getting into the car, his emotions were still running far too high for a conversation.  When Gregory went to converse with him, Mycroft answered with a cold, “You have no idea what you cost me tonight.”

Crushing guilt flooded through every pore, and Gregory was struck silent, certain that nothing that he said would make this better.  How could it?  It couldn’t.  He wasn’t perfect.  He would never be perfect – never be good enough for the man whom he loved above all others.  He had cost Mycroft a good deal of respect with his disgusting behavior, and at the man’s cold words and tone, he knew that their relationship would end here.  He was in the way, and Mycroft would see to it that he was removed. 

With at least another twenty minutes before they arrived home, Gregory didn’t think that he could keep himself conscious for that long.  Letting his eyes drift closed, he leaned the side of his head against the coolness of the window.  Feeling himself relax, he was asleep within moments. 

Mycroft was silent, rotating between casting glares of annoyance and looks of genuine sympathy at his partner.  He had not put his cell phone down, and was texting away at the speed of anxiety.  As his anger at his situation and then his cold words about Gregory to the Queen dissipated, he started to worry about his obviously ailing partner.  How could he not have noticed that Gregory was coming down ill?  And, why had Gregory chosen to hide it from him? 

The answers didn’t matter, though.  Mycroft would see that his partner was properly attended to.  That he knew that he was safe and loved, and that whatever issues caused by his most embarrassing sneeze would soon be forgotten. 

The next thing that Greg became aware of was that the car had stopped moving.  The second was that he had fallen asleep.  He startled awake with a, “No!  I’m sorry!”  Despite the over-heated panic that he felt coursing through him, his words were slurred.  The car, he realized, had become a bit cool, and his heart broke with the assumption that Mycroft had left him in the car.   A shiver raced through his body, and he struggled to coordinate pulling his handkerchief from his trouser pocket.  “Huh – RaDDSSCHH!” he sneezed wetly, against the cuff of his coat. 

“God bless you,” a quiet, but serious, voice stated.   

Greg looked over, and realized that Mycroft was still sitting in the car with him.  “You might as well get out, love.  Just have your car drop me off at some hotel – or the Yard, and I’ll figure it out from there.  A shiver wracked his frame, and he swallowed thickly as he tried to force himself to maintain his emotions.  He had already humiliated Mycroft once, tonight.  There was no reason to make the conversation that he was certain was about to transpire.

With Gregory’s statement, however, Mycroft’s quiet resolve broke.  “What on earth are you talking about?  Why would I do anything but bring you inside, and get you to bed?”

“Because I ruined everything,” Gregory responded, his hushed voice despondent.  “I made the worst sort of mistake, and thrice over.  You just being here means that my mistake cost you your post gala meetings and your time with the Queen.  It means that everything that you’ve worked for, I’ve taken away.  And it means that people know that you’re with the man with the wretched sneeze.”  By the end of his explanation, Gregory couldn’t stop the tears from running down his face.  Turning away from Mycroft, he looked out the window, coughing harshly into an open hand as he tried to breath around the congestion.  “I know that now that I’m in your way, you’re going to break up with me.  So, just get on with it.  Don’t take care of me to toss me out after, like the bit of rough that I am.”  His breath hitched again, and this time he reached for his handkerchief, bringing it up to his nose and mouth just as a wet,” HurDDSSCCCH!  Eh-hAH-TTCCHHZZZAA!” exploded out of him.  Tidying himself up, he said nothing to Mycroft.

As Gregory unhinged, Mycroft put the knuckle of his pointer finger against his lips.  Listening nearly broke his heart and diminished the last of his anger.  The guilt that the other man felt was far higher than any amount of anger than Mycroft had at the whole affair.  And, whether because of the fever, or because of the entire situation, his Gregory thought that he was expendable.  That was something that Mycroft could not abide.

Opening the door, he tapped Gregory on the shoulder.  “Please come inside.  We’ll have some tea and go to bed.  The whole thing will look better in the morning.  I’m not going to break up with you over this.  But, we’ll talk about it, all right?”

The look that Greg gave him told him that it was absolutely not all right.  That nothing was all right, and that it would never be all right again.  Mycroft got out of the car and held his hand down for his partner to grasp.  He noticed when Gregory did not take it. 

