Not long after the return of an old foe, Mycroft walks into his favorite diner one dreary day in late autumn for a cup of his preferred blend of green chai. But what he found in the stranger next to him was at once, compelling, sorrowful, and worst of all, familiar.

Mycroft/Thor Drama/Family

Takes place Post Thor: The Dark World, and post Sherlock: Season 3, Episode 3, 'His Last Vow', both by a few weeks ~ Right after Christmas.

~M~

All right! It's been about 6 months, so...bout time for another little oneshot from Kungfu Jedi. :)

This little ficlet was born out of a picture on tumblr (of course, and a facebook discussion on the total and absolute plausibility of it, BECAUSE WHYEVER NOT? and "oh dear, please just somebody write it already" and so I did. :P

(If you would like to see the pic, you know the drill- delete spaces/substitute dots: siding with the angels dot tumblr dot com/post/80621291155/sherlockspeare-the-league-of-brothers-who )

Dedicated to Emery Winter Steffan, because she wrote my headcanon ficlet that I've always wanted about Loki and Faramir meeting together in a bar. So Emery, this is for you.

Thank you!

Author's note:

The history that Thor refers to concerning Loki and their younger brother, Balder, belongs to the creative mind of Alydia Rackham, without whose inspiration this story would never be. You can read the whole history in parts, in her Splinters of Stars, LOKI, her Fallen Star universe-chapters 12, 13, & 17 (Though I'd definitely recommend the whole novel- it's well worth it!) and of course snippets here and there in her other works. She wrote it so well, that ever since reading it, I consider the existence and circumstances of Balder's death official movie headcanon. You will too, if you read it. Be warned. It will be like this unseen flashback in your head everytime you watch any of the Thor movies ever again. Really. Just that history would make an AWESOMELY dramatic and perfectly legitimate prequel film.

Thank you for encouraging me to write!

Takes place post Thor: The Dark World, and Post "His Last Vow", so, just in case 3 of you on fanfiction haven't seen those yet, spoilers. ;)

~T~

Non Sum Qualis Eram.

I am not what I used to be.


The chilly December wind ruffled Mycroft's wool coat, and frost bit into his ears, which he twitched in answer. Because of course, British Officials do not shiver.

Though the act was unnecessary, he checked his watch anyway, wishing the time would be considerate for once and move along more quickly. He still had 2 hours before his meeting with the Prime Minister of Sweden. Apparently they were in some sort of multi-national buying team accord with scandinavia and wished to pursue alliances with the northern part of Europe for the first trimester. Though it had been scheduled weeks earlier, it was the last thing on his mind.

Not three days ago, on Christmas Eve, an old foe had revealed himself, in some sort of twisted "holiday present" for the rest of Europe. How anyone could ever find a return of a mass psychotic murderer and capital criminal humorous, he would never know.

And to top it off, besides being on Christmas Eve, Moriarty had returned just when he'd been about to ship his brother off to Spain.

The Nerve.

A heavy, cold piece of twisted lead had been putting pressure on his gut ever since, and he feared he might be developing an infection.

He'd have Anthea make an appointment with his Doctor when he got back.

Maybe his psychiatrist too.

Sherlock shooting Magnussen point blank didn't help matters either.

Why?

Why did his life have to be so complicated?

It was all working out so nicely, too. Magnussen had been safe in anonymity, there when the Government needed him (and when they didn't- frankly, he didn't really give a damn about all the legwork he'd had to do, and his peers didn't seem to mind so much either. So much the better.) Sherlock doing something stupidly brilliant and problematic for everyone involved, on his way out, and out of Mycroft's thinning hair, John safe, once again, and his life relatively normal and then blast it all, Moriarty was back, and it wasn't even Sherlock's fault.

Europe wasn't safe, Sherlock wasn't safe, and John wasn't safe; no one was safe. Not so long as that psychopath had free reign over Europe's criminal underworld (And some of the overworld, to boot.)

Mycroft wanted to hit something.

Except of course, the very act of physically shedding his issues on the nearest wall with his head wasn't really in his genetic array of inclinations, much less his desire, even if he did consider demeaning himself to it once in a while.

