- Dark Themes
- Alternate Universe
“Apparently, my whole department placed bets on what my spirit animal would be when I came online and Jude says that all of them feel daft for not realizing I’d have a bear.” They set the room up so the only sofa already had Guide Huntington perched on it like Lady Catherine de Bourgh, while everything else was either decorative tables or chairs meant for one. Greg didn’t bother propping himself on the arm of Mycroft’s chair, but he thought about it. “Jude said I’ve got a nice, long fuse, but when it’s lost, it’s well and truly lost.”
“I believe evisceration was the analogy she used, dear.”
“Evisceration. Ta for that.” Both Huntingtons and Lowry just stared at Greg like they weren’t expecting him to be the one to swan in and start spouting off nonsense, but Greg was in a bit of a mood.
“I just wanted all of us to be on the same page. Jude wasn’t wrong about me and we’re getting’ bloody close to the point where I lose my temper.”
“And should we be afraid of that Inspector?” Lowry sounded like one of the department shrinks, like she was asking Greg about the weather and had no judgment on his answer.
Greg, however, he had all kinds of judgment about the question. He leaned forward and braced his forearms on his knees. “Mycroft is the one who belongs to this community. He’s the one who gives a shit about your reputation, and playing nice, and long-term consequences. I’m the one who got treated like shit up until yesterday evening, and even then, only got treated well because you were worried Bjorn might be hungry. You haven’t given me a single damn reason to want your opinion, but you keep dragging me here to foist it off on me.”
Guide Huntington raised her hand to stop Lowry before she gave Greg more reason to walk out. “We handled yesterday poorly, Inspector, all of us. Alpha Lowry allowed her prejudices to get in the way of properly assisting you, my Sentinel and I allowed our surprise to override our concern for your wellbeing, and you allowed your discomfort with the situation to goad you into responses you would not have otherwise given.” Greg know if it was nice that they thought he was naturally behaved.
“My intention is for all of us to take a breath and do better today. I intend for us to focus on the situation actually before us instead of our own prejudices or wounded feelings.” The ‘wounded feelings’ was at Greg, and he was beginning to think they didn’t take that bit about him losing his temper seriously.
But Greg was used to being the damn grownup, so he said, “That’s sounds like a good idea, ma’am.”
“Excellent. Now, let me ask you what I ought to have asked you yesterday in the first place, Gregory: how are you feeling?”
Don’t think that Greg didn’t notice that while Guide Huntington had apologized, Guide Lowry had kept her mouth shut and so puckered that Greg might have thought she was trying to hide a lemon. “I’m frustrated.”
“Other than people banging on the front door at 7:00 a.m. when I got to bed late last night?”
“Is that your only source of frustration?”
“No, but it’s the pertinent one here.”
“Please, Gregory. I cannot assist you properly if you do not share all the specifics.”
“I shared some of the specifics yesterday and it made your poor Sentinel uncomfortable.” Guide Huntington furrowed in confusion. Greg just sighed, but he wasn’t the one who kept plowing on despite polite refusals. “Bjorn and Xenia were shits last night and refused to leave the damn bedroom, so I haven’t had sex in two weeks. Then security woke me up because there were people outside the front door.”
“Must you?” Sentinel Huntington sighed.
“Leave him be, dear. Gregory presents himself as the sort of eastender the objectors took him for so their criticisms will hurt less.”
“I appreciate your confidence in me, ma’am, but that’s more effort than I’d go to for you people.”
“We’re your people now, Guide.” Lowry’s ‘tell me about your childhood’ voice wasn’t as good as it was earlier.
“No, mate, my people are who they’ve always been.”
“So—” Guide Huntington interrupted. “You are frustrated by the high level of our continued involvement in your affairs and would appreciate it if things could return to normal?”
Normal meant sneaking about and being terrible at it, so not really. “Sure.”
“Of course, you realize that this ‘normal’ will be vastly different than your original? I am sure you have noticed that there are no Guides in your department?”
“I have paid enough attention for that.” Bjorn nudged him with a paw.
“That is not due to the Met’s hiring policies. Instead, a Guide’s empathetic abilities tend to be overwhelmed when dealing with the dead and their families. For all that I am sure you would like to return to work, there is a very real possibility that you will find your prior employment intolerable.”