As they walked into the house, Mycroft shooed Gregory into the living room, and went to the kitchen to make tea.  He sighed and leaned against the counter, shutting his eyes and seeing the heart-broken look in his sick lover’s eyes.  He had done that… at some point before tonight.  If Gregory felt valued, he would have had been able to have a row with Mycroft without feeling expendable.  Expendable.  His Gregory felt expendable.  Like one outburst of symptoms would make Mycroft turn him away forever.  He asked to be dropped off at the Yard for God’s sake.  The place that he went when his wife had caused him to feel expendable.  Mycroft gasped a breath as the kettle clicked and realized that somewhere along the line, he had made his partner feel as worthless as the man’s wife had before him.  He pressed hand to his eyes, allowing the tears to gather along the webbing between his thumb and his forefinger.  The past few years passed before his eyes, as he tried desperately to figure out when he had made this Gregory’s reality – again. 

He brought a tea tray laden with everything they would need into the living room, and had steeled himself for a conversation that may not be rooted completely in logic.  When he was feeling well, he knew his partner was a logical man.  But, any fever at all made him fall back to more insecure times, or maybe it allowed his insecurities to come through.  Whichever it was, it was Mycroft’s job to make certain that Gregory knew that he wasn’t… his chest tightened at the mere thought of the word… expendable.

Putting down the tea tray, he nearly thought the better of it when he realized that Greg had fallen asleep, and was snoring deeply. 

Mycroft sighed and sat next to him, practicing his words.  It was something that he hadn’t done with this relationship in a long time.  He felt comfortable being himself.  But, he was still annoyed… at himself for not seeing that his partner was ill, and at his partner for putting the Queen in harms way.  “I don’t know what to say,” he started, startling when Gregory startled awake. 

“Say that you want me gone.  Just say it,” Gregory practically begged, as he sat up.  He knew where Mycroft’s priorities lay.  At least he thought he did.  Cupping his fist over his mouth, he coughed thickly.  Wincing and rubbing at his chest afterwards. 

Mycroft bought some time by pouring tea for both of them.  “Why do you think that I would say that?” he asked evenly.

“Because I ruined your night.  I made you look bad when I sneezed… and I put the Queen at risk by showing my symptoms, and I was so embarrassing that she dismissed you early.  I know because you’re here.  Which means you’re – you’re not…”  He sucked in a deep breath and sneezed violently with a “HrrrDDSSCHHH!!!”   The sneeze gave way to harsh chesty coughs. 

Mycroft put down the teacup that he had been holding.  “Goodness, Gregory.  God bless you.”  He got up and got the tissues, which were close to his chair.  Handing over the box, he waited while Gregory cleaned himself up a little. 

“Yes, I was angry when I realized that your sneeze was not merely a sneeze.  You put the Queen at risk,” he said, his voice even, but not cold.  “You know better.”

Greg nodded.  “I do.  I thought that I could keep the symptoms at bay.”

“But, you know you’re still contagious.  So all of those people…”

“I was very careful not to shake hands often, and I used hand sanitizer so much that my hands started to dry out.  I did take precautions love.  Truly.”

Mycroft knew that he was no better.  He often went to work ill, and did the same things he was accusing Gregory of.  Focusing introspectively for a minute he realized that disappointment was fueling his anger. 

Misreading the silence, Gregory gasped out, “I’m so sorry, love.” 

“Gregory, you do not need to keep apologizing.  No amount of apology will fix tonight.”

To Mycroft’s horror, Gregory started to cry.  Fat tears rolled down his weather worn cheeks, as he gasped for air.  “Gregory you have to breathe.”  He cursed himself for his carelessness with his words.  Despite his assurances, Gregory obviously thought that he was going to break up with him. 

Gregory continued to gasp, finally holding his breath in desperation, causing small squeaks of emotion eeked out. 

“Gregory, breathe!” Mycroft demanded. 

“I can’t,” Greg responded, head falling forward as he started to cry.  “I just wanted to be perfect for you… like you.  I didn’t just want to be your bit of rough.  I wanted to show that I could be a fine gentleman such as yourself,” he gasped out.  Fumbling for his handkerchief, he sneezed roughly, “HurRDDCCCHH!!” into it.  He tried to sniffle, but his sinuses were too congested, but blowing his nose produced little effect as well. 

