Mycroft arrived at his brother's room just as the EKG started to wail an alert, its screen disturbingly empty of any sign of a heartbeat. The patient being monitored was surprisingly vocal for a man without a pulse.
"I'm fine! John, you're a doctor, tell them I'm fine!"
Several people who were called by the alarm pushed past Mycroft into the room with the urgent air of those prepped for action, only to skid to a halt at the sight of their not-dying patient who had managed to unhook himself from the EKG before John could stop him. Sending Sherlock an exasperated look, a nurse reached over and turned off the machine, silencing it.
"Sorry," John said for Sherlock, who was glaring defiantly at them. The other doctor's look went beyond exasperated and looked ready to give Mycroft's brother a well deserved scolding, but she somehow managed to contain herself and instead announced that Sherlock's doctor would be there soon to talk to him.
"My doctor is already here!" Sherlock shouted after them as they left, much less urgently than they had arrived. None took any notice.
"Well," Mycroft observed, "That was exciting."
"Dull," Sherlock responded, frowning petulantly, "I'm ready to go home."
"You were in an explosion, Sherlock," John informed him, a resigned, calm air about his tone that suggested this was not the first time he had said this, "We just have to wait a bit to make sure there aren't complications."
"My x-ray was clean."
"And contusions take time to show up. You said I was your doctor; I say stay."
"Dull. You have news." This last bit was addressed so suddenly towards Mycroft that John looked utterly confused and even Mycroft took a moment to realize it was him who was expected to answer.
There were many things Mycroft might have said. 'The last time I saw you, you were lying unconscious in an ambulance. The last time I saw you, you had been stripped almost naked by a madman and I had to watch it all and could do nothing. Just let me look at you, just for a moment, alive and breathing and alert. You are my brother and I care about you.'
What he actually said was, "Moriarty escaped."
Sherlock stared at him, an odd expression upon his face. Perhaps interest, perhaps delight, perhaps anger and fear. Perhaps it was none of these things. For all Mycroft liked to believe he could read his brother like a book, there had always been corners that Sherlock kept hidden, possibly even from himself.
John was easier to read. Shock. Anger. A hint of betrayal. His stance screamed military rather than doctor in that moment.
"What?" he sputtered while Sherlock leaned back, his thoughts racing silently across his eyes, "How?"
"We are looking into that. You will be under guard, of course."
"I don't need more of your nannying, Mycroft!" Sherlock exploded at that, "They'll get in the way. I can take care of myself."
"And the doctor?"
John sputtered indignantly, saying something about Afghanistan and being able to take care of himself. Sherlock was silent, his expression suddenly closed though the anger still glinted from the corners of his eyes.
"And your landlady?" Mycroft continued, his voice soft, "Your associate Miss Hooper? DI Lestrade?"
"Shut up." Then Sherlock rolled over, putting his back to him. Significantly, he said nothing about Mycroft calling off his guard. They both knew that meant it would be allowed. With a patient sigh, Mycroft reached out a hand and put it on his brother's shoulder. The body beneath his hand tensed, but the gesture was allowed.
"Do get well, Sherlock." And then, with a brief nod towards John, he was on his way. There was still a psychopathic crime lord to catch and he trusted that his brother was in good hands.
"And which plan was this, Jim? The plan to get yourself imprisoned? What happened to using the vest?"
"Sorry, pet, I know how you hate rescue missions. But it was all to the best. Much better than that first plan, explosions and death? Boring! No, no, no, no! My way was much better. I finally got to lay my eyes on Holmes. Right in the eyes.
"And? Hold still, now, before you have a new eyebrow piercing. No, Jim, no, a piercing is not the look you want. Just…there. You did get yourself beat up. And for what? To get a close up look of Mr. Holmes's fist?
"His soul, sweetheart, his soul. Chinks and stress. Cracks in the ice."
"You are insane."
"You say that quite fondly. Don't look so worried, pet. I'm fine. You're fine. I didn't even break my toys. Yet."
"What were you looking for? A weakness? Mycroft Holmes has no weaknesses."
"Well," Moriarty murmured, an excited, mad gleam in his eye as he moved his hand to gently prod at the damaged tissue around his nose, "We know he has one."
Author's Note: I should have written this last bit ages and ages ago. I knew exactly where I wanted the story to end, from practically the moment I wrote it. Not to mention it turned out to be quite short. If you want to see what had me so distracted, take a look at the book The Wishing Stone by Mir Foote. If you like my writing, you might possibly like this book as well. Taking into account that it's basically a juvenile/young adult book, has nothing to do with Sherlock, and I don't admit to writing it. Because I'm anonymous. But I do admit to at least knowing who did write it and can say that I enjoyed reading it. And that's why I've been so busy lately and have gotten a bit behind in finishing up my fanfiction stories.
Also…despite the ominous ending of this story, I am not, at this moment, intending a sequel. Which doesn't mean that I won't write one. Just that probably won't. Particularly since I'm still busy with real fiction (and non-fiction).