Author: truemizzie PM
Sherlock returns, with one last enemy to conquer. Now, if only he could allow himself to be helped - or at least touched. Reunion-fic.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Adventure/Friendship - Sherlock H. & John W. - Chapters: 7 - Words: 21,229 - Reviews: 25 - Favs: 32 - Follows: 56 - Updated: 05-29-12 - Published: 04-03-12 - id: 7984639
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Author's Notes: Welcome to my new story! I've written a bunch of one-shots about Sherlock's return, but this on-going one has been floating around my mind for ages...and here it is! Hope you like it.
Mycroft sat alone by the fireside, mindlessly flipping through the next day's newspaper. There was nothing special about that night. The news was dull, as it often was, and he had done a good enough job that week to safely say the world's affairs were well in order. The tea next to his cozy seat had gotten cold since he sat down, his hands too busy with the biscuits next to him to bother taking a sip. Realizing that a warm cuppa would be the perfect thing to wash them down, he stood, picked up his teacup and started for the kitchen. It was Sunday, so the maid had the night off, and Mycroft was more than happy to make the journey for himself. Sometimes he wondered why he had hired a maid in the first place, if her only real task was bringing him treats.
Yes, it was a dull night. Sherlock would have complained, Mycroft thought, at the lack of adventurous criminals out in the world. At least it wasn't raining. How Sherlock had hated the rain...
Mycroft was just reaching for the kettle when the knock came. Three knocks. He had a spark of familiarity, but pushed it to the back of his mind. Probably just some desperate children selling cookies for whatever religious group they were partaking in. Then again, it was rude to let them knock twice, when it was so obvious that he was home.
Mycroft's fingers finished their journey to the kettle, turned it on, and he made his way to the front door. He looked through the peep hole. It was a man. His head was bent, and he had his hood up. Hooligans. Mycroft had the pressure urge to call Lestrade, as he often did when fowl sorts came to the door. Of course, whoever this was, he definitely wasn't carrying a gun, that much was clear from his gait. So, Mycroft turned his door handle and greeted the youth.
"If you're looking for money-" he started, and then his lips froze as the stranger lifted his gaze.
"You have exactly five seconds to decide whether or not you've gone mad," Sherlock said callously. His face was thin, his cheekbones leaving the rest of it looking dangerously hollow. He had shaved his head recently, but the hair had started growing back. Perhaps for a month? Mycroft looked down at his legs. Sherlock kept his feet apart, with one slightly in front of the other, as though he was having trouble remaining upright. His clothes were old, worn, but his shoes...yes, he had taken care of his shoes, Mycroft could tell, but they were still ragged. He'd spent too much time running in them, perhaps? As Mycroft pondered Sherlock's runners, the younger brother started to tap his foot impatiently.
"Of course," Mycroft decided, moving to the side and raising an arm to invite Sherlock inside. Sherlock stepped through the threshold as swiftly as he did warily, stopping a few feet away from Mycroft and folding his arms pitifully. He nodded his thanks. "Is there anything I can get you?" Mycroft asked cordially, as if this was just a regular house guest. Sherlock shook his head wordlessly. "Come," Mycroft ordered him gently, leading the way to the living room. "Sit."
Sherlock eyed the couch Mycroft had indicated before complying. Mycroft left him there as he ventured to the laundry room. The shock of his brother's return had worn off quickly. Not that Mycroft had been expecting it...to him, Sherlock had absolutely died three years earlier. He'd left behind only legends of his brilliance, and a few select friends that had since moved on. Yet there he was in Mycroft's sitting room, dressed in rags. Running. Who was he running from? Mycroft opened the central drawer of a corner shelf and pulled out a few select items of clothing. He brought them back to the living room and placed them folded on the couch next to Sherlock before reseating himself where he'd been all night, now facing his brother.
Sherlock placed a hand on the clean clothes, stroked them, and then returned the hand to his lap. He folded his fingers together securely. "Thank you," he said, "But I've no need for pyjamas."
"Well, you're more than welcome to sleep in what you're wearing, but I thought perhaps they'd be a little more comfortable."
"I won't be staying the night."
Mycroft sighed. It was just like Sherlock: to refuse his assistance. "And where will you be going, then?" Sherlock shrugged, garnering another sigh from Mycroft, who stood. "Let me get you some food."
"That won't be necessary."
"When was the last time you ate?" Mycroft didn't need to ask. It was obvious looking at Sherlock that he'd gone hungry for the past day and a half, but placing any food in front of him would only beget wastefulness. "Tea?" Mycroft offered instead. He wasn't met with refusal, so he made his way back to the kitchen. The kettle was still hot enough for two cups of tea, which Mycroft made and brought back out to share with his brother. After placing his own saucer down on the coffee table, he held the other out to Sherlock. Sherlock unclasped his hands and took the tea in both of them. Hot liquid spilled over the sides of the teacup as Sherlock brought the saucer to his lap. He cleared his throat uncomfortably as some tea splashed onto his knee. Mycroft tried not to draw attention to his staring as he took a seat.
Sherlock moved his tea from his lap to the table, and carefully took hold of the cup in both of his hands, bringing it to his mouth. He blew on it for a few minutes before drowning the cup in one go.
"More?" Mycroft offered.
Sherlock shook his head. "No, thank you." How polite he'd become.
But Mycroft wasn't in the mood for triviality. "There's something you need."
Finally, a nod. "I require a favour...an item I believe to be in your possession."
"Something in particular?"
"My old mobile."
Mycroft raised an eyebrow. "It is of use to you?"
