Of course, Mycroft always scolds himself, because he knows Sherlock isn't interested, and John is a good man. A man who wont leave him all alone, completely alone, totally alone. As much as Mycroft is sure he's devoutly in love with John, the most incredible human being he's encountered, he knows that John isn't completely his, and it kills him. Those little marks, cuts, bruises, nights alone. They're just a reminder that John belongs to Sherlock, he's property.
His brother dangles John in front of him sometimes.
John insists that he isn't anyone's property. He says that Sherlock is brilliant, fascinating, strange and extraordinary. But he isn't Mycroft. It's the first time anybody's ever said that, because Mummy's favourite was always Sherlock, and it makes Mycroft giddy. It's too good. It can't last. Mycroft knows it wont be long before John leaves him, and he'll be all alone, completely alone, totally alone.
Mycroft remains silent, and moves slowly to where John is, warm and closes his eyes, comforted by the heat. He smells of sweet sweat and old spice and Mycroft wants it as an air freshener, or John to be near him forever.
Mycroft's jealousy is fierce and strong. And ugly.
He turns up at crime scenes occasionally, when he wants to take John back, or when he promises Mummy to look after Sherlock. It's something he has to do, play the bad guy, because John doesn't realise how they look at him. everybody think's that John belongs to Sherlock, that loves him back. Mycroft's chest hurts, because he'd follow John into the dark and the fire.
Nobody sees John climb into Mycroft's car. They miss the kisses, the embrace. Twice, the champagne in the back of the car. They see him as the stiff bureaucrat, the one who glares from afar. They touch him, lay hands on John and it's bearable. It's when the girls twirl their hair, it's when they stare at him.
Mycroft's powerful. He can make them turn their heads when John's around. He doesn't, because it's silly, he knows he's just being ridiculous. But Mycroft's jealousy is fierce and his loyalty is unwavering.
John is laughing with Sherlock when they arrive, and something twists inside Mycroft's gut, makes his heart feel boiled and slippery. It's not that he isn't happy, one glance at John and he knows how fortunate he is, how lucky he is to love him. But Sherlock is giving him this look as if he knows something. It's amusing him greatly, and Mycroft never wants anybody else to lay eyes on his John again. He's being silly, he needs to stop.
"Any progress?"He asks. Striving to be amiable. Affable. Friendly. Bites his tongue until it hurts. John looks up at him and smiles, from the side of his mouth, tongue catching his top lip. Mycroft treasures it.
"Of course," Sherlock says, coldly, uninterested. Agreeing, John nods eagerly. Mycroft regards it with a small smile. His brother thinks that he's got John. That, his galavanting about London is John's favourite pastime. It might be.
But when John's under the covers and spouting profanities like a builder, Mycroft isn't so sure.
[Sometimes John can be fiercer than Mycroft.
Every time they meet, John makes sure to let Mycroft monopolize him. After all, that's what politician's do. Sherlock's stopped making snide remarks, because he gets a smack for his trouble. John loves him. Totally, completely, devoutly. Like a mantra. With John around, Mycroft feels freer, kinder, less ashen-faced with the world. Safe in the knowledge that he's loved so strongly.
When John brings his firearm into the bedroom the first time, it proves it. Mycroft goes a little paler. His throat dries up when John puts on the safety and lifts up the pillow. They agree, eventually, to keep it in John's bedside cabinet. The gesture is lovely, but Mycroft doesn't want anybody getting shot in the head when they're asleep.
John's clever, too. As brilliant as he seems to think Sherlock is, he never compares the Holmes brothers. It's a Pandora's box of woe for Mycroft, and john is the first to let it lie.
For Now. ]
Mycroft doesn't like other people touching his things, but he does like taking things away from Sherlock.
He gives John a small present for his birthday, after the pool incident, because he was sick with worry for days afterwards. Just like the dog tags, like the ones John gave to Mycroft (he was a little glad to be rid of them). There's a small circular impression non the surface, and that's the real gift.
Safety. Assurance. Oddly enough, john likes it. He understands it. Then again, he lives with Sherlock Holmes most of the time, he must be fairly understanding. John puts it on with flourish, and Mycroft likes it. Every inch the Army Captain.
John doesn't go to baker Street that evening. He gives a gift of his own, if you catch my drift.
It can only end in disaster. And it does.
There's a frenzy across half of London. Sherlock is fine, naturally. Not a scratch. He reclines at the table at Baker Street with minimal concern etched on his face. Mycroft is furious.
