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 Summary:
Mycroft Holmes under familiar stresses didn't make mistakes,
Mycroft Holmes under an unfamiliar stress made a mistake.
It wasn't a fatal mistake.  It was worse than that.


Rating: PG-13
Warnings: dub-con, mentions of rape and sexual violence
Type: Gen
Word Count: 3100

The final part of this series of connected stories.


My thanks to [info]elfbert  and [livejournal.com profile] et_cetera55 for their invaluable help.


Part One: First Encounter

Part Two: The first time he saw the car

Interlude in a Blue Suit

Part Three:Irresistable Force and Immovable Object

Part Four: Well of Courage

==============================================


There were times Lestrade wished he was a detective in the Golden Age of detective fiction.

All right he'd be useless at his job while some amateur swanned in and sorted it all out before breakfast (and there are those who say that's the case now, but they don't say it where he can hear, not any more) but at least the corpses were decent.

As in fully clothed, and killed by some nice decent clean method. A poison that never caused the victim to choke on vomit or void themselves but just to keel over quiet as. Or an injection or perhaps a very neat knife wound that doesn't sent blood gouting everywhere.

They were usually boring middle aged people, often nasty ones because only bad people die in fiction. Boring middle aged people, fully clothed, and found somewhere clean.

They were not horribly young good looking boys, found in a muddy back lane, naked and covered in rope marks and welts and signs of rough sex (Lestrade is the sort of copper who won't call it rape until he knows it is) with the congested face of someone who has been choked or smothered, and a nose that had been sniffing something it shouldn't. ("Poppers" Anderson had said, "Coke affects the tissues differently, he's been on the Amyl I bet")

The usual way young pretty boys get rope marks and welts and a nose full of Amyl Nitrate is down at any one of a number of clubs in the seedier bits of London. Perfectly consensual (although Lestrade was willing to bet there was money involved) and not usually fatal.

They took the photographs and the swabs and the measurements, writing another rent boy's epitaph in police jargon on police forms.

"Bit of S&M gone wrong" said Donovan "but if it was one of the usual clubs why dump him here? Fair bit of travel from Soho or Leicester Square . And you'd think if they were close to the river they'd just dump him there."

She had a point. "No real way to tell if it was a club or a private effort. We'll have to hope those tatts get us somewhere."

Body lifted, the cops departed. Back to the Yard to sort what they had and start the long routine slog of identifying one of London's poor and unwanted and tracking his movements, hoping it would lead them to the heartless bastard who had let his cock overrule his common sense and had killed a man.

A Golden Age detective had a small cast of suspects and they were all living in the village. Lestrade had all of London to trawl through to get justice for some mother's son whose name he might never know.


==========


Mycroft Holmes looked at the photographs on his desk. Some were CCTV, some police forensic, some taken by operatives.

They showed a dead body and the police doing their routine investigation in a squalid back lane in White City. The squalid back lane where a senior treasury official had dumped his mistake.

Ridlington was now A Problem. He'd been on Mycroft's mind for some time,

Mycroft had been to Ridlington's club, it was important to know how these things worked and what people did there. A certain portion of the Establishment gravitated to it, and them thinking he did too was no bad thing. He had even tried some of it, and it was interesting the way any new experience was interesting, but he wouldn't do it again. Not like that, anyway. Not with paid partners. It might be interesting in a different way with someone who was more than a convenient body.

Power was a drug it is true. To some an aphrodisac, certainly creatures like Ridlingtom found arousal in dominating and controlling and,yes, hurting. Pain and fear was apparently a great deal of the attraction.

While it didn't affect their work, it was allowable. If it kept them happy then it was desirable they had the ability to feed their appetites for power and sex.

Mycroft saw power as more like food or water. It was required for him to live, but too much or wrongly handled and it was bad for you. He knew how to handle it properly which is why he was where he was.

Mycroft Holmes was relied upon by many people. People who trusted him to handle his power responsibly.

