There were few men in England that worried Mycroft Holmes.
But one of the few had dropped a flippant note in a pink envelope (bastard would never let that one go) saying quite simply:
Hope you still enjoy bakery, Crofty. I'm dropping by for a chat tomorrow at 3pm. See you then. C.
Cedric Williams didn't have to sign his letters.
Then again, even the envelope gave it away.
And the worst part is that Mycroft knew that Cedric had made it personal like that to put the fear of God in the man.
His stomach went a little tight.
Seeing his old partner-in-crime was never good.
Once there was a time they would have walked into a Police station and paid bail for each other, snuck into top secret bases and had a picnic or (much) worse but Mycroft had long cut those ties.
It had been a long time from Boys school where they met to his early parliamentary years when he realised Cedric wasn't the man he thought he was (or, worse, was the man he always feared he could be).
Now whenever he appeared it only meant trouble.
He had his estate tidied and made sure everything was spotless, the gardens well-kept, and the guards wary.
He wore his favourite grey suit with a light blue shirt and dark blue tie.
He sat and he waited and he had all his staff in that day, (more witnesses, more protection and general show of power and wealth) and one of the maid's (whom was blushing) let the man into the room. Mycroft slowly (obviously begrudgingly) stood to meet him.
"Mister Williams Sir."
Mycroft nodded and the man walked in, giving a backwards glance at the maid with a rogueish smile that sent the woman flushing and smiling inanely from the room.
Cedric turned back to Mycroft, hands in trouser pockets.
He was good-looking, in an odd way.
His head was a pleasing shape, square (lined) forehead, and an equally strong jaw.
His eyes were sharp, sparkling and a dark green that poets would love to monologue over.
Thin pink lips set in an annoying wry smirk, and verging on the perverse.
However, his nose was a touch snub and his features simply didn't seem to belong on the same face, though he still looked like he was leering/plotting your demise.
Cedric clearly bore the signs of age. Laugh and stress lines, crow's feet, saggy, blemished skin and a middle-age paunch. But that didn't mean he still couldn't annoyingly be very slim and fill out his suit well indeed, even at his age. How disappointing
"Mycroft." Cedric spoke first, his voice was always strong and authoritative in public but now he used his "friends only" voice
.a falsetto, soft, camp voice that was infinitely annoying at times.
"Cedric." Mycroft practically growled back. "Do sit."
Cedric sat in his dramatic, flouncy way and copied Mycroft's crossed leg.
Their tones were polite, but it didn't take a person with half a brain to see the simmering anger under the simulacrums they projected. Mycroft with his oil-on-water expressions that appeared and then simply slid away again, Cedric's was like a slideshow, one solid expression to another, like he had set ways for his face to be.
"No thank you. I just ate."
Mycroft gave a hum of acknowledgement and turned his ice-stare upon the man who wasn't the least bit perturbed by it.
"Oh come now Crofty, aren't you a least bit in awe of how I have managed to stay out of your reach?"
"If I wanted that you know you couldn't stop me."
"I know, but we both know you'd never do that, too many good memories and too much trouble. From what I've heard you still publically defend my choice to retire as I did-"
"In the end I think you made the correct choice." Mycroft rested his head on his hand, leaning on the armrest. Cedric laid his arms over the armrests.
"How lovely of you, I am sure."
"So why have you come to visit me. Not to catch up on old times, I hope."
"Nothing so thorny, Holmes. I simply need you to sign something."
"Sign something?" Mycroft's brow furrowed slightly. "What, exactly?"
"It's about the warehouse."
Mycroft's hands were together in his lap and he stopped moving entirely.
.twenty-second of May in-"
"I remember." Mycroft said curtly.
"Good. Then you know you owe me Holmes."
Mycroft's jaw tightened and he forced it to relax.
"I don't believe I owe you anything."
Cedric paused and narrowed his eyes.
"You still believe you're right."
"I know I am right Cedric, but after many years I have come to terms with what you have done and understand it. You are no less of a man since I parted from you, and I am ignoring anything you have done since then to be able to be in the same room as you. You were a good man."
"Very sweet of you Crofty but that still leaves me with the problem of needing your signature
"Tell me what it is for first." Mycroft tipped his head slightly.
Cedric's turn for the jaw clench and pause for thought.
"A shipment to Basra."
"No." Mycroft stated.
"You don't even know what it is-"
"I know your reputation Cedric. You know I would never agree so go ahead and do what you do best." Mycroft jutted his chin.
"I have some pictures left."
"Could have been photoshopped, minimal damage, we both know I've done worse."
"Mr Douglas could be found and told to talk."
"You don't think I have been monitoring him?"
"I know you have
"Worst case scenario we'd go to court. I'd win. "
Mycroft pursed his lips.
..you'd never sway her."
"Have you spoken to her lately Holmes? She's very bitter
"Yes Mycroft?" A cheeky grin that made the anger swell in Mycroft.
"You know you don't want to start this
..we've been avoiding this since graduation."
"No, you have Holmes. I told you we needed to talk-"
"And we did, many times."
"No, you weren't listening to me-"
He stopped abruptly as Mycroft threw back his head and gave three short, deep laughs before staring at him again.
"No, you simply expected me to fall in line as usual. I am not that boy anymore Cedric, and I am not cooperating with you."
Cedric stared at him for a long time and then stood.
Mycroft stood also.
"Well, pleasure speaking to Mycroft."
"You too Cedric."
He nodded and turned and took naught but three paces before Mycroft made a decision.
"If you come near this house, myself, or any of my associates, friends, family, or any-one to do with me in fact, they will never find your body you irredeemable cunt."
Cedric looked shocked, then angry and stormed from the room.
Mycroft stared after the man who had once been his best friend and then slowly, in a controlled manner, sat.
The maid wandered in, worried and nervous.
"Is everything alright sir?" God her voice was annoyingly breathy and high-pitch.
"Yes thank you. Do fetch an Earl Grey with lemon."
"Yes sir." She gave a small dip of the head and scurried out to gossip with the other staff before forgetting about his tea and rushing through with it.
"Thank you." Mycroft stared at the cup with the slice of lemon bobbing unceremoniously in it and watched the young woman leave before rubbing his face.
The tea was half-drunk and Mycroft made many calls that night.