“Also,” Lowry added, “when you are bonded, that will be a new experience for both Sentinel Holmes and yourself. Often, Sentinels find themselves unable to work in an environment away from their bonded Guide.”
“Mycroft has managed just fine up until now.”
“Even if he is able to be guided by the numerous Guides already on his staff, bonding will place you first in the hierarchy. For simple matters he should still be able to be guided by the others, but given the high stress of Sentinel Holmes’ job, it would be reckless to have you too far away from him at any given point on the chance he is subjected to overwhelming stress on his senses.”
Guide Huntington was better at the conciliatory voice, and if Greg were a different man he would be just as upset as they expected him to be over losing his job and being nothing but an attachment to modulate Mycroft’s senses. (And the bit about ‘numerous’ Guides. That was as nice touch.) As it was, Greg laughed.
“You people do know that I work with Sherlock on a regular basis, right?”
“Sherlock? Consulting detective, recovered addict, master manipulator? If you want to talk me out of bonding with Mycroft, you’re going to have to pick something better than work to get me to listen.”
“You adore your job, Inspector.” Huntington said like Greg didn’t know how he felt about his own damn job.
“I like putting bad guys behind bars. Do you think Mycroft can’t find a way for me to do that while I’m sitting behind a desk within spitting distance of him?”
“I don’t imagine you’d enjoy it.”
“Eh, good sex makes up for a world of problems.”
“I’m going to start lodging my own objections to sex talk.” Bjorn grumbled. It was difficult to take him seriously. Like his human, Bjorn was the demonstrative one compared to Xenia. She’d appeared on the sturdy arm of Mycroft’s chair above where Bjorn was sprawled on the floor like a living rug. But that was too far for Bjorn, and he’d sat up, clamped his jaws on the chair and shook until Xenia hopped to his back and settled there while Bjorn resumed rug position.
“I’d be in a much better mood if you two hadn’t been such shits.”
“If we hadn’t bothered you out of sex, you and Mycroft would’ve bonded. If you’d bonded, right now these interlopers would have you and Mycroft in different rooms while they debated blocking your bond or bringing in a Shaman to snap it entirely.”
Not a single person flinched outside, but every damn one of them flinched inside. Greg ran shaking fingertips over Bjorn’s fur. “Now, why would they be doing that?” If Greg didn’t know better, he’d say his own voice had gone deeper and there was more than a bit of the bear in him.
“They think you’re under his spell.”
“So, we’ve come back to them thinking I don’t have enough brains in my head to know when I’m being played?”
“It is not a matter of brains, Inspector.” Guide Huntington kept her eyes on Greg. “I have seen your professional record and it is exemplary. Were you trying to bond with anyone other than Mycroft Holmes I would be overjoyed to have you join our community and that you have found your match so quickly, and as part of an already established relationship. Yours is usually the kind of situation that stores are written about.”
“But not for a Holmes.” She paused. “Ah, not for a Mycroft. You were thrilled when Sherlock bonded with John. I remember they had to come into the Centre for verification. Jude had me withhold a murder from Sherlock until their bond was certified as healthy. Sherlock complained at me for two weeks about all the fussing and John said he thought it was sweet they were so happy for him. And John could tell that happy is what it was, not just interference for its own sake.”
“And can you tell what we’re feeling now, Lestrade?”
Mycroft’s emotions felt the way his stomach did when he’d had too much cheese, which Greg thought was the equivalent of nerves. He got nothing so clear from the people in front of him and didn’t really give a damn.
Lowry sighed. “You need more training, Greg. Bonding is a monumental decision and you don’t have enough experience as a Guide to know what you’re agreeing to.”
“Not two minutes ago you said this was exactly the kind of thing you’d hope for.”
“You don’t know enough about Holmes to know what you’d be agreeing to.”
“You never know anybody perfectly. You choose to spend your life with them on faith, not certainty.”
“You don’t know enough about being a Guide to Holmes to know what you’d be agreeing to. You know Holmes as a man and believe you’d be content with him. That’s not the same thing as knowing him as a Sentinel. You can’t even read our psionic profiles and we’re in the same room with you. If you can’t do that with Holmes, you don’t really know him at all.”
