The Care and Feeding of Your Younger Brother
Disclaimer: Characters aren't mine, suing is bad for your health.
Notes: …I don't even know, you guys.
Sherlock has a new friend.
It's not as if they're back in primary school, Mycroft doesn't have to protect him from the bullies who pretended to like him just long enough to get help with their homework. Sherlock is a grown man and, purely in theory, knows how to take care of himself. ...so really, it is exactly like primary school and the strange brown haired man in the velvet coat who seems to have government clearance higher than even Mycroft can get legally does not seem the type to be interested in his little brother for entirely altruistic reasons.
According to John Watson the new arrival is "just as madly brilliant as Sherlock, and just as incapable of taking care of himself". Mycroft has already quietly funded the replacement of the shattered windows in 221b Baker Street. Twice. In the last month. He's almost made a definitive decision that this man -John smith if one asks the government, The Doctor if one asks anyone who actually knows anything- is going to be paying him a visit very soon. Willingly or not, it makes no difference and Dr. Watson has gotten over their initial meeting relatively quickly, Sherlock wouldn't surround himself with weak people.
He's just about to pick up the phone to make the necessary arrangements when there is a knock at his office door. He's not sure he can remember the last time someone knocked at his office door - that's a lie, of course he can, but unlike his little brother Mycroft understands that there are certain quirks that the average person finds disconcerting and has learned to lie accordingly. Nevertheless, a knock implies an unexpected visitor and he isn't scheduled to meet with anyone for another hour and a half. He slides his gun from it's place in the desk drawer with one hand and texts a politely worded warning to whoever is running security that day with the other. So prepared, he calls for his unidentified guest to enter.
The man in his doorway is tall, thin and dressed impeccably in an elegant black suit. His bearing suggests that he is someone quite used to being in charge, and the keen way his grey eyes take in Mycroft's office makes it clear that he is also used to earning that position. "Good afternoon," the man greets him with a charming smile that Mycroft knows is fake only because he's spent a few minutes in the mirror perfecting it himself. "Do send my apologies to your head-of-security, I'm afraid I've left her with a bit of a puzzle."
"I'm sure she'll be grateful for the practice," Mycroft replies smoothly.
"Indeed. But I've not yet introduced myself." He strides across the plush carpet to stand opposite Mycroft. "I am Irving Braxiatel, and you are Mycroft Holmes. My, how a simple shift in the timelines can change things, you look nothing like the man Benny described. Nonetheless, it is a pleasure to make your acquaintance."
Mycroft rises to shake his hand, which is unnaturally cold and incredibly soft. Not a man accustomed to doing his own dirty work, then. Mycroft can relate. "You seem to have the advantage, Mr. Braxiatel. Should I be making arrangements to dispose of bodies or were you able to bypass my security without needless violence?"
The grin that flashes, sharp and quick across the other man's lips is not reassuring in the slightest. "So far no one has met their end, unfortunate or otherwise. Trusting that my... colleagues remember the better side of valour there shouldn't be any mess to clean up. I don't expect I'll be here long, anyway."
Mycroft gestures him to a chair and waits until he has taken it to return to his own seat. "I assume you've got a good reason for baffling my security and interrupting my rather busy schedule? And a little information on your identity wouldn't go amiss, either."
"Ah yes, you do seem to keep yourself occupied. Political intrigue, being the man behind the curtain and all that. Perhaps handled in a manner which some might call overly dramatic, but from what I know you seem to get the job done more than adequately, and I'm not in any position to judge the enjoyment found in governmental work."
Mycroft resists the urge, barely, to make a few observations regarding the blatant hypocrisy displayed in calling him over-dramatic and a rather vicious comment about the current fashions in facial hair. Instead, he raises one eyebrow. Pointedly.
"As for my identity, I've already given you my name and I have no doubt that if you truly want to know more you'll have found out within minutes of my departure. Though I should warn you, anything you find about me might leave you with only more questions."
How ivery/i cliché. As his brother would say, pedestrian. Mycroft has made certain concessions to clichés (government cars really do only come in black, he's checked), but he does make a concerted effort not to sound like he's speaking into a camera when he's having a conversation.
"Very well. Now the matter of your purpose."
"Mmhm. It's actually your "busy schedule" that's brought me here. More specifically the man that you were about to have kidnapped off the street simply for daring to interact with your little brother."
And suddenly this stranger is far more interesting. "If you're from UNIT you ought to know that my security clearance is quite likely higher than yours and I've already had this conversation with you people. It was equally as uninspiring the first time."
Braxiatel laughs, a short, amused little huff. "Do I honestly strike you as one of those militaristic little lemmings? And here I thought you were the smart brother. No, I'm not from UNIT. One might say I've got a personal stake in matters."
"Is he your lover or your brother?" Mycroft is searching for a family resemblance and not finding one - Braxiatel is tall where the other man is short, thin where he is delicate, grey-eyed where he is blue-eyed. Braxiatel is still looking at him like he's crushing his dreams one by one.
"Brother," he says, and he could not have sounded more bored if he'd had had a sign made up. "And as I'm sure you can understand, I really would be quite upset if anything were to happen to him. Such as, oh, the wrong governmental or non-governmental organization getting a hold of him and discovering some of his more... shall we say, unique traits."
"I wouldn't be that sloppy. If anyone were to get a hold of him because of my interest I can assure you they would not be out from under my control. I could even put precautions into place in order to avoid any awkward situations that I don't bring about, if you like."
