Mark Gatiss, photograph by Piers Alladyce
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When Evan opened his mouth to speak, Mycroft cut him off, again reiterating,
“I know Richard.”
“Ok?” It took a moment, which probably seemed like an eternity to Mycroft, for Evan to catch on. “Oh! Ok. Right and so that knowledge, combined with the deduction that I know Richard. Right.” A smile grew on the journalist’s face which catch his boyfriend off guard. He chuckled slight, “Right well, that was inevitable I suppose. D’you think we should have a codeword in case it happens again the future?” He wrapped an arm on top of the safety belt and snugged up to Mycroft, “I wonder what Richard thought of all that. I’ll have to ask him when we get back.” He laughed again, mood immediately brighter.
“You can’t ASK him, that was mortifying!” Mycroft sighed. “The look on his face when he realized we’re a couple, I just-”
He glanced at Evan.
“You want a safeword for when we’re interacting with old hookups?” his voice was incredulous.
Evan’s laughter returned, “Not really but I wanted to see your face when you heard me suggest it. And clearly he didn’t have too much of a look since I didn’t twig to it. Christ on a cracker; the gay scene shrinks daily though doesn’t it?”
“You can’t begin to imagine how hard it’s been to remain both active and discreet. My standards are high and the pool is small,” Mycroft replied. “It gets almost incestuous. Gay men, of an appropriate age, who aren’t looking for commitment, with a posh background, who understand and appreciate privacy and keeping a low profile…I can think of three, off the top of my head, and we all hate one another after far too many “interludes”.”
“And,” Evan drew out the ‘n’, “I don’t fit in any of those categories.” His voice held no strong malice or questioning though, he only stated the facts as he saw them presented. “Well I suppose I’m an appropriate age.”
“Well, I’m not looking for casual sex with you, am I?”
A content smile settled onto Evan’s face, “You’re not,” he agreed.
“That’s right. I’m not. I’m not allowed to bring hookups on the plane, Anthea gets upset.”
Well, you’re all for sharing today, aren’t you. Ah, well. He seems open to it. This might be good for us.
Evan snorted into Mycroft’s shoulder, “Anthea gets upset,” another snort, “You’re afraid of your own secretary!”
“I’m not afraid of her! I’m in charge!” Mycroft insisted. “Why are you laughing, it’s not funny. She’s an influential woman with a sharp tongue, I’d like to see you cross her.”
“Oh I wouldn’t dare,” the reporter said with false solemnity. “But then again, I’d also never have hired her.” He kissed his boyfriends cheek with a loud smack, “You know what I’ve just realised though? I’d say we’ve officially ticked off the ‘something awkward will eventually happen’ box for the trip.”
“Admittedly sooner than expected. I was thinking more along the lines of sunburns and jellyfish stings, but I suppose I’m glad to have it out of the way.”
He tilted his head to kiss Evan’s temple.
“Here’s to smooth sailing.”
Entering the hotel had approached a near orgasmic experience for Evan, who tried his best to keep his gaping to a minimum even though he was sure Mycroft could tell anyway. “I’m guessing you upgraded quite a bit then?” he teased, stowing his bag and moving to the bathroom to splash the grime of travel off his face.
Emerging from the marbled room wiping his face with a pristine white towel he joked, “Or is this all part of a not-so-elaborate plan to keep me from dragging you to the beach?”
“Absolutely, you’ve caught me. The bath has jacuzzi jets, do you feel like staying indoors?” Mycroft grinned, flopping down onto the crisp bed linens. “God, this is so much better than Munich…”
He rolled over to inhale the scent of the bedding, his face pressing into the stack of pillows.
Alright, clear your head. You’re officially off duty. Time to focus on nothing.
“Munich? A story I want to hear?” Evan climbed directly on top of Mycroft, knees on either side of the politician’s hips and leant down to nip at his neck.
The taller man turned his head so that his voice wasn’t muffled by goosefeathers and cloth.