Ridlington was no longer reliable, no longer responsible. Ridlington was no longer suitable for his position, and must be dealt with.

He turned back to the crime scene pictures, looking at at one man in particular. At the face, at the way he stood and looked. At how he interacted with his people, dealing with the young one who hadn't coped with the sight. Mycroft looked perhaps a little longer than strictly necessary.

An interesting man. Intelligent and competent, but one who had been difficult, Mycroft Holmes didn't like difficult. Perhaps it was time he was dealt with.

(And if he remembered (while nearly asleep) an arm around him while he was afraid and hurting, a thing competent elder sons in certain kinds of families perhaps do not get enough of, the memory was gone in the morning.)

====================

Lestrade checked his progress notes and gave the rentboy job to Donovan. "Grab one of Stanner or Parker for your offsider, they've not got too much on. Start by following up the tatts, probably the rough trade end not the goth or prettyboy clubs."

He headed into his office confident she'd find out all there was to find. She knew her job.

Two days later she gave her first report.

"We haven't been able to place him in any of the clubs, Stanner didn't get any hits there. But I was able to find a sometime mate of the vic's. He confirmed our man - he called him Steve - was a rentboy between building site gigs, and had been seen lately with a posh bloke in an expensive car. He was into motors a bit so knew it was a top range Audi last year's registration, and had a couple of numbers of the plate so I'm sorting that with DMLA now."

Well that was better than he'd expected! "Excellent! What were the forensics?"

"They think 10-12 hours before he was found, so call it after 10pm. They incline towards murder rather than accidental death, it's all in the report here. Seems as if the killer had to have known the boy was in trouble well before the end. So likely he kept on deliberately. No identifiable DNA unfortunately."

She was calm in reciting it, but he could see she was upset. So was he come to that. He had no desire for S&M games himself, if others wanted to do it between consenting adults that was OK. This was different though, this was about buying some meat for something you wouldn't do to someone of your own class. Then dump it when done.

"Better than we had before. Let me know if you get a hit on the car. Meanwhile keep your feelers out for his movements and anyone else he might have been seeing. Take Michelson of Vice out for a drink on Friday and see if he can point you to any blokes who might talk a bit."

This was the sort of slow grinding work that was the core of the job. Couldn't write a best selling series about coppers trawling databases and chatting to rentboys over beer and twenty quid, but that's what policing looks like.

He checked his list and called Vikram in for a progress report on the knifing in Islington, and so the day went on.

At the end of his shift he headed straight home. He knew some of his people were off to the pub and a trivia night but they didn't need the boss there.

===========

He walked in the door and remembered terror seized him for a moment.

There on the sofa, bottle of whiskey on the table (this time open, and a single glass in evidence) was Mycroft Holmes.

Sleek, controlled, and in charge.

After the first shock, Lestrade fixed his body language right up. Loose shoulders, head up. Walk like a cop: take up room, measure up those around you, project confidence, competence, danger. Not tension or worry, don't give any indication you remember what happened. Don't give the bastard the satisfaction.

Mycroft watched the Inspector walk in. Tough, competent, every line of him deliberately so. He did look impressive, and Mycroft felt a little frisson of interest which he almost didn't recognise as such.

Holmes looked measuringly at him, there was something almost predatory in that gaze. Lestrade didn't like it at all.

"You are, I believe, engaged on the case of an.. unfortunate young man found dead in White City. You will not need to spend any more time on it"

Lestrade held onto his temper with both hands. "Are you telling me to stop investigating a crime?"

"I will see the matter is taken care of. You will get the name of the man involved in due course. Once he has... done the proper thing."

Lestrade processed that. Once the man had shot himself or gassed himself or whatever Holmes had arranged for him to do. The room got smaller, claustrophobic. Keep talking, don't stand here like an idiot! You are a copper, he's a civilian, feel the uniform you aren't wearing, feel the baton you aren't carrying...

