A Brother's Work Is Unappreciated

"Mr Holmes," his assistant said as she walked into the office with her Blackberry. "The hospital called. Your brother was stabbed and is in surgery."

Mycroft gave himself a moment to feel the terror that this time, his brother might die. Then he took a measured breath. "Was this a random attack or was my brother the intended victim?" He permitted himself a brief moment to be proud of how his voice didn't shake. It wouldn't affect his assistant one way or the other, but appearances must be kept.

"The three that the police have in custody have admitted to being hired by a Mr Hughes. Your brother was instrumental in his arrest for forgery last week." His assistant looked up at him. "The protection unit couldn't get to them in time to stop the attack; however, they were able to capture the fourth assailant. Is he to be turned over to the police?"

Mycroft thought about it for a moment. "Is there any reason to keep him?"

"No, sir," his assistant said.

"Is there any risk of charges being filed against my brother or Dr Watson? Speaking of Dr Watson, how is he?"

"No, the police have already agreed that they were the victims and all actions taken were in self-defence. Dr Watson was uninjured, or at least the hospital didn't treat him for injuries," his assistant reported. "He provided basic treatment to your brother at the scene, and kept him conscious until the paramedics arrived." After a moment, she continued, "He's currently in the hospital waiting room."

"And Sherlock's prognosis?" Mycroft held himself still while he waited for the most important piece of information.

"Unless something unexpected is found, or he develops an infection he has trouble fighting off, the prognosis is for a full recovery." His assistant looked up with a raised eyebrow. "There will be a recovery period in which he will have to give the injury a chance to heal."

Fortunately, that would be Dr Watson's problem, Mycroft thought with relief.

Before he could say anything else, his assistant said, "Your car is waiting for you."

Smiling slightly at her, Mycroft nodded and said, "Very efficient; thank you."

Traffic at that hour was light, and the driver was efficient, but Mycroft felt as if the trip took longer than usual. He knew it was simple perception, brought on by worry and fear, but the relief he felt when he saw the hospital was intense and real.

Standing at the doorway to the waiting room, Mycroft took a moment to observe Dr Watson without being observed himself. Since he had left for school, Sherlock had insisted on being completely independent. He would accept assistance, with poor grace, only if it was given, and no acknowledgement or thanks required. Mycroft had worried, constantly, that his little brother would succumb to injury or illness because no one knew to worry. Since Dr Watson had become his flatmate, however, Mycroft had been able to put that worry aside. Sherlock might refuse to care for himself, he might have a dangerous vocation that left Mycroft on edge waiting for the phone call that his brother was now dead, but he would receive the necessary care at the earliest time that was humanly possible. Even better, John Watson was a medical doctor; he knew when hospital was required and how to treat recalcitrant patients.

Dr Watson's posture wasn't that of a man who had efficiently saved Sherlock's life once again. No, it was that of a man who had failed. Mycroft wondered if he should insist that the doctor be looked over, but decided it wasn't necessary. Unlike Sherlock, Watson took his health, if not his safety, seriously. Still, a little reassurance seemed to be in order.

"There's no need to beat yourself up over this, Doctor. We both know my brother has little regard for his own well-being; this is hardly your fault." When Watson looked up, seemingly startled, Mycroft continued, "Quite frankly, I'm surprised something like this hasn't happened sooner, but then I suppose that's due to your influence. He's more cautious now you're around. Of course, I still worry about him, for good reason it seems." He glanced around the room pointedly.

Still lost in recriminations, Watson said, "I should have stepped in to help him sooner; I should have dealt with my two faster and then helped him out. I was in the military, for Christ's sake; I should be able to deal with a few street thugs."

Mycroft allowed himself an amused smile, more in relief than anything else. After all these years, Sherlock finally had someone to "watch his back", as the saying went. Rather effectively, at that, considering he was upset that he hadn't dispatched two bruisers more quickly than he'd managed. Hoping to calm the doctor down, and allow him to resume his usual equilibrium, Mycroft said, "Come, now; I'm certain you did all you could. My brother should know how to look after himself in a fight after the way he carried on when he was younger. It always used to upset Mummy the way he came home with scrapes and black eyes." Sticking to the truth was most effective, especially with a man who seemed so simple next to Sherlock, but who was no fool himself. After the failed attempt at bribery, and the report on the cabbie's death, Mycroft was very careful in his dealings with John Watson. Fortunately, his "strong moral principles" made it unlikely that he would come after Mycroft for anything less than injuring his brother; still, there was no sense courting danger.

Another doctor came through the waiting room door. "Holmes?" he asked.

Mycroft moved toward him as Dr Watson stood.

