Title: Negotiations
Author: Jessie Blackwood
Pairing: Mycroft/Lestrade
Fandoms: Sherlock/Airforce One Is Down
Rating: NC=17
Disclaimer: Sherlock Holmes and John Watson are not my characters, they are public domain. Anything that resembles Sherlock BBC belongs of course to Mr Moffat and Mr Gatiss and is theirs alone. The plot is mine. Any resemblance to anyone living or dead is otherwise purely coincidental.
Note: Inspired by the "negotiations" prompt on LJ, for Rupert Graves' Birthday for the #letswriterupertgraves suggestion. I do apologise for my Serbian, or lack thereof. Blame Google Translate...
Warning: First part in a series
Summary: Mycroft meets a Serbian General face to face, but all is not what it seems. This is rated mature for language and for adult themes.


"On your knees, hands behind your head!" Mycroft complied, precisely because he couldn't do anything else right at that moment. The gun at his head was compelling. He knelt carefully on the cold concrete of the bunker floor and slowly raised his hands up, lacing the fingers together, keeping his eyes lowered. Someone frisked him and disarmed him efficiently. A guard took up a position to the front and a little to the right, his AK47 slung in his relaxed grip. It was, however, in a prime position to bring it to bear and fire if necessary. Mycroft stayed silent and waited, despite his discomfort at being in such a position on the cold hard floor. The knees of his suit trousers were also suffering, but, while he hated acquiring mud on his Saville Row, it was a sacrifice he was willing to make if all went to plan.

He was currently assimilating his observations and underwriting the level of risk in his head, every bit of new information subtly altering his assessment and therefore his plans. He focused on his guard. This was someone who was comfortable with his weapon. A 90% chance then that he knew how to use it; moreover someone who wouldn't hesitate to use it on a soft western spy. Mycroft was certain that the man and probably most of his colleagues were well-trained, motivated and focused, not some rag tag militia garnered from the streets. They were well-equipped, uniformed and looked reasonably well cared for. Not starving then. Not likely to be open to bribes. His guard was also alert, watching him rather than anything else in the room. Mycroft risked a look up. There it was, barely perceptible but...yes, the man had blinked at him, a carefully prepared set of pre-arranged blinks, M A H. His initials. This then was his contact.

The outer door banged. There was a challenge given, an answer received and the door to the bunker opened, allowing a gust of warm air in with it. Mycroft was quick to look down, to make himself compliant, non-threatening. The sound of booted feet reached his ears as several people arrived, filling the small command post with noise and the scent of outdoors.

"Pazi!" Feet stamped as those few who were already present came smartly to attention at the command as another shadow blocked the door. Mycroft couldn't see the man in the doorway, but he registered the reactions of those around him. A flicked glance here and there showed both awe and respect, fear in one case. Interesting. This then was a leader, someone with a reputation. Low voices conversed for a few moments. A deeper voice than the others asked if their troops were in position and received an affirmative. The same voice issued orders in quick decisive terms, sending people scurrying. Obviously someone used to being obeyed. Mycroft risked a glance up and met a pair of dark brown eyes the colour of chocolate staring back at him. Salt and pepper hair cut militarily short crowned a ruggedly handsome face. The firm mouth chose that moment to curve up in a smile. There was no warmth in that smile though. It was the kind of smile to be observed on the face of someone who has seen someone else make a mistake. Mycroft knew it well. It was one of his own. He was also uncomfortably aware that he was the one who had probably just made a colossal miscalculation. He looked away again, eyes front, calculating the probabilities.

"Da li je totaj?" Is this the one?

"Da," came the reply. Yes.

"Dobro." Good.