"So what happened? Forensics say it was murder. And why do you care?"

"Many powerful Establishment men prefer the rough trade Inspector. So unlike their usual millieu. The strength and the hardness make it so much sweeter when the man submits." A pause, a considering look. "So I'm told"

Lestrade kept himself under iron control. Why was Holmes telling him this? What was the message? Was it a threat? A promise?

"Ridlington is such a man. His desire to break someone has gone too far before, a man who makes that mistake twice is no longer reliable."

Lestrade blinked at that. Twice? Did they have any others like this? Donovan hadn't mentioned any, and she'd have checked, so either it didn't get that far or else it was better hidden. By, one presumes, the man in front of him.

"So what's different now? And why tell me?"

"The boy was apaprently trying to blackmail him, the next one may be smart enough not to get into the car to do so. And why tell you? Because I choose to Inspector."

Something in Holmes's eyes worried Lestrade. The voice was matter of fact, but the predatory eyes were gleaming, and it took all he had to stay still.

"Now it is time we came to an agreement. To, shall we say, a working relationship. My man is outside, do not think to leave this time." There, that got his attention. "I do think you will co-operate with me Inspector. Your Sergeant, the young woman? Very competent it seems, she should go far. Be a great pity if she doesn't, wouldn't it."

Mycroft watched Lestrade, The line of him, the tension, the eyes. He sat back enjoying his effect on his target, feeling something delicious rise within him.

Holmes sat there, all power and arrogance, legs splayed and a rather noticeable bulge in his trousers. He was no longer the distant aloof bureaucrat, the face no longer closed and controlled.

Lestrade realised what was going on. Tonight he was as slow as Sherlock said he always was but he got there in the end.

This man as brilliant as Sherlock and as twisted as Sherlock just in a different way was very used to people doing what he told them. Sherlock manipulated with words and looks and that weird intensity that rode right over you. This man had his own intensity but also he manipulated with doctored records, and hard men with guns, and whatever it was that had so scared Sergeant Bloody Cornwall.

And now this brilliant, twisted, manipulative and above all *powerful* bastard wanted his bit of rough. Was going to take his bit of rough. And was making sure the bit of rough was very aware of what would happen if he didn't come up to scratch. .

The picture of Sally Donovan being followed by the killer with the flat blue eyes was burned into his brain.

He had once thought that no bureaucrat could frighten him but that was a lifetime ago. Mycroft Holmes was no ordinary bureaucrat of course. He was something else never seen before or since, and he was frightening Gregory Lestrade very much indeed.

Lestrade felt his shoulders hunch, his gaze drop. And his well of courage run dry.

"All right" he said, in a broken man's broken voice "I'll do whatever you want, just leave my people alone"

He took two halting steps forward and dropping to his knees reached for Holme's belt buckle.

Mycroft Holmes was riding high on something, the tightness in his groin intensified by the taste of power and the desire for this man. Desire for the strength and the courage and something else... He pushed harder, racking up the intensity enjoying the fog that had hold of him.

And then it all came crashing down.

Mycroft came back into himself with a sudden shock, feeling his arousal vanish as Lestrade's face crumpled and he fell to his knees.

This was wrong. The proud devastating man who had inflamed him so was gone. Was broken. Was this what Ridlington enjoyed? Or was this why he did it to strangers? Because to do it to someone you.. yes.. respected was terrible? Unforgiveable?

He had done this, had allowed his control to slip, had allowed his base feelings to take over, and Lestrade was paying the price.

He had as good as killed for no reason beyond a sexual thrill. He was no better than Ridlington. He was where he was because he could be trusted with great power and he'd abused that trust.

Mycroft leapt from the sofa, away from Lestrade, trying to gather himself, to distance himself from the creature he had become.