Needing the movement to keep his mind off the bitter pressure on his ribcage, he made his way across the street into the diner, hoping a bit of sustenance would relieve the layered stress that had been pressing on his head, on his throat, on his ribs, and if it would just stop, he'd be fine.

Spiced chai latte.

That's what he needed. Maybe a few cups.

Maybe something a bit stronger.

He strode in the verdant, gold-trimmed door, determined to put his active mind to rest for even a few moments. Goodness knew that he didn't need additional data weighing down his mind before his scheduled meeting.

His quick eyes flitted around all the occupants- more by habit than by need for observation, as though his filing mind couldn't resist- and he settled into the red cushioned stool at the counter, suppressing a sigh.

"What may I get for you today, Sir?"

Mycroft gave a tiny smile to the punctual server, polite as always, and waiting for him.

"Spiced chai latte, please. Cream, no sugar."

The brunette barista nodded, smiled and went off to make his drink.

It was quiet today, for the busy little diner was usually full of people. But it seemed no one had the courage to venture out into the cold, drizzling sleet, and besides him, there were only three other people in here.

A young couple in the booth by the window, and the pathetic soul next to him.

Oh well. Misery loved company, or so he supposed.

Though he wouldn't exactly put the word miserable to describe his own state of mind at the moment.

The oblivious man beside him drowning in drink, however, well... he was another story.

Mycroft let his eyes flit over him, neurons gathering information subconsciously, quicker than most people could even speak. By his form and bodily giveaways, Mycroft would have immediately put him in the specialized armed forces. Would have, were it not for his 15 inches and then some of ruggedly mussed blonde hair. That threw him off. Hmm. Perhaps he had been Navy, at one point. Yet, too polished looking for a shipyard, and too course for an obsessed gym hogger.

Northern European, Swiss or Norwegian perhaps, though it was hard to tell if he didn't hear him speak. Calloused hands, a stern bearing that looked like it had seen merrier days. And a faraway look that he couldn't quite place. Blurred lines between past and present...

Ah.

Grieving.

Why else?

For a family member, most certainly. Very recent too.

A parent, perhaps?

Trying to drown the pain away. His eyes drifted briefly to the plentiful number of glass mugs on the counter.

Though clearly, the man was not inebriated.

His eyes were too bright.

And so very, very far away.

Fate binds us to cruel destinies indeed, my friend. I wonder to where you are bound?

The observations coalesced into a single thought, edged in pity. So quiet was his observation, he didn't realize he had spoken aloud until the words were out of his mouth. Which made his surprise only slightly less when the man answered.

"Insanity, prison, and a tragic demise."

The few words opened up a whole new world to Mycroft.

Polished, yet careless accent, and strangely, one that he could not quite place. Foreign, certainly, but apparently educated enough to hide it. And the voice, so full of cynicism and defeat, that it made him cringe inside.

Where did such a bright soul, for that he certainly was- or had been, that was clear enough- dredge up such a careless, horrid emotion?

"And here I thought a good dredge would lighten your troubles, not exacerbate them. For a man whose had more than enough to do so, your vision is still quite poor indeed," he said in all seriousness.

The man half chuckled, half coughed once in acknowledgment, and set his glass down, still not meeting his face.

"I wouldn't expect a better one to come along, no matter how long I sit here, unless you have brought one yourself," he replied half-invitingly.

Mycroft smiled.

"I fear I can be of little service there. Too many irresponsible people running around to take care of."

He didn't know why he thought of Sherlock then. Perhaps just more proof his mind was still not lightened of the load when he needed it.

"At least you can still take care of them," murmured his companion.

Aha.

Some context, finally.

Perhaps a child he had lost instead?

He dismissed the concept after a few seconds. There would be many more drinks if that were the case. Not with so recent a loss. His mind continued brewing, and slowed after a few more minutes.

The barista came with his steaming chai latte, and he took it, warming his chilled hands on the mug. A few more long seconds ticked by, silence interrupted by the low drone of the occasional passing car.

"Mother or father?" he said at last, not knowing why he was continuing the conversation. It was a mother, of course, but for conversations' sake, he let his drinking companion have the honor of presuming slightly less of his deductive prowess.

Not like he had anything else to do for the next 97 minutes.