It's not fair. John, his John, has vanished and Mycroft's insides are boiling, he wants to howl and rip apart every inch of London until John is safe and under the covers with Mycroft, warm and unharmed and smelling of sweet sweat and old spice and-
"I have an idea of who he could be with," Sherlock says, because he wants to seem clever. nobody will be impressed. Mycroft isn't. He stays calm and collected, but it kills him.
He realizes with a jolt- without John he's going to be all alone, completely alone, totally alone.
Hours and hours are spent on phone, in and out of London, looking for leads, hounding Inspector Lestrade, holding his tongue for Sherlock, because he might be their best hope for finding him. The case is bone dry, and Mycroft feels like sobbing, because there's no John.
It takes nine hours of Mycroft beating himself bloody before his body gives over to exhaustion. He dreams of John.
He wakes to a revelation
John is groggy and drowsed, Mycroft can tell.
He lies awake, while the morning starts up outside. The sky is growing paler, and he wonder what he's doing all alone, completely alone, totally alone. There is a small steel chip on the bedside cabinet, and from it, he can hear laboured breaths. In a minute, he'll succumb to sleep because he's broken by sickness and worry.
The breathing continues. Every breath is an assurance. If John's breathing stops, so does Mycroft's heart.
"I'll be okay," It's a laugh. Mycroft hears laughter. He must be delusional. Sitting up, he snatches the steel chip and listens closely. But it isn't a delusion. It's real and true and now Mycroft's laughing, on the verge of tears.
"Look," John says, and Mycroft prays that he's talking to him, and not Sherlock, or Harriet, but him. "I know you think it's him I'm after, because we-...because we're like that. But we're not." And that's not how John talks to Mycroft. He's always straight. Doesn't ever talk about Sherlock. The scars speak for themselves.
"I didn't think I could ever enjoy this, civilian life, I mean. It's so...so boring, and then you-Jesus, you were the strangest man I'd ever met. He warned me about you, y'know. Your brother. I guess it made me want you more,"
A fat tear threatens to break out and give Mycroft away. John won't be able to hear him. Won't ever know how much it distresses Mycroft. He needs a straight answer. Honesty. If John is talking about Sherlock, clever Sherlock, elegant Sherlock, then Mycroft's heart will clean snap in half.
"Goodnight, soulmate, " John says, and eventually, his breath evens out.
Mycroft doesn't sleep. His jealousy is fierce.
"His tag isn't traceable, but I have a very good idea," Sherlock is akin to a serpent, slithering about proudly like he's making the world a better place. Mycroft admires the good Sherlock does. But he can't ignore the self-indulgent reasons behind those acts. The fact that everybody else seems impressed, that John is impressed, makes Mycroft want to snap his umbrella in half.
"You know where he is?" They simper to him. Sherlock turns on them for it.
"Obviously," It's a game, Mycroft realises. John's life, his safety, and it turn, Mycroft's peace of mind. The rest of them are impressed, or put off. But Sherlock won't divulge anything else on the matter, and goes to the far wall, where he has scraps of evidence, maps and google printouts fixed to the wall. He consults it silently. Mycroft swallows his pride.
"You know where he is then?" He looks down. The pain in his chest keeps him fighting for John, so that he doesn't end up all alone, completely alone, totally alone. Sherlock looks at him, and their eyes meet.
It's like their young again, and Sherlock has stolen one of Mycroft's things, his glass hummingbird, or Mummy's favour. whenever Mycroft used to find out Sherlock would look at him, really look at him, and there wouldn't be a pinch of concern in his face. Finders keepers, Mycroft always being the loser. He always hated that game.
"Of course," Sherlock says, and when Mycroft goes to speak, he's turned on. "Don't you see it? A little more time and I can bring down that whole organisation!" But the words tear right through Mycroft, and he can't believe his ears, doesn't understand the pleasure painting Sherlock's face. It takes everything in him not to shove Sherlock against the wall, strangle him, but he knows that it won't bring him any closer to John.
Instead, he brings the tip of his umbrella up to Sherlock's face and warns him.
"Gamble with his life, and I will make yours a misery,"
His prayers seem to go unanswered. People called, and left messages, but his indifference leaves him unfeeling. Mycroft remains by his bedside and listens for hours. Sometimes there are scuffles, and coughs. Other voices, just as distant. It takes hours for John to wake, but every moment is worth it, even if there's of real conversation.
