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Summary: Lestrade takes care of Mycroft, whether he wants it or not
Rating: G
Type: Quiet and fluffy
Word Count: 2500

This is definitely a sequel to A Reliable Man, but I think it stands alone and you don't need to read Reliable to read this.  Just a little slice of life as two men get more comfortable with each other.

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Lestrade was a bit iffy about turning up to Mycroft Holmes's place.

He had to admit he enjoyed the luxury of the living spaces, especially the bathroom which had blown his little mind the first time he'd seen it. A massive shower cubicle with 6 shower heads each individually controllable. A large bathtub - the swimming pool he'd called it in his head - big enough for a man taller than Mycroft to lie in without anything above water but his head and still have plenty of room around him. With spa jets. (Lestrade had indeed thought of what two willing men could do in that bathtub but the chance hadn't come up yet.) Plus the underfloor heating, the heated towel rails with their crop of big properly absorbent towels, the warm dry cupboards to hang any clothes in...

(Then there was the apparently endless supply of hot water. Lestrade, who had had to replace his small hot water system last year with one equally inadequate, was in lust with it. Such are the secrets of the home owner.)

A man could get used to this, and he was trying very hard to do so.

But he still felt rather out of place, as though there was a sign saying "Yokels keep out" on the Kensington High Street. As though someone was going to feel his collar as he went up the steps and give him in charge as an obvious trespasser.

There were certainly times he didn't want to be here. When his shower was good enough, his elderly but worn-into-the-right shape couch was good enough, his video collection and TV was good enough, even his kitchen was good enough. When he just wanted to come home, unwind, not have to think about someone else.

And he knew Mycroft had his days of wanting to be alone too. After all, both of them had been alone for a long time, this fitting in with another was more work than the romance novels (All he could find at the station bookseller for a trip to Manchester, he swears it!) tell you.

But as their schedules had finally coincided he was due to be at Mycroft's today. So he'd used his key in the front door (given to him that night at his flat, fond of symbolism Mycroft Holmes), ignored the posh front rooms, and wandered into the kitchen.

No Mycroft.

Leaving his coat on a hook and his bag by the door he went Holmes-hunting.

No Mycroft.

Ah well, late for some reason, that wouldn't be unusual. No phone call saying "don't come" so he settled in to wait, keeping one eye on the monitor for the front door camera.

He'd just about finished the sports pages (how he hated all the post season bullshit) when movement on the screen caught his eye as the black car pulled up and Mycroft Holmes emerged. Lestrade looked again... something was not right. Not right at all.

He shouldn't have been able to make it through the hall and nearly to the door before Mycroft got up the steps, there was definitely something wrong. Watching the way he moved, the tiny wince as the right foot pushed off, he was fairly sure he knew what it was.

He waited until they were in the kitchen, marking the change from formality to friendship before he spoke.

"So how come you've been on your feet all day? Car break down?"

Mycroft gave him one of those looks. Level three 'none-of-your-concern' which was alright because it wasn't until level five that you had to worry about rendition to Egypt.

"Six years on the beat remember? I know sore feet when I see them. And those " pointing at the expensive but thin soled Italian shoes "are not designed for a day on the hoof."

"I have spent more time than... I am used to... walking and standing, it is true. However, there is no difficulty."

Lestrade snorted. "Like hell there isn't. Come on, let's have a look."

A small part of his mind shivered as he sat on the floor at Mycroft Holmes's feet, but it was only the ghost of a memory. He banished the feeling as he carefully eased shoes and socks off and examined the feet within.

"What happened to get them in this state?" he asked with surprise as he looked at the reddened abraded skin and the newly formed blister on the right heel.

"The Permanent Undersecretary has decided to try to streamline meetings by holding them standing up. However he apparently feels that his dignity requires that he has a seat."