“Sherlock and I spent nearly a month in Munich in the most sordid, ghastly, pathetic hotel…I’m nearly positive that at some point someone died in our room. To be fair, Mogilev was worse, but we weren’t there anywhere near as long.”
“I can’t picture you in anything less than, well, this,” the writer shifted his weight to gesture to their suite.
Mycroft rolled his shoulders back, adjusting to the pressure of Evan’s body against his own.
“Can you rub beneath my right shoulder blade?”
“Of course luv, like this?”
Mycroft closed his eyes, relaxing as Evan found the source of his tension and began to work it out.
“Yes, just like that, thank you.”
Mycroft considered Evan’s comment about his high-standard of living and chuckled a bit.
“I was definitely sour the whole way along. I gave him a very hard time about it. I sported a permanent pout from Madrid to Moscow.”
“Then we should be glad your face didn’t stick like that,” teased Evan. “Speaking of your face,” he sat up, raising his bum and lifting himself onto his knees so he wasn’t resting on Mycroft at all, “Flip so I can see it? I promise to give you a full rub down tonight.”
“But I’m comfortable,” Mycroft whined even as he rolled, well aware that his efforts would be rewarded with a kiss.
“Always,” sure enough Evan once again stretched himself out on top of his boyfriend, this time connecting his lips to Mycroft’s for a languid kiss.
“You two know each other? What a small world.”
Mycroft held out his hand automatically, although every inch of him screamed that he should be running in the opposite direction.
Oh fuck, oh hell. This is not going to end well. Time to go, time to go.
He jerked his head, “Evan, I hate to break up a reunion, but we should probably head for the lounge, we’re off soon.”
“Oh, already!? Fantastic!”
Maybe he just gets stressed out when he flies?
“It’s been great seeing you,” Evan and Richard shook hands before coming together for a brief hug, “We should catch up sometime in the near future. It’s been too long.”
“It really has, that’s perfect,” Richard turned to Mycroft, “I’d make the same offer to you but I never found you to be the catching up type,” he offered an easy smile.
“That’s true, you’ve probably learned everything I have to share based on this conversation anyways,” he breathed out, “You look fit, hope the family’s well, take care, and enjoy your flight. Good day.”
Almost in the clear. Let’s gooo.
He looked expectantly at Evan, but the damage was done. He’d begun to process the interaction, thinking over the subtleties, breaking them down and analyzing them.
“You studied together?”
“Yeah,” Evan answered still slightly confused but genial, “We had the great fortune of having opposite strengths and weaknesses. I helped him with his grammar he helped me with— oh wait that’s right I didn’t have any weaknesses.”
“Like hell you didn’t,” joked Richard, “He was utter shite at anything that wasn’t fiction when we started out. And look at you now, Mr. Professional Journalist.”
“I see.” Mycroft’s throat felt tight again. “Interesting.”
Richard caught on to Mycroft’s tone and blanched a bit as he realised that Mycroft had realised his (most base) connection to both men. “In a ‘those good ol’ glory days’ sort of way, it is.” he agreed. “But you said you needed to go and I don’t want t’be responsible for you missing your flight.”
“Geez you’re right.” Evan went in for a goodbye hug before recognizing that they’d already had one. He smiled ruefully as he moved to walk away with his partner, “I’ll call you. Safe flight!”
“Yes, yes, goodbye- and, good, we’re on our way,” Mycroft pulled at Evan’s arm until they were both walking at an even pace in the opposite direction.
“Always nice to see old friends, yes?”
There’s no way he picked up on the fact that you know Richard…Intimately. He was wrapped up in their conversation. It’s all fine. You’re fine.
“It is,” Evan had no idea what had prompted Mycroft’s slightly scattered demeanor, “Weren’t you anxious to leave though. Getting excited about the beach maybe?”
“I get antsy when I’m on a schedule,” Mycroft answered.
No, I was imagining your mouth around his-
The Englishman cleared his throat.
“Anyways. Lounge is just up to the left, and I’m sure we’ll be good to go in a tick.”
