A/N: I know, another post-Reichenbach fic.
I hope it's not OOC.
Wonderful beta by jack63kids, again thank you very much!
Disclaimer: Characters don't belong to me, I just borrowed them, not for profit, so don't sue me.
Mycroft was tired. Sherlock had died over a week ago and now his brother was tired of concerned looks from his staff, tired of guilt, of sleeplessness. Doctor Watson was right: Mycroft was at least partly responsible for Sherlock's Fall. Fall from grace and his suicide.
The Yard was in big trouble as well. Sherlock had helped during so many cases that now everyone convicted had a great reason for an appeal. Fortunately, proof was always there, thoroughly catalogued before Sherlock got to the scene. He just pointed things out and interpreted them, there was no possibility of him planting anything, so a good prosecutor could keep criminals behind bars. Not to mention that Sherlock rarely appeared in police reports as "consultant". It didn't change the fact that Greg Lestrade's days as DI were numbered. He would fall with Sherlock.
"Dear God, what a mess," Mycroft sighed, looking out of his car's windows on his way home from work.
"Sir?", his PA piped up, looking up from her mobile. He just dismissed her with short wave of his hand.
He was so tired that he could barely stand when he finally got back to his house. He sent his PA to her home, bid her goodbye and went to the door.
Everything felt colder and alien after his brother's death, even though Sherlock wasn't a frequent guest in this flat. His place wasn't "home" anymore, just a "house". His world seemed so empty. He still hadn't explained to his mother what happened to her younger son. Mummy knew Sherlock was dead, she didn't know why.
'I helped to kill him,' Mycroft thought. He still could see hatred in Doctor Watson's eyes. And Mycroft hated himself. And he knew that Sherlock would hate him too, if he was still alive and figured out how Moriarty got so much information on the detective.
Well, if John knew, then Sherlock probably had, too. The detective probably had more important things to do before his Fall, than to spit venom at the very person who made it all possible.
When Mycroft finally stepped inside his house, everything seemed normal. Just as clean and cold as he left it. But the further he went towards his living room, the more distinct was feeling of someone else's presence.
It didn't matter. It took some guts to hurt government official like Mycroft, so he felt safe, just slightly insulted.
There he was, by the window, standing with his back towards Mycroft. The curtains were drawn. Tall, thin figure of a man, dressed in dark-blue jeans, black sweatshirt and running shoes, with short cropped dark hair. He held his hands together (slender, long fingers) behind his back, stood with his feet slightly apart. Figure of self-confidence and strength – not necessarily of body, but definitely of mind.
"Who are you and what do you want?" Mycroft asked. The figure by the window didn't move.
"I want you to do something decent for once, Mycroft," the figure replied.
Mycroft didn't blink. Didn't drop his briefcase or umbrella in shock. He just stared. He was sure he hadn't gone crazy, so the only possible explanation for why the man by the window spoke with his late brother's voice quickly came to his mind.
"Who else knows you're alive, Sherlock?" he asked. "Who helped you with faking your death?"
Sherlock turned, so Mycroft could see his face. The Younger Holmes looked tired and haggard, but he still had fire in his eyes. They shone with anger.
"People who were actually trustworthy and not in immediate danger," Sherlock practically spat.
"Not John," Mycroft guessed. Sherlock nodded. "Why?"
"There were snipers with guns trained at him, Lestrade and Mrs. Hudson. They'd shoot if they didn't see me fall," Sherlock explained, even though he clearly didn't want to. He came here with something to gain, not to explain. "They are still not safe, but you can do something about my and Lestrade's reputations".
"You know his career is being destroyed because of what press is claiming about me. I want you to clear my name. You made it all possible, you fix it."
"If only I knew how, Sherlock," Mycroft replied, stepping a little closer to his brother. He looked down, at the floor. "John figured it out. John knew how Moriarty got all the information about you. I was impressed. Well, I would have been, if the next thing I heard about you wasn't that you were dead."
"He's not as dumb as everyone claims him to be," Sherlock said. He took a deep breath. "Police recovered my phone from St. Bart's rooftop. Make them listen to the last audio recording."
"What is it?" Mycroft asked. Another step closer to Sherlock.
"My last conversation with Moriarty. Everything is there: how he broke into the Bank Of England, the Tower, the prison, how he created Brook and why I had to jump; and if you get one more step closer to me I swear I'll beat the living daylights out of you."
The last two sentences blended together, spoken rapidly, but Mycroft heard the threat anyway.
He froze. He didn't take Sherlock's words seriously, but he needed to understand where his aggression came from.
"Sher..." he started, but Sherlock cut him off.
"You sold me," he spat. "You knew how dangerous Moriarty was, and you sold me to him, my life story, my reputation, for nothing."
"Don't you dare," Sherlock said angrily, through clenched teeth. His grey-green eyes were burning. "No information you probably obtained was worth it. My whole life is gone just because Moriarty 'opened up' when you talked to him. Are you proud of yourself? What were you thinking? For God's sakes!"
Sherlock turned away, burying his fingers in his weirdly short hair.
Mycroft never saw his brother so angry. Sherlock usually was cold and composed, but now Mycroft was genuinely scared of him.
When Sherlock spoke again, he was calm again.
"They are still in danger; John, Lestrade, Mrs. Hudson. I want you to keep an eye on them. I want you to keep them safe. Do you understand? They're safe while I'm gone, but there's no guarantee..."
Sherlock sighed. He didn't look at Mycroft.
The elder Holmes watched his brother for a minute, then said quietly:
"I had this conversation with John, you know. About giving Moriarty perfect ammunition to destroy you. I said I was sorry. And I still am."
For the first time in his life, Mycroft felt like crying. His brother was alive, yes, but hated him and had every reason to.
"I promise I'll do everything to clear your name. I promise I'll protect your friends. I'll do everything to make this up to you. I'm so sorry, Sherlock, I hope one day you'll be able to forgive me. I know I won't forgive myself."
Sherlock looked at him.
"I thought caring was not an advantage," he said quietly. Suddenly he looked lost.
"You're my little and only brother," Mycroft said by way of an explanation. "I'm sorry I failed you, but I'll make sure that you'll have something to get back to when it's safe."
Sherlock just nodded.
He didn't move when Mycroft stepped closer to him, deposited his umbrella and briefcase on the floor and did the last thing Sherlock expected from him: he embraced him, held him close. Sherlock returned the gesture and they stood in the middle of Mycroft's living room in silence.
"If you need my help with anything, just call me," Mycroft whispered to his brother's ear after a few seconds, "I'm so glad you're alive."
"Moriarty is still winning. He may be dead, but he is still getting his way. Get that phone, Mycroft, clear my name."
"I will. I'll start today. Don't worry, brother. They all will be sorry for believing those lies."
Sherlock stepped away, not looking at him.
"I have to go," he whispered.
"I have your back, as people would say," Mycroft replied. His heart nearly broke: Sherlock not only looked lost, but sounded lost as well. Like he was five year old, lonely, sad child with no friends, no-one to turn to. All because of Mycroft. "Don't worry. Stay safe."
He watched his brother leave.
He picked up his phone and dialed a number.