Time had slowed for Lestrade, prolonging his humiliation and his fear. His hands took forever to reach their target, he couldn't bear to lift his head to look at Holmes. Which is why he was totally unprepared for the man to shoot from his seat and move away. Totally unprepared for hands to reach down what seemed like an instant later and pull him to his feet, for the almost frantic voice saying "No! Not like this! Never like this!" Totally unprepared to be deposited on the sofa in his turn.

He flinched away from the arm around him, a parody of concern, a rigid restraint keeping him where he was. He was tense and folded in on himself, struggling to cope with it all.

The silence lengthened and gradually Lestrade was able to pull the pieces of himself together. His heart slowed, his back straightened, he lifted his head.

Holmes was sitting in one of the chairs from the kitchen, staring at nothing.

Neither spoke.

Somewhere a man named Ridlington was committing suicide because Mycroft Holmes deemed him unreliable.

Somewhere there was a flat-eyed killer with a silenced handgun.

Holmes didn't move. He seemed to be lost inside himself, unable to get out.

Finally Lestrade said "What now?"

Holmes blinked and slowly focused on Lestrade. "I don't know. That I have lost control twice now in your presence is not your fault. But it is a weakness I must deal with"

Lestrade went very still. He kept his eyes fixed on Holmes's eyes, if you are going to kill me Mycroft Holmes then you will know it is a man you kill, not an object to dismiss as an annoyance. He didn't know what the difference was between seeing a man on his knees and seeing him dead on the floor, but clearly Holmes saw one as better than the other.

Face like an open book... because "No Inspector! No! The fault is not yours and if I...remove you the problem remains and will resurface. I allowed my emotions to overrule my intellect and that is what must be dealt with."

"How long do I look over my shoulder? Must I give thanks for every day I see Sally Donovan walk to her desk? Do I flinch every time I see a black car, waiting for you to force me into this again?"

Holmes winced. And could not meet Lestrade's eyes.

"How can you trust me?" he said to the wall. "I can't answer that. I can only say that If I do... deal with you in that way again, it won't for personal reasons. Not for me or for Sherlock."

That was no guarantee. He somehow found the strength for indignation "Why do it at all? Why not bloody well *ask*?"

That at least got Holmes looking at him.

"If it's National Security, do it through channels. If it's for Sherlock then just ask!"

"And if it is for me?" said a very tiny voice in the back of Mycroft's head. He ignored it.

Holmes considered. "Very well Inspector. If that's what it takes."

He stood and walked towards Lestrade who struggled to his feet in self defence.

To find Holmes's hand outstretched. "An agreement Inspector. If it is National Security I go through channels. If it's for Sherlock, then I ask."

Lestrade didn't take his hand, not yet. "And you understand I might say no."

Holmes breathed in as if to speak, stilled... And then nodded. "and you might say no."

Lestrade took his hand, feeling odd, almost silly. A fantastical ritual end to a horrific day. Holmes's handshake was strong and warm and dry and thank God neither of them felt the need to play knucklecracking games.

They held it for a moment then parted.

Holmes dropped his gaze for a moment as if thinking, then came to a decision. He met Lestrade's eyes, said "Good night Inspector" and turned to go. Lestrade watched him as he left, seeing the posh bastard return in the few paces it took to reach the door. The arrogant walk, the umbrella gathered from beside the door and swung as he left.

Mycroft Holmes went out into the London night air. To his car, his bodyguard, his web of influence and intrigue, and away from the man he was almost sure he didn't want.

Lestrade sat back on the sofa, the tension slowly draining out of him.

"Might as well drink the bloody whiskey" he thought. And did. The whole damn bottle

Part Six: Substitute.

=======================

Author's Note:

This all started because I read this story  by[livejournal.com profile] gloria1 .  I really enjoyed the beginning and the end (and the writing generally, especially her descriptions of Mycroft) but in the middle I thought Mycroft and Lestrade had got together way too easily.  It was almost as though Lestrade had jumped into bed with Mycroft because there was nothing on telly that night.

So I wondered... what did I think would happen when they first met, and what path would the relationship take?

It rather surprised me to be honest.
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