A pair of boots appeared in his line of sight and stopped. Fingers in his hair forced his head up and he found himself looking into the same pair of eyes, eyes that by rights should be too soft. Right now, though, they were hard as flint. "Idiot!" The east european accent was harsh, guttural. "What kind of fool are they sending us now?" He laughed, an equally harsh sound in the enclosed space and let go Mycroft's hair with a disdainful jerk. "I know. A British fool. You cannot possibly hope to accomplish anything here, špijun. You know what we do with spies? We have a little fun with them. My boys here need target practice." There was silence for a while, as though the man was contemplating him. The boots shifted and then he was squatting down in front of Mycroft, on an eye level with his captive. One finger traced along Mycroft's jawline, then down his throat. Involuntarily, Mycroft swallowed. "Oh yes, you're quite lovely. I hear tell all English spies are fucking queer anyway. I might enjoy you myself first..." He stood, arched his back and stretched, flexing his broad shoulders. "Christ, I'm tired. The flight took forever. You, Lieutenant whatever-your-name-is, go get me some coffee. I can't fucking plan a coup without caffeine." The man chuckled, obviously pleased with his own humour. "Get up," he said, and it took Mycroft a short time to realise he was being addressed. "Get up, come on. I'm cold, I'm tired and I'm horny. What's the matter? You don't want a last fuck before we bury you?" He drew his sidearm and motioned Mycroft to precede him. "Move!" He motioned to two of the guards by the door. "You two, bring him!"

Mycroft rose to his feet with care, straightening his suit and taking time to present himself. "We're not in Whitehall now, get a move on." The two men grabbed an arm each and propelled him out of the door. Charming, Mycroft thought. Well, it won't be the worst thing I've ever experienced, he considered as they marched down the corridor into the bowels of the building. They arrived at a door and the soldier on guard opened it for them, leaning in to flick a light switch on. Mycroft was pushed, none too gently, inside. The two men took up positions to either side of the door. He stumbled forward and stopped in the middle of the room, eyes taking in every detail of these quarters. There was a bed in one corner, a narrow camp bed covered in scratchy blankets but surprisingly clean sheets. The floor was covered with a circular carpet, again surprisingly clean. A big desk was covered in piles of neatly stacked papers, an ancient telephone perched on one corner, a lamp on the other. Clothes were folded in a neat pile on the single bent-wood chair and a khaki great coat hung on the back of the door.

"You know who I am?" the man demanded.

"No. Should I?"

"Some spy you are."

"I could take the time to correct you and tell you that I am not actually a spy but you wouldn't believe me."

"No matter. You're my prisoner, no matter what you are. Have you heard of Boris Uzelac?" Mycroft nodded. Uzelac was a notorious warlord who spent most of his time warring with his fellow generals. It was common knowledge that everybody wanted him dead, his compatriots most of all. "Well, I'm not him." The man burst out laughing at his own wit and clapped Mycroft on the shoulder. "My name is Dragutin. General Arkady Dragutin. You can call me...sir," he grinned again and leaned closer. "So what do they call you, pretty boy?"

"Mike, Mike Holmes."

"Well...Mike...If you perform well, I might just keep you, for a while. The probability that you might see tomorrow's dawn has just risen by about 80%. Not that it was high to begin with but there you go. It all depends on how obedient you can be. Understand this, Mike. I am not kind. Kindness gets you nowhere. I am fair, and I am a good judge of men. I reward hard work, obedience, courage. I punish rebellion, cowardice, laziness. I have no time for egos, for yes-men, or for idiots. I fully expect you to plead, to try to convince me to let you live, to flatter me. None of it will work, I can promise you that. If you piss me off, I shall simply gag you. If you disobey me, I shall punish you. Are we in agreement? You understand me?" Mycroft nodded. "Good." Dragutin leaned out of the door and bawled for his coffee. "Stupid asshole probably forgot."

"Arkady?" Mycroft affected interest. "What does that mean, exactly?"

"It means Bear. Strong, brave."

"It fits."

"I told you, flattery will not do you any good."

"Who said I was flattering you?"