“You get antsy on a schedule? Mycroft you live on a schedule. I don’t think you could function without one. What’s up?”
“Perhaps I’m perpetually antsy and you’re only just realizing it. Proximity opens eyes, doesn’t it?”
“Bullshit,” Evan leveled his boyfriend with a look, “Just because the sun’s usually gone down by the time we get together doesn’t mean I’m blind. Or an idiot.” The journalist grasped at straws, now completely confused as to why Mycroft had reacted in such a bizarre manner, “Is Richard some sort of blacklisted persona non-grata? Secretly smuggling information to the Soviets or- the Chinese at this point I guess.”
“Are you serious? Richard is lovely, you know that,” his partner countered. “Besides, if he were, I couldn’t tell you.”
Evan blinked. Mycroft had just admitted that someone that was neither family nor royalty was ‘lovely.’ Haltingly he began,“I do know that. I’m glad you do to. But I don’t know why you wanted to leave so badly. I-” he paused still scrambling to figure out what had triggered the civil servant’s inconsistent behavior.
He’s not really jealous. Not like when ex’s have come up in the past. Although yes, a little bit like that. Ok so we see jealousy and… something else. Jumpy? A bit yeah.
Oh shit. Shit, shit, shit, shit, buggering shit. He’s deduce the sex.
Oh fucking hell Lance why are you dating a genius again?
“So did you figure it out right away?”
“Figure what out, love?”
The pair stopped the conversation as they were called to board. Following Mycroft’s lead Evan tried to keep his cool as he both wanted to be impressed by the private plane but also tried to keep his temper under control at his perception of Mycroft’s irrational jealousy.
But once they were settled again, seatbelts buckled in, Evan picked the thread back up. “Coy’s only cute on you in the bedroom. How long did it take for you to figure out that I’ve had sex with Richard? It must have been right away because you wanted to leave from the moment you walked up. Which I know you’re smart and all but I really don’t see how you could have pegged us that quickly.” He blew out a frustrated breath as the plane began to taxi.
“I should have pegged you that quickly, but it wasn’t until I stopped to really consider that you’d
known one another at Uni that I realized. We’d already said goodbye once, I almost missed it,” Mycroft admitted, settling into his seat.
“Then why the urgency to get away so quick?”
“Seemed like a poor time for a reunion, is all. It’s a real shame you don’t smoke…Do you want anything to drink?” Mycroft questioned, situating himself as the plane prepared for takeoff.
Evan blew a large breath out of his nose, “It’s a quarter to ten luv, I’d rather not start this early.” Clearly Mycroft wasn’t going to elaborate.
This is not going to ruin the vacation. Let him have his little strop over Richard, it’s not as if he was waiting around for Mr. Right before we met. You’ve done nothing wrong and shouldn’t apologize.
Nodding to himself, Evan squirmed a bit before finally raising the armrest between them and leaning on his boyfriend, “I think I’ll just sleep.”
“You’re grossly over-thinking this, you know. The problem isn’t you.”
He could tell Evan was getting grumpy. This wasn’t how he wanted things to go.
“I know Richard.”
When Evan opened his mouth to speak, Mycroft cut him off, again reiterating,
“I know Richard.”
Yes this is what Mycrofts mind palace looks like
Three days of sun and beach and boyfriend. Evan was ecstatic. Much like a child he’d had trouble sleeping the night before they left and was out of bed with enough time for two leisurely cups of tea and three last minute outfit changes before the car pulled up. Locking his front door with a bright smile Evan left his bags on the curb for the driver and slide into the back seat where he found Mycroft buried in his mobile.
“Are you going to have to work much?”
“No, no, this is me wrapping up my last few loose ends, and the phone is going away,” Mycroft answered, leaning over to kiss the corner of Evan’s mouth. “Look at you, you’re practically glowing. Excited?”
The reporter stretched out as the car began to move, “Incredibly. I love vacation. Love it. What about you?”
“I’ll be more-so once we arrive. Experience has taught me that travel plans can easily go awry,” the bureaucrat answered, switching his phone to silent. “But, to be fair, I haven’t really been on vacation since Sherlock and I toured Europe last year, so I’m ready.”