Once, John even hums, under his breath. like he does while he's working, or when he's showering. The reminder of it makes Mycroft look back to when their relationship was new, and his jealousy had made him red-faced and irate. Never with John, he could never be angry at John.
Who said such sarcastic things that Mycroft couldn't help his smile. John, who kept his eyes locked on Mycroft's when they made love. John with the tough hands, John with the soft heart. John who looked at Sherlock with similar eyes. Like he valued Mycroft's boundless devotion the same as Sherlock's snide comments, his remarks.
"You're coping without me, right?" John says, one time. "I wonder how you did before I came along. There must have been someone, but you don't have an awful lot of friends." That's Sherlock, it must be. Mycroft doesn't consider himself a lonely man, he has acquaintances. Honestly, though, maybe not so many friends. Maybe not even John.
"I didn't like you, when I met you. I loved everything about you, and what you were about, what you could offer. But I didn't know anything about you." John sounds sad, and forlorn. Mycroft's heart is slippery, heated from the steam of his insides. "Kept yourself locked away. From everyone,"
Mycroft will find him. He'll hunt the streets if he has to.
"It's you. It's always been you,"
Sherlock knows where John is. He's sent Lestrade to fetch him. They're waiting in the wing, wound up like clocks. Mycroft sees Sherlock in the light, and he realizes it always has been. The more handsome, the more athletic, the more noticeable of the Holmes. It's like, all of a sudden, Mycroft is weightless, has become an irrelevant being.
His brother turns to him, and blinks.
"You think so?" Mycroft looks at the floor.
"He said he was warned. That you were the strangest man he'd ever met," But that's not enough. Sherlock has to pry.
"He called you his soulmate," There's silence. Sherlock breathes out in a huff, and stuffs his hands into his pockets. Then fumbles with a pack of Mayfair cigarettes. He's supposed to be quitting, but Mycroft won't say anything. He's grateful for the silence.
"You can't possibly think-" Mycroft shoots a look at Sherlock, and it's ugly. His face is poisoned with jealousy and hate and petulance. All he wants is John. it's not much to ask, but Sherlock had done what he always does. He's a thief, and it isn't fair.
Mycroft is going to be left all alone, completely alone, totally alone. It scares him.
They sit in silence for a while, and the smell of the room mixed with the cigarette makes Mycroft nauseous. He could say something, but the truth had put Sherlock in a foul mood. Not to mention how he hates being wrong.
"I'm not interested. He's still yours,"
"Because you don't want him. Excuse me for not settling for secondhand," The words hurt to say. Mycroft is hurt to hear them from his own lips, but they need to be said. Sherlock's face remains blank, expressionless.
"He was never mine. Must you be so difficult?" Mycroft's jealousy is fierce and ugly. He wants to tear Sherlock apart, because he's John's soulmate. He's interesting and clever and strange and John loves him. He sleeps with Mycroft because-what, because Mycroft fell for it? Was desperate? Mycroft has similar traits to Sherlock.
He realizes with an inaudible sob that John only likes him because he's akin to Sherlock. It's above him to be envious, to hold grudges and to hate. But he can't help it. Not against John, never. Though, he's allowed to blame Sherlock.
His brother receives a text and tears himself from Mycroft's company. Mycroft's thoughts race to John and linger.
John sleeps like a deadman. Not heavily, but he catches the lifelessness in his look. If it were not for the sound of his breathing, Mycroft would be grieving for him. He's silly like that, and he knows it. They're not alone, because Sherlock doesn't understand when he's not wanted. Lestrade stand silently in the corner, like an overseer. Mycroft stays sitting upright, like a soldier, gripping the handle of his umbrella.
He counts the breaths that John takes. Relishes to know that he lives. There are new cuts and scrapes, none of which from Sherlock, but his fault nonetheless. Before, he would have reached out. But John isn't his.
Sherlock is his 'soulmate'. So be it. Time heals all wounds, and Mycroft's knows what it's like to have scars.
He leaves before John can stir. It's better that way. He doesn't want to see those eyes on him. The blue is like an ocean, but the water is unsettled. Mycroft knows the current is too strong.
Mycroft knows he can't swim.
There's messages left for Mycroft. Anthea doesn't take notes, or pass on the gist. She insists on showing him. Naturally, this isn't met with a great willingness. Mycroft is busy, and tired. His bed is cold from where he's been all alone, completely alone, totally alone and the images of John keep him awake at night. Anthea knows this. She's a crafty woman, and she happens to like John.