There was a short silence as they both considered what method of assassination would be most enjoyable. Lestrade was a simple man, and so beating the Permanent Undersecretary to death with the nearest blunt object would do him. Mycroft's solution was more elaborate involving a spiked chair, a red hot floor and Prime Minister's Question Time on endless repeat.

"Add to that the renovations at both Parliament House and my office building on the Strand which means the lifts in both buildings were out of order, and as it is near budget time I had to attend a number of meetings, I found myself on my feet much more than I am perhaps used to."

Lestrade ran his hand over the feet in question, and could see it was so. He knew from his own beat days, both as a raw constable breaking in his boots and crying at night from the pain and as a Senior helping poor bloody probationers through the same hell, just what Mycroft was going through. And how it would be worse tomorrow if something wasn't done tonight.

"Stay there, don't move." he said and headed for the downstairs bathroom. (The normal everyday one. If marble basins and a double shower stall were normal.)


He had no idea how Mycroft managed to get all his taps to produce hot water pretty well instantly - probably had them scared they'd be posted to the Falklands - but they did, so filling a bowl with suitably warm water and snaffling a cloth and a towel and the first aid kit from the cupboard he was back before Mycroft could get his shoes back on and vanish. He knew he'd thought about it, but it was a measure of his tiredness that he was willing to sit here with his bare feet in plain view.

Lestrade settled down and took hold of the left foot, running his hands gently over it feeling for the warmest part and checking for abrasions and the beginning of blisters. He then took the warm wet cloth and began to wash the foot, gently running it over heel and sole and instep, cleaning between the toes, wiping sweat and soreness away.

He carefully dried that foot, looking up as he did so to see Mycroft watching him, the shoulders still tense, the face unreadable. This might be a dreadful mistake... It might be he should have left Mycroft to recover by himself, but he was committed now.

Wrapping that foot in a towel, and leaving it resting on his thigh, he turned his attention to the other one, being very careful of the forming blister. When he was done he put some Aloe Vera cream on the blister and covered it with a plaster, being as light fingered as someone with his size hands could be.

He dried that foot, feeling the tension in it. Right, onto the next part. He just held the foot in both hands, warming it, getting Mycroft used to the feel. Moistening his hands with some of the cream he began the massage proper. Circular strokes with his thumbs on the sole. Long motions of his fingers along the sides and top. Gently rotating his knuckles into the ball of the foot and then once more the long strokes from toe to ankle, thumb along the arch with slowly increasing pressure.

While he did this, he kept glancing at Mycroft's face. With each long stroke he saw that face relax a little more, the shoulders relax a little more, the spine slowly lose some tension. As the iron control softened he was sure he saw a bone deep tiredness, the kind that makes it impossible to relax.

He wrapped that foot, and repeated the exercise on the other.

Then he ran hand up one calf, gently kneading the muscle, feeling how tight it was. "Lots of stairs? Meaning your legs started hurting?"

The lack of answer was answer enough.

He snaffled the shoes as he stood up, holding them casually out of reach as though it wasn't deliberate, and said "You've got some slippers or something upstairs? Shouldn't put any stress on that heel tonight. Take the weight off them and do something relaxing before dinner."

Lestrade had no idea if Mycroft Holmes was used to wandering around in his bare feet, but he seemed willing enough to climb the stairs in them, probably thankful they didn't hurt quite as much now.

He placed the shoes on the floor by the bed, toed off his own, and eyed the tense, tired, closed off man in front of him. "Right" he said, forestalling whatever it was Mycroft was about to say "the next step requires you to get undressed."

That got a response alright!

"Inspector! I don't think that..."

Lestrade jutted his chin forward and gave him a full on 'don't-you-bloody-dare' look, putting all his feelings into it, and apparently got through. This was at home, in the bedroom for God's sake, he wasn't having it.

A sigh and "Very well. Gregory. I am not.. I am tired. I do not think I am.. able..."

Lestrade came closer and laid his hand on Mycroft's shoulder. "Trust me?" he said. And waited.