Mycroft felt frozen as he recalled that Gregory had called himself that in the car as well.  “Gregory, you’re not just anything, and your certainly not bit-of-rough, as you put it.  You are a fine gentleman, who can hold his own at a very intimidating affair.”  He paused before adding, “I believe it’s I who owe you an apology.”

“You?” Gregory asked, pulling in a wet sniffle.  “You were perfect.  You are perfect.”

“No,” Mycroft corrected.  “I let you down.  I let you believe that you couldn’t come to me when you were feeling unwell.  I didn’t create a safe enough environment for you to come to me to tell me that you were unwell…”

“I’m not a child, Mycroft,” he snapped, dabbing at his face with a tissue.  “Despite these tears, I don’t need you to create a safe environment for me.  I knew I was unwell and I made the choice I made.  That’s not your fault.  It’s mine.”  He sighed deeply, as he felt another tickle assault his sinuses.  “Heh-HurDDSSCHHH!!  EssDDSSSHHH!! RuuSSSSCHHHoooo!”  He caught the punishing sneezes in the handkerchief in his hands. 

“Blessings love.  Neither of us are children. But, I know that no matter how much I screw up things, or what case I take from New Scotland Yard, I will come home and you will love me.  You might be angry, but we will be all right. “You did not have that assurance.  You immediately thought that you were expendable.  That I would get rid of you.”  He couldn’t believe it, but it hurt even more to say it than to think it. 

“I know that your career comes first.  I hurt your career prospects.  I had hoped that by showing you I am …”  He sighed.  He never had wanted to voice this part. 

“You thought that by showing you were worth keeping that I would not dispose of you when I was done?” he asked, reading Gregory.  He didn’t often like to deduce Gregory like that, but if he had read him correctly, then this problem was worse than he had thought. 

Greg simply nodded, then sniffled pitifully.  “I am sorry, Mycroft.  I know my apology doesn’t mean anything…”

“No, stop,” Mycroft snapped.  “I appreciate your apology, Gregory.  I meant that it can’t fix what happened.  We can’t fix the past.  No matter how much we may want to.  We both know that.”  He drew in a deep breath, “And, honestly, I am to blame for not being with the Queen right now.  I did not phrase a statement correctly and was dismissed, so please don’t beat yourself up over this.”  He leaned over and placed a kiss to his temple, which alerted him to exactly how high Gregory’s fever was.  No wonder he was so emotional. 

Handing Gregory his tea, Mycroft took a sip from his own.  As the adrenaline waned, he knew that he had to take care of his partner.  “I apologize for snapping at you when I got into the car,” Mycroft said. 

“It’s all right.  You were within your rights,” Greg said, looking straight ahead. 

“Maybe.  But, you are my next priority, and once I was dismissed for the night, you should have been my only priority.” 

Greg finished his tea and turned to Mycroft for the first time since they sat down.  “Then can we go to bed?” he asked.  “I don’t know that I can make it on my own.”  Chills had started to race over his body, and he was concerned that he was going to black out between the two locations. 

Mycroft noticed the high fever in Gregory’s cheeks.  “Of course, Gregory.”  Helping his partner up, he pressed a kiss to his cheek.  “I know you didn’t ask, but I forgive you.  Thank you for putting me before yourself. I appreciate the gesture.  I do.  Just, next time, know that you can just tell me that you’re unwell.  I will understand.”

Gregory nodded, happy that the night ended better than he had anticipated.  He still didn’t regret his choice, and had loved seeing Mycroft in his element.  But, Mycroft didn’t need to know that.



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13 hours ago, frenchposie said:

“You look like the epitome of English decadence,” Mycroft said

Mmmm :heart:

God something about upset!Greg is just....you don't see that too much (well I don't). Mycroft's stiff replies soften a bit but still so very in character.  This was cute.

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Thank you so much for this! :heart: Oh poor Greg, so unwell and upset. How did Mycroft not see, and how did Greg keep all of that hidden?  Lots to take in here.

 That's rather heartbreaking that he would think that Mycroft would toss him aside for what really isn't anything more than a sneeze (I mean it was, duh, but you know what I mean).  :lol: 

Again, thank you so much for this and I apologise for not seeing it sooner.  I've not had a lot of time lately to login here!