The blonde head turned, too sharply, but still did not fully look at him. But Mycroft could sense his incredulousness.

"What?"

"Clearly, you are grieving. I was merely wondering to whom you gave the luxury."

The rain droned outside steadily.

The man stared at his glass. And finally spoke.

"Mother," he sighed.

As Mycroft suspected.

He was not, however, expecting the soft addition. Almost an afterthought, as if the words bit even more deeply.

"...and brother."

A fell blow indeed.

He felt a rib twang strangely, the days suddenly closing in around his heart and tightening into a knot somewhere below in his right side.

"They must have held your heart dear indeed, to inspire such nostalgic grief," he remarked, not unkindly.

The whisper came slowly, as if he'd thought too long.

"Aye."

And then, a slow realization began to come over Mycroft.

"You feel guilty."

It wasn't a question.

Amber liquid swirled, round and round.

And when the words came, the sleet pounding against the window could not have been more bitter if it tried.

"Why shouldn't I?"

Mycroft waited.

The voice came quietly- like soft thunder.

"It is the duty of a son, is it not? And of a brother? If I have failed so in that one duty, what is the worthiness in being either?"

Oh my. What a mess.

He really had no idea what to say to such self-deprecating words.

But they had voiced a thought so common to Mycroft's mind in these last several months.

It startled him out of his afternoon reverie, and reality got a bit closer.

He actually sighed this time.

"There is worthiness whenever we strive to fulfill our duty, no matter the end."

"Isn't it the end that matters most?"

Those eyes were so lost, so pained, and so full of shame, that Mycroft didn't dare speak, lest he say the wrong thing.

He still didn't know what exactly to say.

So he opted for the next best thing.

"And surely a bit of guilt is natural, but why be melodramatic about it? You clearly haven't lost your mind; therefore I'm not dragging you to prison unless you have a record, or I falsify one for you. Which is no trouble at all. As for a tragic demise... have a few more there, and I believe you might unwittingly take care of that yourself."

As he had hoped, the slight satire brought a small smile to the man's face. Unfortunately, the levity didn't last.

"It's happened twice already, so why not?" Another drink.

Bent on masochism, are you? Fine then.

"Twice? My. I have a younger brother myself. Perhaps I should fear the same fate."

The blonde eyebrows drew together curiously. And finally, finally, his head turned to face Mycroft, eyes flooding sapphire, penetrating, catching his own.

"How did you know he was younger?"

"I didn't say I did. But clearly he was, then."

His de facto confidante looked back at his glass.

"Yes... they both were."

Both were.

Here was a truly a sorry story to be heard.

"Still, guilt never betters the living, even if the living are dead," he advised.

A scoff.

"Would I were dead as well, less the guilty, and more the deserving of it."

He finished his glass off, and gently set it down on the countertop.

"...but alas, that is never the way of things."

Mycroft frowned.

"None of us are perfect, nor do we always make the right decisions. Our own failures are enough without the constant weight of the failures of others. Do not burden yourself unnecessarily."

As if he could talk, what with burdening himself with his damn pesky national threat of a sibling, let along the rest of the Government's problems.

"True," he answered, "And if I had done as a brother ought, I would not have to bear it now. But I did not. Too late. Always, always too late."

The husky voice cracked quietly, and Mycroft did not wonder about Sherlock at all.

He'd never be too late to save Sherlock. Sometimes it seemed like he would, but he'd always come in time. But that didn't mean he didn't know what it felt like to almost fail.

"You feel guilty for your brother's failures."

It wasn't a question either; but then, Mycroft's statements seldom were.

"That I could not say. Not without first judging myself, which, much to his credit, I have done far more often of late."

The blonde drifted in mind, and drifted in speech, and Mycroft felt he was calling back memories so far he would have gotten lost had he looked too long. And he knew the man was talking more to himself than to him anyways.

"Had I but listened, I would have heard such silent cries, would have seen... But I did not. Not until too late. Not until rash judgement and harsh words take from me all rational action and then even hope."

"Then you should be thankful you still live. The dead have no hope at all. Surely your brother would not fault you for trying.

Glass scraped lightly on the tile. The heavy sigh that followed did nothing to ease Mycroft's spirits. How did one bring relief to such hopelessness?