"I'm sure you could. What would you like in exchange?"
"I want to know what you don't want me to find out. And, semi-relatedly, if Iyour/I brother's presence in Imy/I brother's life is going to prove a negative influence."
"You certainly don't mince words, do you?" Braxiatel leans back. Mycroft wonders if it would be worth shooting him just to see the look of surprise on his face before he dies. "And my first question in response would be 'negative influence on whom?' it really could go either way." The smile, this time, is a little more genuine.
Mycroft doesn't sigh aloud, but he can feel his patience wearing thin. Pointedly, he looks down at his phone and starts texting. "Have you heard of an agency called Torchwood?"
"Alright, alright. No need to start in on the idle threats."
Mycroft feels a little better knowing that it was not an idle threat at all. If Torchwood still existed, he could have Irving Braxiatel's brother swept away to some underground prison before the man sitting across from him could get through one of his little soliloquies. "Why don't you want the government to look too closely at him?"
Braxiatel throws up his hands and sighs dramatically. "Since I see I can't convince you simply to take my word for it, I shall provide you with an explanation and I'm not sure you're going to like it."
"The man with which Sherlock Holmes has become enamoured is not from this planet. He is not, indeed, from this time and the age difference really is staggering. I really must speak to him- one does expect certain levels of decorum. He will likely put your brother's life in danger but from what I know of Sherlock -and that is rather a lot, mind- the endangerment will be entirely mutual. He may break your brother's heart, though it is very doubtful. The Doctor thrives on attention and affection, and I don't think those are things that Sherlock can provide on an ongoing basis."
"You do know they're not sleeping together?"
Braxiatel tilts his head. "I don't think I'm going to ask wwhy or how you know that. But it's not surprising. as I said almost entirely incompatible."
It is the almost that has Mycroft twitchy. Somehow the part where his brother is making friends with an Ialien/I doesn't surprise him near as much as it probably ought to. It is, after all, Sherlock.
"You won't need to worry for long, if it helps," Braxiatel says almost gently. Mycroft thinks that beneath all the layers of professionalism and arrogance and charm the other man is horribly, horribly tired.
A moment of silence passes in which Mycroft makes rather a lot of connections in his mental flowchart of governmental organizations and people. UNIT really needs to share more information re: possibly extra-terrestrial life forms with the rest of the government. "And why is that?" he asks finally when it becomes apparent that Braxiatel has no intention of elaborating without a push.
"My brother wont' be permitted to remain here much longer. Our people will start looking for him sooner rather than later, and he's not exactly unpredictable in his choice of vacation destinations."
"And why would your Ipeople/I be looking for him?"
Braxiatel doesn't respond for a few seconds. "Ask John Watson about the war one day. Ask him how many times he wanted nothing more than to run away from it all."
A few more pieces slide into place. Mycroft shakes his head. "I do wonder what it is about my brother lately that is attracting soldiers."
"The Doctor is not a soldier." Braxiatel's hands clench on the edge of the desk as he leans forward, eyes suddenly more alive than they've been since he walked in the door. It's a subtle change, but to Mycroft it is as clear as if Braxiatel had him pinned up against the wall, screaming in his face.
Mycroft inclines his head, offering some measure of respect and understanding. "So many aren't. Still, it does worry our mother so, the company my brother tends to keep. She does tend to be over emotional, but he's already caused her rather a lot of distress with certain of his... vices."
"Some might say an overly invested mother is a blessing," Braxiatel has relaxed, false smile back in place. "I'm quite certain if our parents were alive to see what my brother and I have done with our lives we would have been disowned long ago."
Mycroft shrugs. "It can become tiresome at times, and Sherlock seems determined to make everyone's lives as difficult as he possibly can."
"Oh how familiar that sounds." Probably not honest amusement, but enough to establish some sort of shared understanding. If Mycroft were anyone but who he is, he would have probably given away his first-born to this man by now.
Braxiatel rises to his feet, apparently done with the conversation. "I trust, then, that I have your word that no harm will come to The Doctor as long as it is within your power to prevent it?"
A destructively curious little part of Mycroft makes him ask, "And if I don't? You've already told me what I want to know, what's to stop me from having your brother picked up the moment you leave this office?"
Braxiatel shrugs slightly and pushes in his chair. "If you were to do so I would be forced to do something rather unfortunate to your timeline or that of Sherlock. Wouldn't it be horrible if no one had found him that day in 2006 when he overdosed?"
"But I did find him, I don't see how you could prevent that."
"Do you remember the car accident when you were twenty? Your condition was touch and go for a few minutes, or so the file says. Imagine if the doctor on call that night had been different, someone who couldn't think quite as quickly on their feet, someone going through a bad divorce, far too distracted to focus entirely on their patient. I Iwonder/I if you would have been so lucky? Now, if you'll excuse me."
"Yes," Mycroft says coldly. "We wouldn't want your security people to get bored."
Braxiatel's eyebrows arch. "Did I ever say that I had security? One ought not to assume these things, Mr. Holmes. Quite on the contrary, my "people" consist merely of an archaeologist and a professional thief. Don't worry, they're very good. None of your computer systems or papers will be damaged. But as you know, knowledge is power."
And with that, Irving Braxiatel sweeps from his office. And takes Mycroft's umbrella with him.
Mycroft's phone buzzes in his hand, and he looks down.
"Violin duets becoming unbearable. Send help. JW"