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I know you like more fluff. Im not teally good at fluff. But if i do a part 2, I promise it'll be fluffy. ♡♡

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Oh my heart goes out to Greg, poor dear. He tries so hard. Sometimes I think Greg is too good for Mycroft. I hope Mycroft is able to convey to the Queen, and Greg, that his partner is properly appreciated. 

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  • 2 months later...

He will but... he's being so very Mycroft right now. Part 2 will be up shortly

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Part 2 (of 3)

Gregory had gone to bed hours ago.  Mycroft stayed in the bed with him only until he was certain that the man wouldn’t wake up.  Then, ever so quietly, he went back downstairs to the library.  He lit a fire and poured himself a tumbler of scotch.  He took a sip as he watched the fire. 

His mind wandered to the horrible look that he was certain that he had given Gregory when he had sneezed.  Sneezing in public, especially so loudly it echoed just wasn’t acceptable.  He had given the one who sneezed a look that was intentioned for them to slink away in shame. He had tried to draw it back when he realized it was Gregory, but the older man was quick to say the least.  While he might not have been able to deduce the way he or Sherlock could, he was still quick to pick up cues.  He saw the look, Mycroft knew he did.

Mycroft took a sip of his drink and sighed, eyes still unblinking as he stared at the fire.  He had weighed his words to the Queen so carefully. He had underestimated her, and that was a grave mistake.  He had never been so off in his analysis of her response to a stimulus before.  Perhaps he had underestimated how the Queen regarded him.  That was an interesting perspective. He’d have to look at that thought later.  So many thoughts…

He sighed, and double blinked, leaning his elbow against the arm of the chair and pressed the back of his pointer and middle finger to his lips.  Pain radiated through his body, seemingly starting t his heart.  His Gregory had been certain that he would be replaced.  He sucked in another breath and took another drink. 

How had he not noticed that Gregory was coming down ill?  Why had the man felt the need to hide it? Certainly, Mycroft had more important things to attend to, and he couldn’t stay home to tend to Gregory personally, but he could have made a phone call or two to keep Gregory at his desk. Or, made certain that his favorite meals were delivered to the house when the man had woken up. There were things he could have done, that he would  have done.  But, it appeared that Gregory stopped trusting him to care for him. 

If he hadn’t just seen how upset the man had been about the prospect of being broken up with, Mycroft would do just that. Leave the man he loved, so that Gregory could be free to find someone without so many career constraints and responsibilities.   Mycroft couldn’t give him more than he was.  This was it. If it wasn’t enough, it meant that he wasn’t enough.

Another sigh.  He picked up his tumbler, but his throat was too constricted for him to take a proper drink, or even a sip. 

Somewhere along the line, he had begun to take Gregory for granted.  How he loathed himself right now.

Bowing his head forward, he scratched at his scalp a bit; a nervous tick.  He couldn’t give more.  This was it; it was all there was to him.  But, he had to.  He had to give more.  Be better. 

Be better or Gregory will leave you.

He gasped a breath as his anxiety got a word in through the logical thoughts.  Pressing his hand against his mouth, he smothered a gasp as he tried desperately not to cry.

“Mycroft?” Gregory’s voice cut through his thoughts and the pain. 

Looking up, he took in Gregory’s  slouched posture and sleep mussed hair.  He was wearing his dressing gown and slippers, and shuffled slowly towards Mycroft. 

“Gregory,” he said, putting his glass down and getting up.  “What do you need love?”  He went to embrace  the older man, but was rebuffed as Gregory shuffled to the other arm chair and sat down heavily.

Mycroft tried not to show how hurt he was by the action.  He swallowed and put the veneer of ice over his feelings as he went and sat back down.  “What is it, love?” he repeated.

Gregory moaned, sleepily.  “I woke up and you weren’t there.  I want to be with you tonight.  So, I’m here.”  He leaned his head back against the chair, and turned it so that he was looking at Mycroft.

“Then we shall go to sleep.  I’m certain the rest would be beneficial to both of us,” he said standing. 

As he walked over to Gregory and offered him his arm, Gregory shook his head.  Leaning forward a bit, he pushed Mycroft back gently. 

Misreading the situation entirely, Mycroft took several steps back and set his jaw.  “I’ll turn the fire off,” he said, speaking of the new gas fireplace that they had put in. 