"Oh, funny man." Arkady kept his eyes on his guest as he took the seat behind his desk. "So...here we are then." The dark eyes were riveted on Mycroft, an intense gleam that practically stripped him of his clothes on the spot. Mycroft smiled, bland and thoughtful. Had any of his own people witnessed such a smile they would have recognised it well. It was the smile that he wore just before dropping a bombshell.

"Yes, here we are." Mycroft managed to sound bored. "So, shall we begin?"


"I'm eager to start negotiations, yes."

"Negotiations? I'm not sure I follow."

"Oh, it's quite simple. I'm here to negotiate the terms of your surrender." A guffaw of laughter followed this statement. The brown eyes were incredulous as they gazed back at him, their piercing stare having intensified even further. Mycroft ignored him and checked his watch.

"Tell me, funny man, what are you talking about?" Dragutin's eyes narrowed and he leaned forward menacingly. "You are in no position to talk. In fact I am contemplating exactly what position to put you in. Over my desk is appealing..."

"As pleasant as that might sound, I think you'll find I am in the perfect position to discuss terms." Mycroft looked his kidnapper over. "Right now, there are four RAF Tornado GR4s heading this way. In approximately one minute's time, two of them will fire across your bows, as it were. Warning shots, if you will. Unless I belay the order, the second pair are set to launch two Storm Shadow missiles at this location." Mycroft checked his watch. "You have approximately three minutes. A little less than I anticipated but enough."

"Storm Shadow....? What are you talking about?"

"Oh, I'm sorry, did it lose something in translation?" Mycroft's expression hardened. "Nemoj da ma drkas! Do you understand that? Do not play games, General Dragutin. You are wanted for war crimes dating back decades, you constantly evade our personnel and you are a perenial thorn in my side. You control 80% of this area and you are...a person of interest. You have access to something I need. So, if you grant me freedom and access to what I want, I'll call off the dogs of war." Mycroft glanced at his watch again, then up at Dragutin. "And in five, four, three, two, one..." There was a pregnant pause, during which Dragutin's eyes narrowed in disbelief.

"I think," he said carefully, "your dogs of war have failed to come to heel." Mycroft smiled confidently and the building chose that moment to rock under first one then a second tremor. Alarm klaxons went off, clamouring for attention. The two guards by the door looked worried and glanced at their leader for guidance. "Stay where you are!" Dragutin snapped as booted feet thudded down the corridor and someone banged on the door.

"General," came the shout. "We are under attack! The forward bunker is down, communications have been knocked out..."

"That would be the EM pulse," Mycroft observed, watching his captor's arm lift, gun raised. "I wouldn't," he said softly. "Unless you allow me to call in, in the next minute, you will find this base obliterated by those storm shadows I was talking about. They are locked to my location. It doesn't matter if I am moved, they already have the coordinates. This base is going up in a blaze of glory."

"But you'll die too?"

"Quite possibly. Why? Does that confuse you? It shouldn't..." Mycroft regarded the man in front of him with interest. "Queen and Country, Arkady. Surely you understand, one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. You seek to evict those whom you deem to be less than pure, less than true Serbian. However, your methods are dubious at best. Mine are at least a little more effective. Now, give me your gun, leave this base with me and we can have a nice chat in more civilised surroundings."

The door banged in and took the guards by surprise. Two men, their faces obscured by balaclavas, darted inside and subdued the guards alarmingly quickly and silently. The newcomers promptly took up positions on either side of the door, their AK47s raised and ready as another man, Mycroft's guard from earlier, came inside and closed the door.

"Who the fuck are you? Get out!" Dragutin ordered.

"Dreadfully sorry, Arkady, they're with me. Allow me to introduce Captain Molloy of the SAS and Sergeants Blaine and Burrows. Glad you could make it, Captain."

"Sir," the man saluted and turned his cold gaze on Dragutin.

"I suggest you put down your gun, General," Mycroft suggested. "In future, always supposing there is a future for you, I would suggest vetting your mercenaries more thoroughly before you allow them access to your command bunker. Heaven knows who you might find on your payroll. Now, I'll make that call, shall I?"