"It wouldn't be the first brother I've failed."

Mycroft said nothing, but he turned attentively toward his waxing companion, carefully listening.

The empty cup tilted thoughtfully, and he had the most dreadful intuition that the man would start weeping. Just fall apart on the counter and not stop until he'd vanished every ounce of the liquid he'd just consumed.

"Long ago... my anger burned too hot, and judgement came too hastily. My ears were closed where there should have been grace. And when treasonous blood stained my house I was too quick to shed that of those to whom I should have trusted most dearly. Trading life for life where there should have been mercy and understanding. A brother dead, and the other wrongfully locked away and lost. And even after... even after it was over and done with and the truth came out, part of his heart shut me away and I never-" he took a breath. "I should have looked for it. I should have listened, and I should have pleaded for it. But I never did. It was too late to ask forgiveness when he fell so far and fast without me. And when it all went to wreck and ruin yet again, I never knew thought I'd see it. Not until..."

Mycroft decided that he had been mistaken about the lack of inebriation. Or if not, it was surely the most eloquent drunken speech he had ever heard.

"...until he looked his last and I saw the part of that shut-away heart, glimpsed what I had wanted all along," he finished with shaky breath.

Had he not existed right there at that moment, the man could still be talking to air and it wouldn't matter.

Yet he couldn't pull himself away. Every word had him enthralled, hooked, with an unfathomable need to listen. But worst of all, he listened to all those broken words, from this broken man, and to his dawning horror, recognized every single one of those torn emotions.

They were as familiar in him as his own marrow.

Manifested in less dramatic ways, perhaps. But they were there; laid bare for him to see in his own heart. Folded away and stuffed in a tiny little box somewhere far beyond the mounds of paper, silent weekend readings, and cup of his favorite Earl Grey on a snowy English morning.

"What?" he asked, before he could stop himself, "What did you see?"

His storyteller slowly lifted his head to Mycroft's, and the briefest of smiles lifted his lips. Just slightly.

"Trust."

Trust.

He took a breath, and Mycroft couldn't stop the thought that entered his mind then.

I am sure you were worthy of it.

He didn't realize he had spoken until a voice pricked his hearing, so soft he had to tilt his head.

"...and there would have been so much more... if only he would have just listened."

Someone, somewhere, should write a book, because if Mycroft gleaned anymore, that was what he would have.

Some gloriously tragic tale along the ranks of the most hailed of the royal scandals, to be sure.

Had Mycroft had heartstrings... but he didn't, as there was no need for British politicians to deal with such a trivial nuisance as that.

"Sentiment," he remarked with a low laugh.

The blonde's face seemed to pale a bit, and he just stared.

Mycroft shook his head.

"I suppose there are always different paths we would've taken, had we but known the road ahead, but hindsight, in the end, is all it ever remains, my friend; Hindsight."

The golden head turned to face him now, and Mycroft was struck for the 2nd time in recognition- actual recognition now, but for the first time that Mycroft could remember- the first time in a very, very long time, he could not for the life of him match a name to the literally hundreds of thousands of personal files in his head. Unusual for a Holmes.

Any Holmes.

Or maybe he was just getting old.

But the man had been listening.

"You said you had a younger brother as well?"

That strange subtle pressure on his throat tok residence somewhere in the pit of his stomach, and coiled into a tight little ball. He looked down at his empty chai cup, wishing he'd asked for a shot of malt bourbon in it.

This man was a complete stranger to him.

Dangerous if he wanted to be, but not dangerous to Mycroft imminently. This man didn't know the first thing about him, who he was or what his position meant, his history or his secrets. Didn't know or probably care about sensitive information, national secrets, or critical threats.

But that didn't stop him from being what he was.

A grieving brother and son.

As he glimpsed those bright, bright blue eyes, focused intently on his own, he knew this man was honest.

Trustworthy.

And by heaven, Mycroft could not remember the last time he'd ever associated the word with a person.

Mycroft didn't trust anyone. Couldn't afford too.

He had too many things to protect. And his mind reasoned that trust was an unreliable source of security. Risky, and with too much potential collateral involved. Too much effort, for too little gain, and too much damage.