"Surgery went well, no complications," the unknown doctor said. "We'll keep him in for a few days to make sure everything is healing properly, but he should make a full recovery. He's resting at the moment, but if you want to visit, just speak to one of the nurses outside." He gave a professionally reassuring smile, turned and went back into the hospital.

"Thank God," John said, collapsing back into his chair. Mycroft allowed himself to acknowledge his relief, although he refused to allow himself to sag.

"Well," Mycroft said, "I supposed I should go make some arrangements for my brother's care. If you'll excuse me, John?"

The other man looked confused. "Wait, that's it? Your brother's lying in hospital recovering from a stab wound and you're not even going to visit him?"

Suppressing the sigh, and the gratitude that Watson cared, Mycroft said, "I hardly think he will appreciate my presence and I have other ways to watch over his recovery, John." He started to turn to go, but stopped and said, "Oh, incidentally, it might interest you to know that the gang who attacked you have been arrested and no charges will be pressed against either you or my brother. Good day." He left the room before the relief that Sherlock would, once again, recover forced an emotional response from him. Thank God for John Watson. He might frown on Mycroft's distance, but he would focus his attention where it was needed-on Sherlock.

His assistant greeted him at the hospital entrance. "Your brother will be in a private room," she said without raising her gaze from her Blackberry. "The hospital staff has been advised that Dr Watson is a medical doctor and should be permitted to visit regardless of visiting hours." She glanced up, but her eyes were back on the mobile when she said, "They have also been advised that your brother would be more cooperative in Dr Watson's presence. In addition, the monitoring devices have already been installed in his room."

"Thank you, my dear," Mycroft said, with a smile and nod. "Are there any other emergencies which need our attention before morning?" When she shook her head, he said, "Then I'll have the driver drop you at home and I'll see you in the morning."

"Thank you, Mr Holmes," she said, smiling.

While he caught up on the work he'd put aside to take care of Sherlock, Mycroft kept an eye on the feed from his younger brother's hospital room. It was fortunate he wasn't relying on it to keep him awake; Sherlock slept peacefully through the night. When Dr Watson finally nodded off, Mycroft forwarded the feed to his bedroom and went to bed himself.

When he woke at his normal time, he could see that nothing had changed. Not only was Dr Watson still asleep, but so was Sherlock. Mycroft sighed, wishing the poor man wasn't taking Sherlock's injury so much to heart.

Sherlock finally woke not long after Mycroft had finished his healthy (boring) breakfast. It only took a few moments before his brother's fidgeting woke his flatmate. As soon as Watson woke enough to inquire after Sherlock's health, he chuckled. Clearly, Sherlock's response of "Bored," was enough to allow Dr Watson to believe that Sherlock would recover. Mycroft sent an email to his assistant, requesting that she keep an eye on Sherlock's recovery so that he wouldn't visit before Sherlock was up to working again. Mycroft wanted no part of a bored Sherlock.

It quickly became clear that Dr Watson needed a good night's sleep in a comfortable bed; his temper was much shorter this morning than usual. Mycroft smiled at the telling off Sherlock received as a result and he was delighted that Sherlock also reassured his friend that Watson had done everything possible. Mycroft would have been happier if Sherlock hadn't admitted to going after an armed man when he himself was unarmed, but it wasn't a surprise to him.

Sounding as if he were at the end of his rope, Watson almost shouted, "My God, do you have no sense of self-preservation at all?"

To Mycroft's surprise, while trying to get the concept of his welfare actually mattering to other people, John brought him into the discussion. "I'm not the only one who cares what happens to you either. Mycroft was here, you know; he was worried about you."

Mycroft wasn't surprised at Sherlock's response, which was to look around the private room, scowl at the ceiling, and say, "Yes, I can see my brother's iconcern/i for my well-being." The time and money spent obtaining the room meant nothing to his brother, and the strings that needed to be pulled to allow Dr Watson to stay with him wouldn't occur to him.

Dr Watson, on the other hand, had a much better understanding of such things. "He cares about you, you know; although I will be the first to admit he shows it in rather a iunique/i way." His temper seemed to be calming as well. Mycroft wasn't too surprised; Dr Watson had an amazing ability to take his brother's behaviour in stride.

Now that Dr Watson had calmed, Sherlock had returned to his usual infuriating self. After hearing what healing from a stab wound to the abdomen was going to entail, Sherlock flopped back on the bed and stated, "Kill me now." The melodramatics amused Mycroft.

Clearly, they didn't amuse Dr Watson. He leant back in his chair, looking as if he were settling in for a bit more sleep, as he said, "Not funny, Sherlock."

Mycroft wished him luck, but he could see the smile on Sherlock's face. His brother was already plotting on how to get himself into more trouble.

With his brother's care in the best of hands, Mycroft forwarded the feed to his office and called for his car. After all, he did have work to do.