They walked out of the bunker, under the noses of the sentries, Dragutin accompanied by Mycroft, flanked by their guards. It looked to anyone else's eyes as if they were taking Mycroft somewhere. Nobody challenged them. Nobody would care to ask the General where he was going.

"Where are we going?" Dragutin asked as they reached the main door.

"Somewhere secure. I don't care about your men, General. I care about you. You are the one with the secrets..." Mycroft spoke into a radio one of the men carried. Rotorblades hammered the air and dust kicked up as the helicopter evac touched down, and the SAS men took up defensive positions and ordered Mycroft and his captive to run for it. The Captain accompanied them, shoving Dragutin forward. Once on the helicopter, it lifted into the air, leaving the two other men on the ground.

"You usually abandon your troops?" Dragutin asked.

"I haven't abandoned them," Mycroft explained. "They have a job to complete, a mission to accomplish. Speaking of which, Captain, you have your orders." Molloy saluted and then spoke to the pilot. Seconds later, twin plumes of fire and smoke blossomed between the trees behind them.

"Bastard!" Dragutin snarled, making a lunge for Mycroft. Molloy shoved him back into his seat. "You said you would call them off! You killed them!" The general glared at Mycroft. "Why? I came with you in good faith!"

"I hate loose ends," Mycroft said simply.


Minutes later, they touched down on the lawn behind a large English manor house set in acres of grounds. Barracks buildings, garages, stables and workshops formed a small village around the main house. They disembarked and the helicopter lifted off again, abandoning them to the well-tended lawns and mellow stone warmed by the westering sun. Mycroft smiled and relaxed his posture somewhat. "Captain, you may stand down. l am suitably impressed by you and your team. My people have also acquitted themselves well, under your guidance."

"Sir. Thank you, sir." Molloy saluted.

"I think we can say the mission was a success. You and your men did very well. Dismissed." The Captain saluted again and headed off across the lawn. Mycroft turned to Dragutin and grinned. "So did you," he said and the man grinned back.

"Well, it was a bit of fun."

"Fun did not enter into it. I take the training of my security staff very seriously."

"So how did they do, do you reckon?"

"As exercises go, it was quite smooth, but then I would expect nothing less. You enjoyed every minute, didn't you?"

"It's not everyday you get to play the part of a swaggering, overbearing, tin-plated dictator with delusions of godhood. My Chief Super usually gets all the fun of that."

"Well, rest assured, Gregory, you played your part admirably. You make a rather attractive Serbian General." Greg Lestrade smiled, thoughtfully.

"Any time. I'm always open to training initiatives. Anything to help National Security. Plus the fact that they're paying me to have fun. How cool is that?"

"I had no idea you could speak Serbian though," Mycroft said.

"I can't. I googled a couple of words and phrases, that's all. The accent was crap to be honest." Greg watched Mycroft smile.

"I did not think it was that bad, and I have heard my fill of east European accents. It lent a certain...credibility to the proceedings."

"Oh, well, that's good then, isn't it? Glad to know I didn't let the side down."

"I owe you a debt of gratitude, actually. It is always a comfort to test my people periodically and It was rather short notice to be gallivanting about the countryside but it was a benefit for the men to have someone they didn't know to play the main role. So, shall we say dinner at eight?"

"As long as you're paying. Defecting Serbian Generals need all the help they can get."

"Of course. And after dinner, you can divulge all those secrets we were talking about."

"Never!" Greg said dramatically. "You'll get nothing from me!"

"Dear me, that sounds as if you're going to be difficult."

"Very. Never let it be said I was a pushover." Greg's grin widened. "Guess you'll have to torture me for them then."

Mycroft leaned in close and his breath ghosted across Greg's ear. "That, my dear detective inspector, can be arranged..."


Next story in series - Negotiations II - Fieldwork is not my milieu.