“Huh-eehhh-HURZZDDCCH!” Gregory sneezed thickly.  “Ugh,” he mumbled through the congestion, as he pulled a few tissues from the cocktail table next to his seat. 

“God bless you, dear.”  Mycroft pressed his lips together, forcing himself not to sigh.  He longed for a cigarette.  He was desperate for one.

“Thangs,” Gregory said, giving his nose another stuffy blow.   He was about to leverage himself off the chair when, “HuhCHHAASSSHH!”  Heavy and wet, the sneeze bent him in half and thoroughly soaked the tissues he had been holding. 

Mycroft move towards Gregory again, and again he was rebuffed.  This time Gregory held his hand out, literally keeping Mycroft at arms length.

Uncertain as to what was happening, Mycroft whispered, “I can’t be with you without being near you.  You can’t have it both ways.”  He held his hand out to Gregory, silently wiling the other man to take it.

“I don’t want you close to me tonight,” Gregory stated.

When Mycroft had been a child, he and Sherlock had laughed at the ridiculous the Bugs Bunny cartoons that depicted a Valentines Day shaped heart as shattering like glass.  It was unrealistic, they would say.  But, now, standing in front of the man he loved… the man he was now certain he had lost.  He was shocked at how much it felt precisely like that.  He would set to work on the paperwork the next day.  He would give Gregory a modest amount of money to help him get back into his own place.  Then he would contact Lady Smallwood and a few of his other colleagues and be asked to be posted to Eastern Europe for some reason or another.  There was always a reason for field work, as loathe a Mycroft was to actually do it.

“Come,” Mycroft whispered, his breath short and his word hollow even to his ears.  He made sure to follow Gregory up the stairs and then settled him in their bed.  Pressing a hand to Gregory’s forehead, he frowned at how warm it was.  “You’re really not feeling well, are you?”

Gregory shook his head, snatching up his handkerchief from the bedside table and lifting off the pillows with a thick, “HurUMMCHH!”

“Oh, blessings, my dear,” Mycroft said brushing back the fine silver hair. He always marveled at how Gregory’s hair could be so thick, but still feel like silk.  He would miss being able to comfort him.  These little moments when their lives gave them a special piece of time that was just theirs.  He would miss these moments most of all. 

He continued his ministrations until Gregory fell to sleep.  Although Mycroft considered getting into his side of the bed, Gregory had stated quite clearly that he did not want Mycroft near.  So, instead, he went into one of the guest rooms…. The Spruce Room, aptly named for its dark green and neutral shade palette.  Huffing out a sob, he finally got into bed, and let his tears lull him to sleep.

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Sad!!! So glad to see more though!

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Part 3 of 3 for @cally

Fluff, and a happy ending.  As promised. 


The next morning, Gregory awoke with a start.  There wasn’t an alarm clock going off, but that didn’t seem to matter, his body knew exactly what time to rise.  Mycroft was already in the shower.   And, yet, there was a cup of tea and two cold pills by his bedside.  He smiled; his love knew precisely how to make him feel better.

Gregory debated if he felt well enough to go to work.  He knew that he should take some time off… that it had been a late and stressful night, and that he wouldn’t be able to focus on much.  His mind made up, he called his superiors, making certain to add a husky cough or two for good measure. 

He noticed that Mycroft looked at him sadly when he got out of the en suite.

“Love, are you all right?” Gregory asked, sitting up slightly.  Mycroft was certainly not the ‘ice man’ that everyone took him for.  He felt an acute range of emotions, mostly in the negative space.  Gregory had seen that look of sadness before, but never directed at him. 

“I am,” Mycroft stated in such a way that they both knew he was lying.

“Is it Sherlock?”

Mycroft closed his eyes.  How was he ever going to live with Sherlock’s goading and taunting after this? He’d have to stop visiting his brother… he would have to step away completely. 

Maybe there is a high risk place to go.  Gregory doesn’t want you anymore.  And Sherlock would take his side anyway.  You’re alone, Mycroft.  Serves you right for being weak and letting him in, in the first place.  You knew this could only end in tears.  You are not enough.

