SPOILERS: The Reichenbach Fall

A/N: Part of my "Sherlock is a Browncoat"-universe; direct follow up to My Kind of Stupid.

Disclaimer: I do not own Sherlock (or Firefly, for that matter) or any of its characters


Curse Your Sudden But Inevitable Betrayal

She knew what he would say if he was here. Alone in her sitting room, Sally imagined him sitting across from her in the empty armchair, fingers steepled together in that annoying way he does when he thinks. "Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal," he'd say, continuing their game even through their hostility, his eyes piercing right through her with an accusatory stare.

But then she'd simply counter, "You're a liar, Sherlock Holmes." Because he was, and now everyone knew it.

And perhaps, if he cared, he might reply, "You can't open the book of my life and jump in the middle."

During her entire career as an officer of the law, she had only ever killed three people. Criminals, of course, but the impact of her quick actions in order to protect the public at large was nothing short of intense and emotional. But she never drove a man to suicide. Well, she obviously never imagined, but there was no denying that her decisions had eventually led to it. If she had only known... She still would have done exactly the same thing. A criminal is a criminal, after all. She was only doing what she thought was right.

There was a sudden buzz at her front door. Standing up, she quickly wiped away a tear she would swear to her death was never there. When she went downstairs to open the door, she was surprised to see a stranger, tall and austere, wearing a very expensive suit and carrying an umbrella and a medium sized bag by his side. His face almost reminded her of someone, but she couldn't place it.

"Sgt. Sally Donovan?" he asked, gazing at her intensely.

"Yes," she said.

"We've never had the pleasure to meet," he said. "My name is Mycroft Holmes."

Holmes.

"Yes," he said, reading her panicked expression. "I'm Sherlock's older brother." She never knew he had siblings, never once thought about his family. "May I please come in?"

"Oh, right..." she said, moving aside to let him enter through the threshold. She led him up two flights of stairs to her third story flat. "Would you like anything to drink? Tea or coffee?" she asked him, offering him the seat in which she had only moments ago imagined Sherlock sitting.

"No, thank you," he said. She sat down opposite him nervously playing with her hands in her lap.

"John has refused to return to Baker Street ever since my brother's death." He said the last word as though it left a bad taste in his mouth. "Therefore, it was left up to myself and Mrs. Hudson to sort through Sherlock's things. This was found in his room." He lifted the bag he had previously been holding and revealed a box. "I felt I should honor his intentions by giving it to you."

Sally gave him a puzzled look as she reached over to take the proffered item. It was gift-wrapped in purple, her favorite color. On the top was a note card, her name written in a simple font. She opened it slowly, careful not to tear the paper too haphazardly. The instant she saw the contents, she knew what it was, tracing her fingers admiringly over the orange yarn.

"A hat?" said Mycroft. Though she guessed, if he was anything like his brother, he already knew from the weight, size, and sound of the material brushing against the inside of the box.

Not just any hat, though: a Jayne hat. "It's an inside joke," she explained.

"I wasn't aware the two of you were that close," he said, staring at her in the same way Sherlock did when trying to analyze someone.

"We, well, uh- we weren't," she said. She barely even knew him, to be honest.

There was a thick moment of silence before Mycroft spoke again. "My brother was an innocent man."

Sally averted her gaze, not wishing to broach this topic with a relative of the deceased. "Although it should be known in all senses of the word," said Mycroft, seeing her hesitance. "I wasn't referring to the legal sense at this time. He may have seemed cold and analytical to the rest of the world, but I knew him. I knew how much he really cared, no matter how much he tried to deny it. As I told John once, Sherlock had the mind to be a great thinker: a scientist or a philosopher. He could have been anything. Yet, he chose to be a detective."

Sally only stared at him, unsure of the proper response. What should she say to a man whose brother she took personal responsibility in destroying? Mycroft, thankfully, continued speaking instead of waiting for her.

"I've learned enough about you, Ms. Donovan, to know that you and my brother didn't exactly get along," he said. "But don't blame yourself. You were merely a pawn in a game you never realized you were playing."

"What's that supposed to mean?" asked Sally.

Instead of answering her directly, Mycroft fixated his gaze on his hand which rested on the handle of his umbrella, flexing and unflexing his joints. "Doubt," he finally said. "Is a powerful weapon. Alone, it is enough even to take down the gods themselves."

She huffed out a laugh. Sherlock, she thought, would have liked being compared to a god.

Mycroft frowned, reading her thoughts. "Sherlock never considered himself a hero, much less a god," he told her. "He stopped believing long ago. Ever since- Well, there's no point in talking about that now." He then rose from his seat. "I've done what I've come here to do. I won't take up any more of your time."

"It was no trouble," said Sally, also standing. "And thank you for the gift."

"I just thought it would be nice to give others some good memories of my brother," he said. "It's the least I can do for him now." He paused for a moment. "It's funny, he always hated coming to me for help, but he left me with the task of tying all his loose ends."

"Oh," was all Sally could think to say.

"Well," said Mycroft. "Good evening, Sergeant." Sally closed the door behind him, holding her breath until she heard the bottom door fall shut as well. Mindlessly, she walked back over to her chair, where the hat still lay in its box. She tried it on and went over to the mirror. He bought me a gift... Why would he do that? Why did he have to be dead?

"Sherlock," she whispered. "I don't know what really happened, but I wish things had been different. I'm sorry."

Staring into the mirror, her image morphed into that of Sherlock's. His eyes pierced into her and his frown gave him an air of superiority. "Coming from you," she could hear him say. "That means almost nothing."

She turned away from the mirror, feeling a bit sick. Ending up in her bedroom, curling up in her bed and still wearing her hat, she fell asleep. Before she did, though, one last thought invaded her mind. Please understand, I tried to do the right thing.

"I know," his voice whispered in her ear, neither an accusation nor a consolation, but the familiarity still welcomed all the same.