“You and your brother tour…” Evan paused and did a bit of mental maths, “Wasn’t he dead a year ago?”
“Dead, touring Europe, what’s the difference, really?”
“Ummmm…” the reporter didn’t have a response to that, “Yeah I guess.” Silence fell as he tried to wrap his head around such a sentiment. After a bit Evan picked the thread of the conversation up again, “So have you been to Majorca before?”
Mycroft paused at length, before shaking his head.
“I can’t say I have, no. Like I’ve told you, I tend to avoid beaches. Two-thirds of my luggage is sun screen.”
“Oh!” Evan sat up, “I bought you a thing! Oh,” he slumped back a bit, “it’s in the boot. Remind me to give it to you when we get to the hotel.”
“So other than your sensitive skin is there anything else I should know about ‘vacation Mycroft?’” quizzed Evan, the reporter in him always eager to find out more about his partner. “I tend to sleep on planes, which is good because I didn’t sleep well last night. And I love to eat out. And sleep in. And generally do nothing. I’m not a big explorer on vacation. Is that alright with you?”
“Sleeping, eating, and having a lot of sex are my priorities. Not necessarily in that order, but I’m really not picky. Throw in a bottomless supply of cocktails and I’ll be happy as a clam.”
“Will you write a column detailing your misadventures?”
“That sounds perfect. But come on? Misadventures? I hope none of our adventures go amiss! And no I’ve- and you had better give me some praise for this because I’m notorious-” he added quickly as an aside, “I’ve actually written two columns this week so that I don’t have to write on deadline while we’re away.” The reporter looked unabashedly proud of himself for such a feat, an expression only mostly ridiculous on a middle aged man hopped up on caffeine and headed to an early morning flight.
“Love, when it’s you and I, things never go exactly as planned,” Mycroft replied, smirking as he recalled some of their more outlandish adventures in dating. “And two columns in one go, well done!”
He patted Evan’s knee in acknowledgement of his lover’s enthusiasm and settled back into his seat.
“I’m sure things will be lovely regardless, but life always has a way of throwing a curveball.”
There was little to do at the airport save make their way to a business lounge. Naturally Mycroft had chartered a plane and they were on their own schedule, hindered only by ground control. Even so, Mycroft expected to be in the air within a half an hour of their arrival at Heathrow, which left barely enough time to settle down and wait. So, naturally, he’d lose Evan in the crowd.
Where have you run off to?
He stood on his tip-toes, searching the throng of people for his boyfriend. When he spotted the reporter he found him engrossed in conversation with another man, chatting expressively about who knows what.
I can’t take you anywhere, always making friends…Evan, you really struggle with this “minimize contact with people” concept, don’t you.
He approached the pair, intent on dragging his boyfriend to the lounge if necessary. But as he got closer, he realized there was something oddly familiar about Evan’s conversation partner.
“…and so Madge bunged an entire pot of tea at him. Can you imagine? Eighty-nine and she just threw the entire pot like it was nothing.” Evan and his conversation partner Richard both shook with suppressed laughter as they tried to keep their voices down in the crowded terminal.
“I can’t believe that old badger is still alive,” commented Richard. Incredibly posh looking, his suit fit to perfection and his hair was coiffed as if he had his own personal hair stylist on staff. One of those men that screamed James Bond-esque confidence, he stood close to Evan with one hand on the journalists shoulder for support.
“Oh Lord I know, but— Mycroft!” Evan interrupted the conversation to turn to his boyfriend. The politician wore an odd expression on his face that Evan couldn’t decipher.
Surely he can’t be upset I’m speaking to a friend from uni in a public airport terminal?!
But it doesn’t look like jealousy?
“Richard this is Mycroft, Mycroft this is Richard. We went to uni together. Used to get up to all sorts of hijinks.”
“Ah, yes. Good. Hello, Richard-” the politician replied, throat tight. “It’s…Good to see you again.”