Mycroft took a stutter breath against his awful thoughts.  “No.  I have a meeting with the Queen, and then a few personal meetings to attend to.  I intend to be home no later than one or two.  Are you staying home?”

Gregory could tell something was wrong, and it wasn’t a meeting with the Queen.  Mycroft lived for those bits of grandeur.   Sitting up, he stretched a bit.  “Mycroft what is it?”  He didn’t want to get out of bed, but he would if he had to.

Mycroft sped through getting ready, not wanting to be in that room a second longer than he had to.  He came over and set Night Nurse as well as paracetamol on Gregory’s end table.  “I love you so much.  I’m sorry I wasn’t there for you.   I do wish you had told me you weren’t feeling well.”  He leaned over and kissed Gregory on the lips.  He would miss this, too. 

Enjoying the kiss for a while before breaking it, Gregory shrugged. “It’s a cold dearest.  I do know that the sneeze was improperly timed, but I couldn’t help it.”

“I know.  I so deeply apologize for being angry at you.  I really wasn’t… “

“You were,” Greg countered.  “And you had a right to be.  I knew it was a faux-pas.  And I knew that everything I did just made it worse. “

“Not the worst I’ve ever seen, I assure you,” he said, closing his eyes and just breathing in Greg’s scent.

“You’ll tell me about it tonight at dinner?” Greg asked, hopefully.   It was infrequent that Mycroft shared funny stories of his experiences.  But, Greg loved it when he did.

Mycroft merely nodded.  He planted one more kiss on Gregory’s head, and went outside to his waiting state car.

“I don’t know what you did, but the Queen wants to see you immediately this morning,” Anthea said, as Mycroft got into his car. 

He sighed.  “How did the secretary sound?” he asked, trying to feel out if this meeting was going to be about future prospects, the gala, Gregory’s health, or Mycroft’s comment.

“It sounded like you may have to defend a decision,” she answered honestly.

He nodded, and pulled out his phone, scrolling through his email and sending out orders, suggestions, and reminders to those that he had hoped to meet with during the day. He hoped that he would not be sacked for a moment of alternate priorities.  Even after seeing how his choices hurt Gregory, even after being rebuffed over and over, he was still certain that his choice to prioritize the Queen was the correct decision.

“Tea?” Anthea said, handing over a travel mug.

Raising an eyebrow, he looked her over.

“With all due respect, you’ll need it, sir,” she said, looking up and giving him a smile.  “After your meeting with the Queen, you have lunch with the Prime Minister.   At two you have a conference call with the Committee of Scholarly Pursuits, and then at five, you have a meeting with Lady Smallwood.”

He took a strong pull of his tea.  He had no time for Gregory.  Knuckling his nose, he pushed back a small tickle.  He wished he could ask Anthea to reschedule, but today wasn’t the day.  Who could she ask to rearrange their incredibly busy schedule?  Maybe Alicia…

“Detective Inspector Lestrade is ill.  I’m sending you a list of his favorite comfort foods and where to order them from.  Please ensure that he gets the food.”

Intense brown eyes looked up from her blackberry.  “Do you need me to cancel your meeting with Lady Smallwood?” she asked.

“No. I contacted Alicia last night.  She has agreed to meet with me upon my request.  She’ll be bringing two lawyers.  You’re to let them see my finances and budgetary items.”   It was so odd, he didn’t actually feel anything anymore.  It was better this way.  The robot.  The ice man.  It was better this way.

Or so he told himself.

His meeting with the Queen was refreshing.  The woman was the epitome of English grace and polish, and being in her presence was what Mycroft lived for.  They had discussed the gala and how to use the information gathered to move forward on several fronts.  Their goals had been attained, and the Queen was pleased overall. 

Then the conversation took a turn to the personal and she asked about his Gregory.  He had tried not to bore her with the details, but he would not lie.  He explained that it was a bad cold, and made the necessary apologies for putting her and her guests in danger. 

“It’s but a cold, Mr. Holmes.  It’s not as though he brought the red death,” she stated, with a quirky grin. 

He smiled as pleasantly as he could, but the plot of Poe’s Mask of the Red Death was precisely why he was so anxious about ailments at galas.  One never knew what the issue was, and sometimes they did.  He recalled nearly a decade before when people had the H1N1 virus, and yet were going out an about without a care to those around them.  The entire situation made him feel short of breath.

