Summary: More backstory for the David fics about Mycroft's first marriage. Set in the year that UTA Flight 772 went down.
London, January 1989
One of Mycroft’s early lessons in the Service was the danger when forecasting events. All too easy to predict what you wanted to happen and ignore worst-case scenarios. You had to learn to face less favourable possibilities, have a plan ready for the things you most feared happening.
What he feared was David not returning from Africa. When the year was up, would he really be prepared to come home, he wondered, as he read David’s letters, with their extravagant descriptions of places, and their long accounts of conversations with his houseboy. He found himself looking obsessively at the photos David enclosed of the beautiful black-skinned boys by Lake Chad. Was he secretly comparing their exotic beauty to Mycroft’s pallid body?
No, David wasn’t like that, he would be faithful. But they were growing up, growing apart, even. Despite their marriage, or perhaps because of it. David didn't properly realise yet that life wasn't going to be like his dreams, that love didn't conquer all. Mycroft knew by now, though, that you had to live in the real world, where gay men might be tolerated, but never fully accepted. There was no proper place for him, for them. So what he most feared, finally, was that it wasn't just his own heart that was going to get broken.
N'Djamena, June 1989
David fell in love with places easily. The birch grove at Wakehurst Place, aged six, where he'd naughtily peeled away the papery bark from a trunk to reveal the pale pinkness underneath. The stony hillsides of Attica, aged twelve. And now he was falling for the savannas, and the starry nights, full of sudden harsh noises.
He fell in love with people much more rarely, but he fell hard then. Achilles, when he was eleven and first read Homer in translation. Them Alcibiades and Socrates, of course. And now Mycroft, who was flesh and blood, not just a hero on a page.
He'd enthusiastically dragged Mycroft off to Wakehurst Place and to Greece, but he couldn't imagine Mycroft enjoying this bit of Africa. He'd probably call it 'primitive'. As if that mattered. He wondered if eventually he could talk Mycroft round to coming to Chad, maybe even living here for a while. Though he'd promised that the next post, his first proper posting, would be nearer home. He'd stick to that, of course. It wouldn't kill him to go to Paris, would it?
They had world enough and time, now they were married. Mycroft didn't understand yet how that had changed everything. That it meant that they'd be together forever, proving their enduring love even to the bigots.
*** London, November 1989
Stuart was fun in bed, Lestrade thought, but he could be a pain afterwards. Still, that was barristers for you: never shut up, even when they didn't have any briefs.
"You need to grow up, Greg," Stuart announced. "Twenty-six and still just a constable? If you tried, you could go places."
"Been a lot of interesting places already tonight. You come back over here, maybe we can find some more."
"Can't you be serious for once? I've worked out what you should do. You should apply to the CID."
"Me, a detective? Come off it, Stu, they'd never take me."
"I know you hate exams, but you're bright, observant. I spotted that the first time I cross-examined you."
"Wrecked your case, didn't I?" Lestrade said, smiling.
"And then wrecked me. The point is, you can change your life, if you want to. Like the East Germans."
"You've seen the news, haven't you? They're pulling down the Berlin Wall. You need to pull down the wall in your head that says: Can't go there
"You're just weird. And I'm fine as I am."
"In twenty years time, you'll be a desk sergeant at best. And you'll have lost your looks."
In twenty years time, Lestrade thought, maybe at least I'll have got over my weakness for posh bastards.