“I don’t need to read your psionic profiles to understand you.”
“Deduction skills taught to you by a Holmes will not work with you against them.”
“Taught to me by Sherlock? Were you not here for the bit of this conversation where Guide Huntington tried to suck up by calling me a good copper?”
“This isn’t the same thing.”
“No, this is the easy part. I don’t have to hunt for proof that I can present in a court of law, I just have to look you in the eye and know that you bloody well hate Mycroft so much that he could do every damn thing you require and every Guide sense you have could say that he’d changed completely from who you think he is, but you’d still never forgive him. If this were a case, I’d have you down in my notes as an ‘unreliable witness due to overwhelming bias.’”
“And me?” Guide Huntington asked.
“You’re trying, bless you, you’re trying. It’s not going well because Mycroft scares you, and because he scares you, he scares your Sentinel, and you’re not calming one another down.”
“He doesn’t scare me.” Sentinel Huntington puffed up.
“Everybody’s a bit scared of what’s different.”
“Does that mean Holmes is scared of me?” Sentinel Huntington tried to sound like it was a lark.
“You’re not different to him at all.” Greg tried to keep his voice kind, but Huntington rolled his eyes. “Every man who likes men has had a bloke look at him like they just can’t understand it.”
“There are far more male Sentinels and Guides than females.”
“That’s bonding. You can understand why anyone would do anything for bonding. But sex with a man for fun? You can’t wrap your head around it. Add to that Mycroft working at a desk for the government instead of doing something you consider more in line with a Sentinel’s skill set, and he doesn’t make a lick of sense to you. That’s not helped by whatever makes your Guide so twitchy because you’re not a man accustomed to being scared.”
“You’re very good.” Guide Huntington sounded like she didn’t know how she felt about that.
“I told you: people are the easy part of solving a crime.”
Huntington looked to Mycroft, who answered the unasked question. “He has always been an excellent reader of people, to Sherlock’s great irritation. But it has always been hypotheses before, ‘let’s look into’s’ and ‘why don’t we tries’. Since he’s come online, he’s been certain.”
“There was much to be certain of over the course of a morning?” Lowry scoffed.
“Regarding what we conversed over in the very early morning, yes, there was much. He also relied on his intuition with my staff to a much greater degree than he ever has before.”
“You gave my cook a hug and a kiss.”
“She was happy for us.”
“That was not something she said out loud, Gregory.”
“She didn’t have to. She was beaming big as anything.”
“No, Gregory. She took great pains to keep her smile no more exuberant that it usually is when you are present for breakfast.”
“There were enough Guides in the house to know that we hadn’t bonded. No one wanted to react too strenuously and make you feel anything other than content.”
“That was sweet of them.”
“They are terribly fond of you.”
“They are, aren’t they?”
Greg’s bright smile dimmed when Mycroft stretched out his hand across the jut too far to be comfortable gap and Greg took it. “You were certain of their affection this morning. Usually you are kind to them, but hold yourself back as though you’re being humored. You treated them as friends today.”
“Might have something to do with us being official.”
“But you don’t think so.”
“I’m sure it played a minor role, but it would have played a much more significant one had we completed our bond.”
“Don’t sell the bear’s skin before it’s killed.”
“I would like to examine the Inspector to verify that this is the shape his gifts are taking. It is a very narrow skill set.” Lowry interrupted.
Mycroft explained. “There are two likelihoods. One, that the standard array of Guide skills will develop over time. Or two, that Gregory’s talents are of such a specified variety that they would not have developed into ‘gifts’ were it not for Gregory’s reliance on them in the presence and service of an Alpha pair.”
“You’re going to blame Sherlock for bringing him online?”
“I blame no one but nature, which is such a fickle thing.”
“You cannot be serious. Huntington, this is exactly what I told you would–”
“Despite our inability to locate them this morning,” Guide Huntington interrupted,
“Sentinel Holmes and Guide Watson have arrived to offer their opinions on the matter. They are the most familiar with Inspector Lestrade before, during, and after his transition.”
“Sherlock isn’t going to disagree with Holmes.”
“He’d disagree just to be a shit unless he thought his brother was verifiably right.” Lowry glared at Greg. “Sherlock doesn’t like being proven wrong, not even to be a shit.”
