Hello all! I received a wonderful set of responses to Guilt and many were asking for a sequel so here it is. It is painful, so please be prepared. Reviews are always welcome and I greatly appreciate those of you who do. Thank you!
Standard Disclaimer: I don't own Sherlock obviously as it is the property of the wonderful Moffat and Gatiss who based their series on the work of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Today was it. Today was the day Sherlock Holmes buried his brother in an overly grand family cemetery that would have pleased Mycroft to no end. In truth, Sherlock wasn't sure who would show up today. How many people would be there to fulfil the obligation of attending his funeral? How many would be there because they cared for him. Sherlock had a sneaking suspicion that the former would greatly outnumber the later.
He wasn't supposed to see this moment. He was the one to be thrust in an early grave for his crimes. He had a drug habit, a risky profession, and little sense of self-preservation. No, it was supposed to be the other way around.
For all Mycroft's talk of the foolishness of sentiment, he was driven by it more than most. Mycroft had everything he deserved when he died; the career he worked tirelessly for, the bespoke suits he wore as armor, the position and influence to effect great change. Mycroft had everything he deserved except one thing when he died, the love and respect of his family.
Sherlock loved him, of course, though he had never been able to verbalize it. He spent most of his life condemning his brother's interference. Mycroft wanted to control him, he assumed. Maybe he needed Mycroft's control. Maybe Mycroft had been right all along and he just couldn't handle things all on his own just yet. Was that so very wrong? It wasn't as if Mycroft had been a horrible brother. In fact, it was much the opposite! Mycroft had done everything he could to protect him. At every instance, Sherlock shunned him, accused him, tormented him. Each time Mycroft came back and did it again. When had he ever shown his brother that consideration?
Now he couldn't. His brother was being laid to rest right before him. His body being lowered into the ground surrounded by a disrespectfully small number of people for his brother's significance. For a man so consumed by his work, only one of his colleagues attended the service, the ever-dutiful Anthea. A picture in all black, desperately trying to maintain her composure. Was she really the only one who cared for him in the end?
John had insisted on attending the funeral, despite his issues with the dearly departed. There is something about death that puts the actions of others in a greater context. While Mycroft was alive, he had blamed him for Mary's death, for Rosie losing her mother. He was angry and hurt. Mycroft's death didn't change that but he did acknowledge that Mycroft could no more have prevented it than he or Sherlock could have. Mary died. Mycroft died. The only difference is how. Mary dies in his arms, knowing that he loved her. Mycroft died alone in a hospital as John watched. That would haunt him to his dying day.
Eurus for obvious reasons was unable to attend the funeral. When she heard of his passing a sickening smile passed he lips and then it vanished. The issue not to be addressed again. Sherlock had come to realize that Mycroft had done what he understood to be best with regards to their sister. She was comparable to them in so many ways and so dissimilar in all the ones that mattered.
Violet Holmes despair was evident on her weary face. Her eldest, her beautiful baby boy. She did the unthinkable. She made her son feel unlovable. How could she have told him he couldn't come home? How could she have called him limited? Those words can't be unsaid now, they can't be forgiven. Her little boy. Her son, her Mycroft, had made a mistake and it hurt them dearly. Violet made a mistake that cost her son his life. She knew him better than anyone, better than he knew himself. He was never a selfish boy, nor a cruel one. Why had she let herself believe that? Why had she let him think that? That was unredeemable. Her son was dead and it couldn't be fixed. All she wanted to do in that moment was hold her baby one more time.
William Holmes had never felt this way in his entire life. The sadness of losing a child compounded with the guilt of not noticing his son was in trouble. William was not a stupid man and he had always known Mycroft was a good boy. He was misguided at times but he was good. His son did what he thought best, and sometimes even in the best cases everyone ends up hurt. He made so many mistakes with Mycroft growing up but somehow, he still turned out to be a man that William could be proud of. If only he had ever told him that. The weight of words left unsaid.
The eulogy. The short summation of the life of a great man. How inadequate Sherlock felt to be delivering it.
"My brother was many things. I'm not going to talk about those. Everyone who knew him, knew a different piece of who he was. I'm going to tell you about the piece that I knew."
"My brother gave everything he had to his family. He sacrificed and never protested the seemingly unending tasks that we demanded of him. The dutiful son, the overprotective brother. Putting his own life on hold to ensure we were all happy and healthy. Our needs always came before his. He may have grumbled here or there but it was all in jest. You see, he used to say that 'Caring is not an advantage.' In a moment like this, I am tempted to agree with him. You see, I never said this to him in life. I cared very deeply for my brother and it is my utmost regret that I never made that clear to him. He is the person I respected most in this world and the world is surely poorer with his absence. Mycroft Holmes was many things. He was my brother. That is my great honor and privilege."
Thank you for reading! -cKyodhUr