“Yes, m’am,” he responded, as they made idle chit-chat until the Queen had enough of his presence. 

“Do take care of him,” she had told him as he was leaving. 

She handed him a folder, and he was on his way.

Looking at contents of the folder, his heart sank, and he stopped as he was walking on the stairs.  She had denied his request to be put back into the field. 

He quickly dialed Anthea.  “Cancel my meeting with Lady Smallwood.  No one is to see my financials.”

After an extraordinarily brief meeting with the Prime Minister, he penned notes for Anthea, and put them on her desk.  “I’m going to take the rest of the day off.  Contact me if you have any questions about the instructions left.  If you get done with your work early, you may leave as well.”  The young lady worked far too hard for him, and he was trying to show her gratitude. 

She eyed him warily.  “I’ve called for your car, sir,” she said, clicking an icon on her computer screen.  “Do let me know if I need to clear your schedule for tomorrow as well.”

“I will. But, I don’t expect to need it.  Thank you, my dear,” he said, giving her a smile that looked more like a grimace.

Upon arriving home, he caught up with one of the food deliverers.   Taking the food, himself, he went inside the house and gasped.  The heat was turned up to an extraordinary degree, and he could feel his sinuses drying out as he stood there.  The tale of the red death prickled in the back of his mind again, as he went in search of his partner.

Putting the bags on the kitchen table, he went into the living room.  A small smile graced his lips as he saw Gregory, asleep in front of the telly.  Turning it off, he went and made some tea, putting the soup away for later.  He was glad that he had beat the delivery boy to the door.  His love obviously needed his rest.

Bringing the tea in, he placed it on the coffee table.  Greg had started snore, and the sound bothered Mycroft, because he knew it meant the congestion was getting worse. After fidgeting for a bit, he tapped his fingers against the arm of his chair, and went to get the thermometer. 

Gregory snuffled and snorted awake to a shrill beep in his ear.  He felt entirely too hot, too smothered.   Before he could even open his eyes, he squeezed them shut and brought a clumsy hand to his mouth.  “HuhCHHHESSHHH!” he sneezed violently.  “Uh-HUCHSSSSHHH!”

“Blessings, my dear,” a quiet voice said.

He felt a soft piece of cloth be pushed into his hands, but his fingers were too clumsy to grasp it.  A chilly feeling on his forehead made him gasp, setting him off on a long coughing spell.  Finally, when his body had dispelled the irritant, he opened his eyes.  “Mycroft,” he rasped, giving his love a small smile.

“I’m sorry that I could not stay home with you the entire day, my love.  I was asked to attend the Queen first thing this morning, and then I had a grueling meeting with the Prime Minister.”

Greg smiled.  “I’m glad you had your time with the Queen.”

A smile played at the corners of Mycroft’s lips.  “As am I.  But, moreso, I am happy glad that I get time to tend to you. “  He swallowed, uncertain if he was welcomed to do so.

Chocolate brown eyes bounced over Mycroft’s face.  “Nah, somethin’s bothering you.”  Greg said.  His fingers curling around the handkerchief that was still resting in his hands.  “HurCHFFSSHH!”   The sneeze was heady, and he sniffed thickly at the end.

“Blessings, my darling,” Mycroft stated.  He sighed as he realized what he head said.

“Darling?” Gregory asked.  “I’ve never heard you use that term before,” he said.  His voice still gruff from the sneeze.

“My apologies.   Anthea turned me onto the most delightful of Netflix series, and it’s the way they speak.”

Gregory chuckled a bit.  “Ah, she’s a bad influence on you.”  He reached out and took Mycroft’s hand in his own, playing with his long fingers and moving over on the couch, so that the man did not need to hover over him. 

He looked over Mycroft and smiled.  His suit jacket had been removed, showing his bracers.  It was uncharacteristic of him, and Greg thought it was damn sexy. 

“Indeed.”  Mycroft sat down uneasily.   He looked over Gregory, who was certainly feeling worse for the wear.   “My love, my deepest apologies for hurting you.  If you don’t want my company anymore, do let me know.  I assure you that I will give you more than enough to start over, if that is what you wish.”   He felt cold, like a draft was crossing the room, although he knew that no such thing was happening .