"There's a list on it, a list of Moriarty's peers, and some clients. I'd been working on it for some time. I thought I'd committed it to memory, but..." Sherlock didn't finish his sentence. His right hand had ventured to his left forearm. He started pushing his sleeve upward, scratching the skin underneath mindlessly. Mycroft watched the motion with pursed lips. It didn't take Sherlock long to notice. "You are in no position to judge me, brother," he said, tugging his sleeve back over his wrist.
"I wasn't, I assure you." Mycroft took in some more tea before continuing. "I have your mobile upstairs. You could tell me why it is of necessity to you?"
"No, I could not."
"Then perhaps I could offer you more assistance in carrying out whatever task you've been embarking on these past years?"
"No, you could not."
"Sherlock," Mycroft droned, the way he had back when Sherlock was – oh yes, right. He was alive now. "How many have you already incapacitated?"
"How many what?"
"Of Moriarty's network. I expect that's what's revealed on the list."
"You searched my phone?"
"Yes," Sherlock admitted. "There are a few left, I believe, but only one of much concern to me. The others should help lead me to him."
"So, that's why you've come home. To pick up your mobile and run away again." It wasn't a question. "Any particular reason why you left in the first place?"
Sherlock frowned. "It was necessary, in order to protect certain subjects, that I be believed...how shall I put this?"
"You shan't. It still grieves me to hear the word."
"Well then, take comfort in the fact that it is no longer applicable."
"I am." Mycroft allowed himself a small smile of solidarity. Sherlock re-clasped his hands carefully, trying to subdue their shivering. "Well, since you've been gone so long, I expect you'll be wanting to hear all about what you've missed. We'll start with John, shall we? Oh yes, he has done quite well for himsel-"
"-I'd prefer to remain ignorant, if it's all the same to you, Mycroft," Sherlock requested.
"But aren't you curious? After all, you don't want to show up at his doorstep totally unaware of his new-"
"It is really not necessary."
Mycroft took a deep breath. "Sherlock-" It felt so wonderful to be saying that name again, "-there are things you really must know."
"No, there aren't. I don't intend to take part in any more reunions. It is pertinent that I remain...focused."
Mycroft was surprised. "You'll be continuing alone?"
"It is the best way."
"If you won't accept my help, I must insist that you at least-"
"-He is to have no part in this, do you understand?" Suddenly, Sherlock was sturdy, and Mycroft knew that prodding would have little effect on his decision.
"Fine," he agreed, reluctantly. "And no one is to know, I presume?"
"Not a soul." Sherlock looked low, as though he regretted his previous snapping. "If you could retrieve the mobile now?"
"In a hurry, are we?"
"You could say that."
Mycroft sighed, well-aware that Sherlock had nowhere else to be, unless he was intending to begin his search that very night. Unlikely – he needed sleep, and even Sherlock wasn't dim enough to forgo rest when he was barely functioning without it. Looking at the bags under his brother's eyes, though, Mycroft took back the assumption. He stood and went up the stairs to his bedroom, taking Sherlock's phone from his bedside table, where he left it. Sometimes, before bed, he would observe the object. It was overly sentimental, he knew, but he could not help the comfort it gave him on lonely Autumn nights like that one. He took it back to the sitting room.
"Thank you," Sherlock said, accepting the item in a way that preventing his fingers from touching his brother's. Mycroft couldn't believe how different he seemed.
"Is there anything else I can do for you?"
"There is one matter," Sherlock admitted. "Take this down." Obediently, Mycroft collected a pen and paper. "There is a girl, in America. Los Angeles, when I left her, but her records will likely be kept in New York City. Hahnie Locks. If you could see your way to send her some money, from my previous funds."
"She is of importance to you?" Mycroft asked wondrously.
"I'm not so far changed, do contain yourself," Sherlock warned, rolling his eyes. "But she proved herself to be quite...useful to me, on many occasions."
"I'll see to it that she's taken care of."
"Good," Sherlock said, as though he was fighting the urge to thank Mycroft again. He stood, and Mycroft followed him to the door, all the while wanting to drag him back to the couch. Sherlock already had his hand on the doorknob when Mycroft begged:
"Stay the night. Please."
"That would be unwise."
"Then at least let me give you something. Money, clothes...some food, for Christ's sake."
"Mycroft." Sherlock's eyes were glaring at the floor, and his stance was still unsteady, but his voice was sound.
"Sherlock..." Mycroft started, the words he had rehearsed in his mind a thousand times over somehow escaping him at that precise moment. "I am...so sorry..." He gazed at Sherlock desperately, years of guilt forming their way into inarticulate phrases in his mind.
"Mycroft." Sherlock looked up generously, and spoke slowly. "I lost the energy to hate you a long time ago."
Mycroft realized that, of anything his brother could have said, that was by far the most worrying.
He took a wary step towards Sherlock, and even though he was met with tightly closing eyes, he wrapped his arms around the frail man and tried to hug him.
Sherlock, of course, pulled away, but in a fashion unlike any Mycroft had expected. Not only did Sherlock shrink from the embrace, he completely spazzed, crying out and falling backwards against the still-closed door. He slid down the wood until he was pressed up against it, his knees cradled over his chest, which was heaving. He looked utterly terrified.
"Sherlock..." Mycroft started, reaching toward him.
"Don't touch me!" Sherlock hissed, but he didn't mean it cruelly.
"Sherlock, what is wrong with you?"
"I'm sorry...I'm..." Sherlock lifted himself up and leaned against the door as he turned the doorknob behind him. He opened it and escaped in one smooth motion. Mycroft thought he could hear him whispering a brief farewell as he ran from the estate.
Mycroft let him run, as much as he wished to chase after the fleeing man. It was clear to him, though, that Sherlock wasn't about to let himself be touched. Not yet.