Of course, that was the moment Sherlock came swanning into the room and declared that he was never wrong. That was shite, but John had picked up the phone that morning when Mycroft called to say they were getting dragged in, so Greg let it slide. John sat down on the coffee table and ignored the Holmes boys spatting with the Centre representatives while he took Greg by the hands to run the same scan he’d done several times yesterday. “What’s the verdict, doc? Do I feel as good to you as I do to me?”
“You’ve always been an even-keeled fellow, so I’m not surprised that you’ve taken so well to being online, but I still haven’t the foggiest how you feel like you’ve been online for years, not a day.”
“Ta, for that. That means we can be on our way then.”
“Inspector—” Somewhere along the way Huntington had decided that she’d earned the right to sound long-suffering.
“You said that you wanted to know how I was doing. You did that. Then you wanted an objective check that I’m doing well, and John said I am. We’ve had a right efficient morning, now why don’t we all get back to our lives?”
“You can’t, Greg.” Lowry snapped. “Your regular life is irrevocably changed.”
“Maybe so. But a person doesn’t deal with irrevocable change by running from it. Maybe I won’t go in the field as much, or maybe I won’t interview the victims’ families, or maybe I’ll be a kept man on Mycroft’s dime, or maybe I’ll join Sherlock and John so their clients can have someone nice to talk to.”
“I’m nice.” Poor John sounded like he believed it.
“Not even a little bit, mate. But what comes next and what I decide to do about it hasn’t a thing to do with you.”
“We are responsible for you.”
“I am a grown man and responsible for my own bloody self.”
“Under normal circumstances—” Huntington tried to interject.
“Under any circumstances!”
“You don’t know what he’s done!” Lowry shouted, and Greg didn’t need to be a Guide to feel the room shift. “Mycroft Holmes is a murderer and an abomination. You are willful, and difficult, but you are one of my Guides and I will not let you bind yourself to so wretched a creature as Mycroft Holmes without understanding what you are doing.”
Greg drew a deep breath and put himself in the place he went when grieving parents wanted to know why he didn’t have any answers for them. “I know something happened and I know you hate Croft for it. I know that, whatever it was, it was bad enough Mycroft doesn’t want to talk about it. But he’s promised me he will, and I’m content to wait until he’s ready.”
“Sentinel Holmes may wait.” Alpha Huntington declared with an odd ringing to her voice. “But he cannot bond until Gregory Lestrade is fully informed to my satisfaction.”
“What was that?”
“She made it an Order.” John croaked.
“Like compelling someone to be calm, but binding because of her rank. If you and Mycroft bond before he’s done what she Ordered, he’s subject to whatever she deems just for the violation.”
Greg’s, “What the fuck?” overlapped with Mycroft’s, “You overreach your authority.”
“I have Ordered twice before in my time as Alpha Prime. Both were to protect a Guide from an abusive Sentinel. I believe this situation is in perfect compliance with the standard I have set.” Greg had to stroke both Mycroft and Bjorn, torn between which one felt more furious.
“You may tell Gregory in whatever private circumstances you deem best and at whatever point you are ready. But before you bond, I will speak with Inspector Lestrade and question him until I am certain that he is fully informed and still offers his full and free consent to a bond.”
“How about someone tell me now and you get the bloody hell out of our lives.”
“No.” Greg snapped at her and turned to Mycroft. “I’m sorry to push, love, but every day we’re not bound is another day they can stick their noses in our business and I don’t want to give them the excuse. Just watch, even after you’ve told me and she’d quizzed the hell out of me, they’ll say that’s not good enough, I’ll need more time to think. They’re going to do this over and over again until one of us snaps. I’d rather be done with it here and now.”
At that moment, Greg understood what it must be like for government agents to sit across from Mycroft and have no bloody idea what was going on in that brilliant brain. But Greg knew with the kind of clarity that he hadn’t even had this morning that Mycroft was trying desperately hard to believe things weren’t about to end.
“You know how I’m going to react, love. Let’s be done with it.” Greg couldn’t quite put Mycroft’s feeling into words, but it was like that instant you felt like you were falling when you were flat in bed. Only, Mycroft didn’t drop, he stood up on sure feet and nodded to Greg like he meant it.