The messages aren't short. They follow eachother, and fill the entire time. It's John, Mycroft knows this. And he's talking to Mycroft. Which is, without being nearly sweet, rather alarming. Not that he's saying anything, but rather, what he's saying.
One of the messages is a song from the radio. It's blurry and crackled. He can make out the words 'Goodnight, Soulmate' and he deletes the message with vigour. Those words are for Sherlock. His mind flicks to Baker Street. Lord only knows what they were doing, most likely fucking. He wants to cry.
The rest of them are just John, and Mycroft isn't so quick to delete them. He's talking about mycroft, to Mycroft. There's warmth in his voice. It's lies, it has to be.
"You like your juice really strong. You had piano lessons when you were a child. And-and when you wake up, in the morning, there's the little bit of hair, that sticks up like-.."
Mycroft can't hear any more, because he's not sure he'll be able to keep a stiff upper lip. He turns to his assistant, who looks eager for his approval, eager for some kind of positive feedback. She's a clever woman, but John's words have no merit.
Mycroft still has London. It's his pride that's wounded, and in bitterness he can't help thinking it belongs to him. John grew up in the east, and that's where he belongs. Mycroft lives in the peninsula, and it's beautiful. All his. Sherlock hasn't managed to steal it, yet.
The midday sun is nice, but not too intensive. It's dying because the sky is overcast. With the feel of the air and the sharpness of the breeze, Mycroft suspects rain. his umbrella always serves a purpose. The feel of something in his hand distracts him from being all alone, completely alone, totally alone. That, and he keeps his more expensive clothes dry.
For hours, he seems to sit, and stay. No doubt, he had work to do, people to humour, projects to run and elections to oversee. London doesn't sleep. Parliament, government affairs don't stop because of Mycroft. He knows this: he's useful, but not irreplaceable.
He starts to leave when the drizzle begins in miserable little rivulets. All of a sudden, it's gotten cold and Mycroft looks around, foolishly, for a half-second. Searching for where someone used to be Things change. People don't.
"Mr. Holmes!" Mycroft never answers to his first name. it's a dreadful habit. He turns, busied with meddlesome umbrella catch. Out in the drizzle there's a small man in a jumper, and he's been looking for Mycroft. There's a bag on his arm. Inside of it is a box. The box is for Mycroft.
He doesn't want it.
John is stealing the last of what Mycroft has. It's infuriating. He turns, managing to put up the umbrella, and continue down the grassy hill, towards the footpath.
"You must be mistaking me for the other Holmes. You know: tall, wears a scarf." He nearly adds 'your lover' but is finding it hard enough to give John to cold shoulder. He wants, instead, to melt into John, gathered up in the smell of sweet sweat and old spice. But he can't. Pride is a funny thing.
"Mycroft!" John's got the nerve to be laughing, and smiling this awful smile It's sideways, and it's playful, too big for his face. Mycroft just wishes he would stop smiling, just for a second. Give him some peace. He continues to walk, but wants to run away jog away, sprint far away from John and that bloody look he's giving Mycroft. "Mycroft, I don't-"
Mycroft's jealousy is fierce and ugly. He turns on John.
"No, you don't. You ca-" And then John does something that's especially brave and especially stupid. He grabs Mycroft and stops him in his tracks, panting.
"Sherlock can make his own bloody dinner , you know," John coughs, and looks hard at Mycroft. The, the penny drops. His face lights up and he shakes his head, bringing his fingers to his lips for a second. "You think I was talking about Sherlock, don't you?" Mycroft doesn't dare look at John, because even he'll admit he's being petulant.
"You said you were warned about him," He protests weakly.
"Sherlock said you were the most dangerous man I'd ever meet. "
"Mycroft." John looks at him, really looks at him and it goes straight to Mycroft's soul. He leans up, taking half of Mycroft's face and goes on his toes to kiss him, fierce and true. John tastes like coffee and commuting. Like salt and warmth, sweet sweat and old spice, like cinnamon.
And Mycroft is overwhelmed, completely overwhelmed, totally overwhelmed.
John turns off the bedside light and leans over to mycroft, kissing him softly, and it lingers. They're left in a darkness that washed over the room. In the dark, Mycroft feels warm from the body next to him. There's silence, too, and he lets it be. For now.