It seemed a very long time before he got the nod, he was more and more worried that he was heading in the wrong direction. Perhaps the best would have been to make his excuses and leave the man to recover on his own as he was used to doing? But no... He had said he wanted someone to look after him. This was exactly what Lestrade would have wanted someone to do for him those first few nights of pain and exhaustion... And couldn't hurt to give Mycroft ideas! ("If you want someone to exhibit behavior, model it" the voice of his psych lecturer floated back to him over the years.)

He went into the bathroom for supplies, came out again to find, as he'd half expected, Mycroft still standing, still dressed. Control issues, surprise surprise! He laid the towels out on the bed, dragging it out a little as he wondered what the hell to do now. How long to wait before he'd have to get out of here with his tail between his legs? Having totally misunderstood everything? What the hell did Holmes..no Mycroft, don't make that mistake, think this bloody relationship was about?

It seemed an age before Mycroft removed his pocket watch, placing it precisely on the table.

Coat and waistcoat, each one hung up carefully, trousers folded and hung, shirt and vest , finally he stepped out of his underpants and stalked back to the bed, calm, aloof, in control.

Only Mycroft, Lestrade decided, could pull off the whole Posh Bastard act while stark naked.

He surveyed the long lean body stretched out on the towels, but not for long. He had a job to do, and anything else would have to wait. Especially given the signals Mycroft was putting out, why did he have to be so damn tricky?

Lestrade knew he was pretty average as a masseur, but he also knew that for most people that didn't matter, so with luck it wouldn't matter here.

He laid a towel over Mycroft from hips to calves and one from knees to ankles, warmed some oil in his hands, and got to work.

He knew Mycroft Holmes to be a rather one-sided lover: happy to please his partner while reluctant to lose control, to abandon himself to sensation. But at the same time Lestrade could feel him soaking up the attention, the touch, and gradually unwinding, learning to enjoy the sensations and the letting go. He had a taste for the dramatic, all those offices each one different, the business with cameras John had told him about, the black car, the waiting in Lestrade's flat... So perhaps in time he'd learn to be more open, more adventurous, more abandoned.

Well he would if Lestrade had anything to do with it!

He worked the long muscles of the back, more to get Mycroft used to the idea than anything else, feeling for the tension to slacken just a little As it did, he moved up to the shoulders, softly, gently, knowing they'd be bar tight. Shoulders and neck and down the back again, getting to know the way this man was put together.

He put his thumbs into it, hunting knots, up then down, up then down, losing himself to the rhythm.

He removed the lower towels, placing them across the warmed, loosened back, and started work o the legs. They were what he was here for after all! With luck the massage and some stretching later would take the edge off the stiffness tomorrow.

It was awkward to do this on a bed, clambering over and around, but he managed it, keeping the strokes long and even, using thumbs and forearms, focusing completely on his work. The long legs with their light dusting of hair, different from his own more solid ones. Everything about Mycroft was pale and lean and fined down. 

He eased off the pressure, feeling tension slowly bleeding away. Back to the torso now, long strokes from neck to hips, over the gentle swell of the buttocks and along the legs, then replacing the lower towel and smoothing his strokes as he watched the breathing even out, the arms soften, felt the last of the tension slowly drain.

It had been hard work, his hands and arms were tired and his back would let him know about the awkward positions later. But as he looked at the Mycroft Holmes shaped puddle on the bed, relaxed and zoned out, almost asleep, he reckoned it was worth it.

The aloof arrogance was gone from the dozing man's face, leaving no trace. It wasn't Mr Holmes anymore, it was his Myc, the man he only ever saw in moments like these, when they were safe and hidden from the world.

It was Gregory Lestrade's mission in life to see more of Myc and less of Mr Mycroft Holmes, one evening at a time.

Besides, he thought as he arranged the duvet over Myc then lay down still fully clothed beside him, when Myc woke up he'd probably want a shower and Lestrade was looking forward to christening that bathroom.


  
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