But his heart... oh, his heart yearned for it.

Not that Mycroft cared one whit about what his heart needed, or wanted. Damn thing wasn't good for any practical purposes whatsoever-other than making messes bigger than they should be, and for saying the wrong thing to Sherlock at the wrong time.

Perhaps he was just tired. And the temptation to speak freely did not often reveal itself.

And to his partial horror, it was not completely unwelcome.

Whatever it was, a connection born of loss, grief, and long buried past regrets, though he would have scoffed to hear anyone call it such, drew him near for the first time in decades.

That bone-deep familiarity had settled in his churning gut, and the words were out of his mouth before he could stop them.

"My brothers never listened to me either."


"...still doesn't, that brilliantly short-sighted arse."

Thor's shoulders turned ever so slightly toward his new companion, ears tuned to the words that trickled out of him, steadily, almost hesitant at first. As if it had been so long the thoughts were painful.

This man was so different than his usual companions, so unlike the company he would have sought. But the sharp wit and careful gaze hooked on memories lodged in between his ribs, in his marrow, and scattered across the dusty shelves of his mind.

Clean, Midgardian business attire, that smelled faintly of an artificially scented chemical, precise mind, and practical attitude.

Hardly a man to share an afternoon drink with, let alone speak in confidence.

Yet he knew how it felt.

Knew how the locked down words, innermost thoughts, and caged heart became so burdensome, so painful when it was kept away for so long. Like a rusty hinge on a door to a darkened dungeon that you had shut long ago, keeping everyone out, even yourself. Until even you had forgotten that it existed.

So Thor did the only thing he could.

He listened.

Loki had always been better at listening than he had. Had listened so long without others listening back that he began to listen to the wrong things.

Thor would never make that mistake again.

And so he listened.

Listened to a man whose name he knew not, but whose circumstances were wholly familiar.

Listened to the numerous, amusing accounts of a razor-sharp, brilliant younger brother, so full of brains he could get anyone out of trouble- or into it- as he so often did. Figure any puzzle, except the puzzle of love, and personally make it his life mission to antagonize and exacerbate his perfectly collected elder sibling who didn't give one damn about what Sherlock thought, thank you for making my job a thousand times more difficult, brother, and I'm only trying to protect you, dammit, because it seems you still can't figure out how to do the job yourself.

Sherlock, his companion's Loki, it seemed.

He actually laughed then. A barely-contained rumble of a chuckle that lightened the face of his companion, making him cautiously smile back.

The familiarity didn't hurt so much, then.

Strange.

It felt good to laugh again.

It had been so long.

So long.

Extraordinary, how two people such as themselves could share such circumstances as were dealt to them.

And extraordinary they were.

For it seemed his companion had not one younger brother, but two. Even as he had. And this other brother, tired apparently, of deception, lies, and forced secrets, had plummeted from military hero, to national traitor, scarring the family, and his fate had been sealed.

He hadn't elaborated, and Thor didn't blame him.

The circumstances of Balder's demise weren't exactly his favorite topic to reminisce upon either.

"Are you close, Sherlock and you?"

The ginger man scoffed.

"If 'close' can be defined by me knowing ever detail of his life for his own benefit and him trying to convince me that he can protect himself, which he can't, and continually informing me of my demise should I attempt additional drama,then yes, we are peculiarly close."

Thor chuckled, rattling chains, flying knives, and acerbic threats ringing in his ears.

"I really don't know why I even bother sometimes- it's not as if he's ever asked for my help, or wanted it."

It was a simple statement, not even a rhetorical question, though it was probably meant to be. Questioning oneself was a place he knew all too well. And hadn't he asked that question to his own heart, thousands of times at least, in the last 2 years?

He was done wondering.

His gaze softened, and he smiled.

"You hope."

The man appeared slightly startled at his tone. Hmm. Had he really been so melancholy?

"What do you mean?"

Thor took a breath, his gaze straight ahead, watching the patterned green tile on the far wall blur together.