Greg cut off Lowry’s opening mouth. “I didn’t bloody ask you. Sherlock, tell me what happened.”
“Because I asked.”
John and Sherlock weren’t reach out and touch one another’s hand sort of fellows, but whatever it was Sherlock saw in John’s face was comfort enough. “We had a sister.”
The whole room braced like they were expecting Greg to demand something in confusion. Instead, he asked, “Was she like you two?”
“Worse. Or better, depending on your interpretation.”
“Eurus was a gift to our people. She was a Shaman.” Lowry Spat.
“She was a murderer.” Sherlock clapped back
“She was a child.” Bjorn’s voice cut off the argument.
“Eurus came online at four, which is statistically so rare that I could list every child in written memory who has done so. Eurus was beautiful, and charming, and rare, and a Guide, so they all fussed over her.”
“She was special.”
“You spoiled her.”
“She came out wrong.”
“You, of all people, to accuse another person of being made wrong—”
“Yes, me, who of all people would know better than you what it is to be made wrong and find a way not to run mad with it.”
“What were failings inherent in Eurus and what were the flaws of a child we will never know.” Mycroft did the interrupting that time, and don’t think Greg didn’t notice that Bjorn’s paw had made his way to Mycroft’s foot.
“I was five, Mycroft was thirteen and cleverer than Huntington even then.”
“Sherlock.” Mycroft sighed.
“Fine. Eurus was a tiny, powerful Guide who wanted me for her Sentinel.”
The room braced again. “Is this another thing I thought I knew and I don’t?”
“No, you recall correctly.” Mycroft said. “Siblings should not bond, not even platonically.”
“The Centre and Council were sure she would grow out of it, but the little Alpha Prime needed to be fussed over.”
“That’s understandable.” Greg tried to soothe them all, but Sherlock wouldn’t have it.
“Mycroft warned them. He told them over and over that Eurus wouldn’t grow out of it. She had to be taught out of it or she would want more and more, but they didn’t listen. Instead, they sent Mycroft away because they thought he was making the little Prime uncomfortable and she was more important than her brother.”
“She was too young to understand that Mycroft wasn’t competition.” Lowry objected.
“No,” Mycroft said, “she knew that I could see through her.”
“She was four.”
“I remember being four. I remember how dull I found every other living thing.”
“Eurus was charming.”
“Yes, she was.” Mycroft sounded like that was exactly the point. Greg had been on the other side of a Holmes when they wanted something and knew they were smart enough to pull your strings and get it.
“She was charming and so you didn’t see. She hated Mycroft because he was the only person who warned you that she was dangerous and you all thought he was nothing but a mundane, jealous older brother because he was too good to be charming.”
“She was a child.” Lowry snapped.
“She killed Victor!”
“What?” They finally got the surprise from Greg they had been looking for.
“Uncle Rudy, the only adult who ever listened to us, suggested that the best way to deal with Eurus’ possessiveness was to give us friends who weren’t one another. Victor was a boy down the lane who didn’t think I was odd. We played a never-ending game of pirates around the lake. Then one day, I went inside to steal more biscuits, and when I came back, he was gone. I was inconsolable when they couldn’t find him, so my parents called Mycroft to soothe me. Instead, Mycroft came home immediately. Everyone told him there must have been an accident and they were searching everywhere to find the missing boy. But not one of those Sentinels asked why they couldn’t smell Victor.”
“Bloody hell. Eurus was…”
“Every Sentinel and Guide has some particular talent. Eurus could make her will someone else’s. Even at four years old.”
“She was making them ignore the boy.”
Sherlock swallowed, and Mycroft finished for them. “Until I walked straight to Victor’s corpse.”
“Still, they called it an accident. Eurus didn’t mean to keep them away, and she didn’t mean to will my only friend into a well to drown.”
“Did she admit to it?” Greg asked
“It was a child’s temper tantrum.”
“Eurus complained that I found him too soon. She wanted to see a real skeleton.”
Good, steady John was the one who found a way to break the silence. “More than a bit not good, that.”
“She was a child.” Guide Huntington said. “How much culpability can a four-year-old who has never seen death really have? I understood that something was deeply wrong with both the situation and Eurus, and mistakes were made.”
