The look on John's face, the broken sound of his voice, stayed with Lestrade, refusing to let him concentrate on anything other than the mess he was in. And, by god, what a mess it was.
Sherlock. Comatose, a mere shell of a man:
Mycroft. His own carefully built walls crumbling before his eyes.
John. Unable to move on. Blind to what was being hidden from him.
Then there was the added complication of one Sebastian Moran, on the lookout for revenge.
All this mixed with the twists and turns of life as a D.I, made Lestrade's head want to explode.
He wished he could tell John. Really, really wanted to - so much that it hurt his heart just thinking about it.
Maybe there was some way to end John's suffering and keep him safe. Protective custody?
No. John would never allow that. He was too independent. But he did want - no, need - to help his friend.
What could he do? It was an impossible situation.
Lestrade looked down at the report he was supposed to be filing, unsurprised to see a blank page staring back at him. He shook his head. This was getting stupid. He had a life outside the Holmes brothers and their troubles. That life was rapidly collapsing, caving in, and he would have to move quickly to stop it burying him. He needed Mycroft.
As it on cue, his phone let out a beep, surprisingly loud within the confines of his office.
From: Mycroft Holmes
We need to talk.
Meet me at Diogenes Club,
Strangers Room in one hour.
Lestrade sat up, surprised. He hasn't expected Mycroft to initiate contact after the fiasco of several nights ago. This man was a mysterious figure shrouded in secrets, with all the grace and arrogance of a government official. He had turned up in Lestrade's life like a storm at sea, tossing everything up into the air. He didn't understand him.
But then again, Mycroft Holmes was not a man to be understood. He was a man to be obeyed. So obey him Lestrade must.
To: Mycroft Holmes
I'll be there.
Lestrade had never been to the Diogenes Club before. He knew of it, knew its reputation. Several of the Yard's more illustrious clients were patrons of the club. He knew Sherlock hated it, but how much of that was to do with his brother spending (from what Lestrade could gather) a large portion of his time there, he did not know. Meeting Mycroft there was a daunting prospect.
But the apprehension, the anxiety he felt, had more to do with who he was meeting than the place.
What kind of reception would be get from Mycroft? What did he want? Dwelling over these questions had little use beyond keying his emotions into confusion, so he tried to stop.
In no time at all; he was stood in front of the imposing building. He knew he was making this into a big deal, when there was no need. But his brain was overruled by his imagination. Mycroft was an important government figure; he had power, power over Lestrade. He wouldn't do anything, would he?
His mind wanderings transferred into real wanderings and he found himself within the building. An impressive structure, the Diogenes catered to the unsociable and reclusive elite. No words were to be spoken in the main halls. However, where Lestrade was heading (he checked the text again) the Strangers Room, the rules were different.
Mycroft paced in ever-decreasing circles round the room. He had no plan, no back-up, no confidence in himself. A tentative knock on the door caught his attention. Startled, he glanced at the clock. He had let an hour pass unnoticed, lost in his thoughts. That was something he never did. Every minute was important in the job Mycroft handled.
"Come in," he called.
Lestrade entered cautiously, his eyes darting from side-to-side like a captured animal.
"Good afternoon, Detective Inspector," Mycroft said, indicating for Lestrade to sit.
"Hello. And, please, call me Greg." He sat down, Mycroft sat opposite him, and the room descended into silence. The awkward kind.
"I'm so sorry for the way I acted the other day..."
"Lestr...Greg. I apologise for the way I left you..."
They both spoke at once, filling the space with confused noise and guilt.
"You first, Mycroft," Greg stated, uncomfortable but never forgetting his manners.
Mycroft sighed. He didn't want to be having this conversation, but it was necessary.
"I...I wanted to apologise for the way I left you with Sherlock. I reacted badly and childishly. I..."
Mycroft's throat closed up. He couldn't say it. It would mean admitting defeat. Greg didn't rush him, just sat patiently. Inside, he was smiling. Mycroft wasn't that cold, arrogant man he made himself out to be. Greg was liking him more and more. He was still worried about him, though he daren't show it.
"I need your help," Mycroft finally relented.
Aahh. So that's why he was acting so stiff. He was scared to admit to needing help. Greg only just held back the urge to give the elder Holmes a hug, feeling it would not be appreciated right now. He settled with a reassuring smile.
"I am more than willing to help. Is it Sherlock?"
"Yes, partly. He needs some serious help, more than you are I can give him. Unfortunately, there are other forces at work here. Moran is still a big threat. He has not been found yet, which in itself is worrying. My job requires my full attention; I can't allocate too much time to finding him. The resources and manpower of the police would be a great help."
Mycroft, having gotten over his initial embarrassment, was in full 'plan' mode.
His enthusiasm alighted on Greg, too, until he was also awash with the passion of the 'plan'.
"I can certainly help with that. Also, I'm worried about John. I went to visit him yesterday. Mycroft, he's in a bad way. Isn't there anything I can do to save him from himself?" He was indeed very worried, as his voice betrayed, shaking slightly.
Mycroft stood, and began pacing once more.
"I don't know." It was easier now, saying that. Greg obviously had a good effect on him. "We need another method, another perspective. Ideas outside the box. I can't think clearly, Greg. I'm too emotionally attached to the case. Sherlock's my brother! And I can't help him."
His repaired mask had patches in, where his mending hadn't been quite good enough. He was about to admonish himself, before reminding himself that it was Greg. He understood. Mycroft didn't need to hide in front of him. He turned to face the D.I, who in turn, looked up at him, the gleam in his eyes clear.
"I know exactly what needs to be done," he stated. "And exactly who we need to call."