"You hope that one day, your care will mean something. Your love will make up for the past, and that is what matters. Don't give up, don't give up, even when those you wish to call your own pain you unfairly. For when he finally wakes up and sees you, his brother, he will not question your loyalty, and offer his in return. And the mistakes you made, the sorrows you bore, the bitterness he feels, will mean nothing, because he is yours to protect, and he knows without a doubt that you will never let him down. You hope, and one day, that hope will be honored, and he will seek you out."

The man just stared at him, and Thor could see his eyes glimmering.

Maybe he couldn't have Loki back, but he wouldn't let futile wishing get in the way of using his failure to ensure that this man wouldn't know the same hollow pain.

Yes.

Yes, he could do that much.


Gentle, ginger-blonde curls, and bright blue eyes, brighter than either his or Sherlock's. Their mother often said when they were children that Sherlock was her Winter, Theodore, her Summer, and Mycroft, her Autumn. And it was true, though Mycroft couldn't imagine anything more sentimental if he tried. Cold and biting was Sherlock 3 times over; Theodore a warm summer sky, so clear and vibrant that one more inclined to metaphorical sentimentality might have said they could fly in those eyes.

How odd.

He hadn't thought of Theo in years.

But only just. Always tucked in the back of his mind, just out of conscious thought, never forgotten.

Buried under the dust of time, and mounds of paperwork.

He almost couldn't believe himself, giving up information so easily.

And yet...

...a great weight had been suddenly lifted off his shoulders, a weight he didn't even know had been lying there until it was gone, vanishing in a tangled rush, and he was left sitting, confessionless, wondering where the last 15 years had gone.

Sherlock had never forgiven him for Theodore's fate; it was a bitter recollection he brought before his elder brother in judgement.

And Mycroft never contradicted those bitter, cold eyes, never fought back, never justified his actions.

When he finally did speak to him again, Sherlock was cruel, very cruel.

But Mycroft knew, below that infernal muscle beneath a cage of bones, that he deserved it. Deserved every punch, slap, biting curse, rebellious act, cold shoulder, and slammed door.

What Sherlock probably had never suspected, however, was that his brother regretted their sibling's demise more than he did.

True, there had never been an abundance of love between any of the Holmes' siblings, but if one thing could be said, it was that Sherlock had always preferred Theodore over him. Always.

Perfectly reasonable, of course.

Mycroft, being nearly 8 years older than Sherlock, was hardly in a position to be anything other than "remote horrid thing that lives in the house along with Theo and me and never gives me anything I would find agreeable." Theo, however, being only a bare 2 years Sherlock's elder, was inclined to be far more favorable to his adoring younger sibling. They of course had their quarrels and squabbles, though admittedly nothing close to how Sherlock fought with Mycroft. Theo was oft required to be the middle-man more than anything, and it was a task at which both brothers had to agree he accomplished at 74.8% (Sherlock stood firm at 89.4%, but Mycroft could remember his biting days.)

And now, sitting here, hearing his companion's soft words of admonition and encouragement was enough to sting his heart.

He did hope.

He did.

He just didn't realize how much until it was voiced, laying out there for him to see.

But he was Mycroft Wilbur Henry Homes, for God's sake! He didn't need hope.

And he certainly didn't need the heat swelling in his skull, didn't need the warm hand suddenly on his shoulder.

"You are fortunate those you love live still, my friend. Cherish them while they live, and remember that they alone hold a part of your heart that will die with them one day, forbid that day ever come."

He had too much to do to worry about "cherishing".

And yet...

Maybe...

Just maybe...

He had been worrying about all the wrong things.

He made his head jerk in acknowledge, more fiercely than he meant it.

"Perhaps we both shall remember, and live for those while we can. I am sure our brothers would not appreciate us being so masochistic about them while they watch."

A low chuckle.

"I am quite sure they gain no small amount of amusement at our expense. Can you imagine their faces?"

Mycroft scoffed sardonically.

"Irritating from beyond the grave. We are cursed to outlive them all, as they continue to make outrageous fools of us," murmuring from his cup as he finished it off.

"It is a heavy thing, being the elder, is it not, my friend?"

"Indeed, my friend. Indeed it is."


A low chime caught Thor's attention and he glanced at the opposite wall at a maple colored clock above his head. Hmm. He'd no idea how long he'd been in here.

Time was rather obsolete to him these days.