Greg sat up and regarded Mycroft seriously.  “What are you on about?”

“At some point, I started to take you for granted, and I lost your trust.”  He forced a smile, as he knew was the custom when speaking of difficult matters.  It was a gesture that he knew that Gregory would understand.  “I wish I could promise you that I would do whatever you needed to gain the confidence in me that I have in you.”  He paused before adding, “But, I can’t.  I can’t not do my employ.  And, I can’t not focus on the Queen.”

Maybe it was the fever, but Greg wasn’t quite following what was going on.  “You didn’t come to bed last night.”

“You didn’t want me there,” he answered.  He blinked rapidly.  It was taking it out of him not to disassociate or leave.  Affairs of the heart were not his strong suit.  He much preferred international politics to being on this couch at this very moment.

Greg regarded him with confusion.  “I was upset last night, and I didn’t wish to infect you.”

“Honestly, Gregory.  It’s rather likely that I’ve already been exposed.  I don’t care about that.  What I care about is what I did to lose your trust.  And, what do you need me to do to make it better?  Is there anything, or have I lost you already Gregory?”

He was confused again.  Why was Mycroft this concerned about the night before?  Still? It wasn’t like him to focus on such matters.  Worse, it appeared that he was trying to get Greg to break up with him.  “I didn’t stop trusting you, Mycroft.  It’s a cold; we’ve both been through worse.   You were preparing to attend the Queen. Mycroft I know you love me, but there are priorities.”

Mycroft looked as though he had been struck.  “My deepest apologies,” he muttered.  “You deserve better.”  He drew in a deep breath and pinched the bridge of his nose.  “I can’t be more than what I am, Gregory.  I …”  He bowed his head with a stuttered sigh.

“My-hih… Mycroft,” Gregory stuttered out, his breath hitching as he brought the handkerchief back to his face before bending forward with more heady sneezes.  “HurrCCHHUUFF!  HeDDZZCHHH!  Huh-CHESSHHFFF!”   Blowing his nose as discretely as he could, he leaned back a bit.  “You are enough, Mycroft.”  The words were stated confidently over Mycroft’s blessings, which he knew would come.  “I trust you, love.  I always have –even when you were just Sherlock’s formidable older brother.  I trusted that you would pay me mind when yours was less burdened.   “Now, how was your meeting with the Queen?”

Mycroft was speechless for a moment.  Then shamed.  How could he think so little of his Gregory?  “Well, let me get the soup for a late lunch, and we can discuss that,” he said, getting up so that he could take the time he needed to collect and reorder all of the thoughts and emotions that he was feeling.  There were so many.  

“What soup?” Greg asked, getting up to follow him into the kitchen.  He knew that he should give Mycroft the time he needed, but right now, he didn’t want the man too far.  He had the feeling that he had narrowly avoided something very serious. 

“I ordered soup to be delivered to you for a late lunch, and then ran into the delivery boy while I was on my way in.”

“This is the sort of kindness that I love you for,” Greg explained.  “You met with the Queen and the Prime Minister today, an’ yet you made time to make certain that I was cared for.  You don’t have to be here for a cold, love.  I am not a babe in arms.”

“Thank Heavens for that ,” Mycroft replied, pulling soup out of the refrigerator.   “I am a barely acceptable as a partner.  I would be atrocious as a father.” 

Greg huffed a laugh that turned into congested coughs.  Turning away from the counters he clasped his hands over his mouth, having left the handkerchief on the couch.  “Well, you’re good enough for me,” he said as he regained his breath.  “And, I never want you to believe otherwise.” 

Coming up to Mycroft, he turned his wrist up and held it out.

With a long sigh, Mycroft relaxed as he took the man’s wrist, feeling his anxiety wane with the steadiness of Gregory’s heartbeat.

“I love you, Gregory,” he stated after several calming minutes.  “I know I leave much to be desired, but I do love you.  I hope that’s enough.”

Greg looked up at his partner and smiled.  “You’re enough, Mycroft.  I will let you know if that ever changes.”  He leaned up and kissed him.  “And, I love you, too.”

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Love this!

4 hours ago, frenchposie said:

“Thank Heavens for that ,” Mycroft replied, pulling soup out of the refrigerator.   “I am a barely acceptable as a partner.  I would be atrocious as a father.” 


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