“You made mistakes.” Sherlock snapped. “You were the ultimate authority on the situation. Were our mundane parents supposed to understand there was something wrong with her?”
“I’m still not convinced there was something wrong with her because I do not believe children are capable of murder. Perhaps Eurus wanted her competition to go away. Perhaps a skeleton was the only way she could conceive of Victor being fun to play with. But she was shipped away before we could offer her proper help or understand her better.”
Mycroft sighed. “This is precisely the conversation Alpha Huntington and I had at the time of the incident. After all this time we’ve gotten no further in our analysis on whether or not a child is capable of the intent necessary to constitute murder. However, the fact that we do know is that Eurus lured another human being to their death because she didn’t want to share Sherlock. Then she got between a house full of Sentinels and their senses to keep them from finding the body.”
“Alpha Huntington also doesn’t like it when we point out that I was so inconsolable that Sentinels were called to search for Trever within an hour of his disappearance. Unless fate was kind, which I very much doubt, Victor was likely still alive when the Sentinels arrived to search for him.”
Like a person couldn’t look away from a car crash, Greg couldn’t stop himself from saying the worst out loud. “Which meant that Eurus probably felt the boy dying and still left him there. Even if she was a kid who’d made a mistake, feeling that would change a person.”
“If that is the case, then what she needed was proper help with the people who loved her. But what she got was an affront to nature.” Lowry said.
This time, they all looked to Mycroft. “After we retrieved the body, Eurus extended her influence again. At the time, I thought that was why no one would listen to me about the threat she posed. They were talking about family therapy, and a live-in conservator, and how what she needed was to be loved through the trauma she had endured. I could smell Victor’s bloated body in the air and I could feel the tendrils of her in Sherlock’s mind making him forget why he ought to be crying over his first friend instead of playing pirates with her, and I… lost control.”
“I was older, with better training. So, despite coming fully online in that instant, I stopped her.”
“Despite the accusations of monstrosity, I did not break Eurus’ connection to the psionic plane. I simply put a net around her so she could not exert her will over anyone else. Most of the Sentinels present came back to themselves almost immediately. More than a few were thrown into a fugue at the sudden removal of her will from theirs, while others had more physical reactions.” Sherlock mimed vomiting. “Some of the Guides were sufficiently horrified by what had come so naturally to Eurus, while others were horrified I could do such a thing to the little Prime and I was not more understanding of her difficulties. Those two belief factions are still very much in effect in the S/G community.”
Sherlock continued where Mycroft left off. “They were torn between protecting the little Guide Prime or listening to the warnings of the spotty Sentinel Prime. Huntington reiterated, despite everything, that Eurus should stay home with supervision from Lowry, who was the head of Centre medical at the time. She insisted the entire family should be there to convince Eurus such murderous behavior was unnecessary. Mycroft ignored them all and took me with him to school. We were gone two days, with Huntington’s people following us around and pleading since no one wanted to just pick up Mycroft and take us home. Eurus decided two days was a bit too long to wait, and she burned down the house to make me come home.” Dramatic bastard that he was, Sherlock let that hang in the air. “That was enough to make the Alpha Prime of Europe step in. He shipped Eurus to a reformatory in the middle of the Australian outback.”
“It took Eurus until age sixteen to convince the Australian Primes that she didn’t need constant care from people specifically trained to deal with her. In the two hours she was left without trained care she killed everyone between her and the ranch’s car. She made it to the airport before the Primes caught up to her and put her down.”
“That you’ll use a euphemism for. They murdered your sister.” Lowry was crying.
“She killed six people to get to the airport.”
“To come home.”
“To get to Sherlock.”
“She was your sibling too.”
“I am fully aware of that.”
“All right!” Greg stopped them. “Is there anything else you think I need to know to consider me fully informed so I can provide consent?”
It wasn’t often that Greg got to shock the Holmes boys, so he appreciated it. They were too busy blinking, trying to figure out what they’d missed so Guide Huntington was the one to speak. “Gregory, Holmes advocated for the murder of a child Guide because he didn’t want to share his brother.”
“That seems like Watson’s worry, not mine. Even if it was, Mycroft was what, twelve?”