He regretted the fact he'd have to leave his companion so soon. Jane was no doubt worried for him- being out so long without here to make sure he didn't blunder into some mall and get lost.

But really, he could find his way around rather well.

Thor tilted his head amiably.

"In the event of our time spent lamenting filial failures, I fear my manners have evaded me- not knowing the name of one's drinking companion is indeed a mark of ill grace!" He gestured pointedly.

"Mycroft Holmes," the ginger replied politely, "And think nothing of it. Though... I would ask the same of you."

"A pleasure to make your acquaintance, son of Holmes. I am... Thor. Odinson," he added in afterthought. "Thank you for your companionship. I fear you caught me in a rather ill mood. But I must take my leave... my Lady will be wondering where I am."

Mycroft nodded. "The same to you, Odinson. I must say I was well prepared to spend an afternoon in confined silence, but it does well to converse once in awhile. My... appointments in life do not often involve such honest conversation."

"I must admit... it is not often that time is spent so with so honorable a partner."

"For a warrior bent on masochism, you're not such bad company yourself."

Thor laughed. "I do hope it has not come to that! Such an ill fate does not become a warrior. And we are all warriors in our own way, are we not, Holmes?"

Mycroft let a small smile slip over his face. "War comes to us all, I suppose, in it's own way, in it's own time. Perhaps it is only what we do with what we are given during that time that reflects whether or not we are worthy to be true warriors."

Thor's face grew solemn for a moment. "I do concur."

He stood, chair legs scraping on tile, and moved to leave a few pounds on the counter before Mycroft intervened.

"Oh now! I've got it. I do wish you best of fortune in your endeavors. And try to keep out of the past. In my experience, there is nothing that hinders present action so much as that."

Thor chuckled. "I will try, my friend. And keep that brother of yours out of trouble. It sounds as if even Loki would prove shy of that challenge."

Mycroft snorted into his glass. "I hope not...' he mumbled. "Then I'd have a sincere problem on my hands, now, wouldn't I?"

A golden smile lit up that noble face, and Mycroft couldn't help but grin back.

"I hope out paths cross again, Son of Holmes."

He stared at the outstretched arm, and moved to shake Thor's hand, which clasped his elbow in a firm, ancient embrace, lasting only long enough for Mycroft to catch a whiff of ageless towers, blooming fields of heather and wild sweet grass, pounding hooves, hearty laughter...

...until the door chimed, and he was left staring after the tall warrior, who looked rather out of place in jeans and brown leather jacket.

But as the sun crowned his head in a halo of light, and Mycroft knew that even the most honorable warriors were hidden to all- arising only when the need was dire...

He shook his head, set his empty glass down again, and glanced at his watch.

Bzzzz.

Sighing, he fished his phone out of his pocket.

-13 minutes. Do I need to bring in some paracetametol? Never mind. I'll just bring a body bag in instead.

He snorted, scrolling through the last 7 text messages that Anthea had sent him.

Well. What do you know? He didn't have to wait very long to meet the Prime Minister after all.

He surely was feeling much more liberal with the Nation's finances than 2 hours ago. Hopefully Dierfenøld was in an appreciative mood.

And who would have ever thought, that an ancient, blonde, norse demigod would be the reason for it?

Their ancient blonde demigod, to boot.

The irony almost choked him.

The worries of the past few days had edged off into a small, quiet place, and he let them simmer there, not gone, but defined.

He tipped the barista handsomely, strode to the door in leisure, and walked through, basking in the sun on his face. Mycroft took a deep breath, savoring the sharp air in his lungs, and briefly closed his eyes.

"...For when he finally wakes up and sees you, his brother, he will not question your loyalty, and offer his in return. And the mistakes you made, the sorrows you bore, the bitterness he feels, will mean nothing, because he is yours to protect, and he knows without a doubt that you will never let him down. You hope, and one day, that hope will be honored, and he will seek you out."

Hmm.

Yes...

It was high time he paid a certain Theodore Holmes a visit.


Just a little something for the fans who have to stick it out for the next few YEARS. Sherlockians, you've got one on us. We probably have to wait until 2017. :/

Alydia, Emery, & Darthxerik... for you. :)

~Kungfu Jedi