“Thirteen. He was somehow both fat and gangly.”
“Don’t worry, ‘Lock, he grew into it. And that seems like a lot of pressure to put on a thirteen-year-old, especially when he was the only person in the conversation who had any idea what it felt like to be that smart. I imagine it was even more difficult since he was coming online at the same time. And knowing Croft, he was probably kicking himself thinking that if he hadn’t been at school, if he’d been with his siblings, a boy wouldn’t have died.
“So go ahead Alphas, explain to me why you think Mycroft is the one I should be upset with here. I don’t understand why you think I should be running away from him. Or did you think that you would tell the story differently than Sherlock and make it worse than it was?”
“I don’t need to make it worse, Gregory.” Alpha Huntington sounded heartbroken that she even had to explain it. “This is why I wanted you to wait. You have not been a Guide long to understand how broken Holmes must be to have turned on any Guide, let alone on a Prime who was his sibling. He ought to have been her greatest defender. He should have been her beloved elder brother and protector. But instead, he convinced the European Prime to be rid of her. What else could she become after being shipped to the other side of the world and left to stew alone and punished forever for a childhood mistake?”
“Aren’t you doing that to him?”
“He wasn’t four.”
“No, but thirteen isn’t much better.”
“When you are given enough time you will understand the full depth of the depravity necessary for Holmes to have done what he did.”
“Maybe my opinion will change, but that’s a problem for another day and not one you get to just wait for while telling us we’re not allowed to bond.”
“These facts are new to you and you don’t—”
“Alpha Huntington,” Greg paused to get himself back under control. “What am I?”
“What is even the Guide part of me built for?”
“For being a Detective Inspector.” John said.
“I’m a Detective Inspector who handles serious sodding crimes. I handle murders and kidnappings that they think are so bloody complicated that another detective wouldn’t be able to manage it. I don’t do robberies, or blackmail. I’m one of five DI’s in the whole damn London Met they trust when someone’s life is in the balance.” None of them seemed to understand what Greg was telling them. “Do you damn, prejudiced arseholes think I’m so incompetent that I didn’t read Sherlock Holmes’ file when he turned up at my crime scene all but confessing to a bloody murder?”
“What does… you knew.” Sherlock breathed.
“Not the specifics that are probably locked away in a S/G-only file someplace, but yeah, I can read a vital statistics sheet as well as anybody. It’s damn public record that there was a third Holmes sibling who died in the middle of nowhere, Australia. I can Google well enough to know that’s one of the places you have the S/G version of reform school.”
“You knew all this while and you let me fret over it?”
“You’re going to fret no matter what I do, Croft. Besides, you were so twitchy about it I thought the big secret was going to be something worse than this.”
“Worse than colluding in the murder of his sister?” Greg was a grown adult, so he didn’t roll his eyes at the Alpha of Great Britain, but he thought about it. “Yup. So, are you sufficiently convinced that I’m well informed enough not to regret this decision in a week?”
“Bjorn,” the poor woman had her Sentinel by the hand and sounded frantic, “you have expressed displeasure over this.”
“My objection was to the dishonesty, not to Mycroft’s actions. Greg doesn’t like being lied to.”
“Truer words, mate.”
“More importantly, your objections are no longer relevant.”
“Your objections are now purely hypothetical.”
“They are bonded.”
“What?” All three Guides narrowed their eyes at Greg and Mycroft and they nearly gasped in time.
With the safety of a soon-to-be-best mate, John half-hopped over Bjorn and took Greg by the hands again. “You weren’t bonded when I scanned you before.”
“No, he wasn’t.” The bear rumbled and Greg recognized the laugh behind the words.
“When?” Lowry croaked.
“When Mycroft trusted Greg enough to not only let him hear about the worst moment of his life, but to let Sherlock do the telling.”
“But they didn’t… there was no meditation, or…”
“Sex. I know, I can’t stomach the thought of them in bed together either.” Bjorn was not properly comforting the poor Alphas at all and he damn well knew it, the bastard.
“Greg isn’t one to put up a fuss. He fell into the bond just as easy as he fell into being online. And there’s nowhere Greg would fall that Mycroft wouldn’t catch him.”