The 7 Reactions

A/N: Hello! I got a request to continue my fic the 7 Visitors, and decided to write a sequel. It would make more sense if you read that first though.

I also ship Irene and Sherlock, so Sherlock and John are not gay in this story, but they are definitely very close.

Enjoy xx

Disclaimer: I do not own Sherlock, or the BBC, I don't even own the poster (yet). All rights belong to the BBC, the creators of the show and of course Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

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Mycroft

Mycroft knew.

He had known from the beginning.

Looking back, he was extremely relieved that he had found out before he had read the newspapers.

Otherwise, it would have been hell.

The guilt would have killed him, eventually.

The guilt still over powered him now.

He had retired to one of his private houses in the country, needing a weekend off to think about things after his conversation with John.

He had seen what the newspapers were saying, he had read all their speculations about Sherlock being a fraud.

All this was his fault.

He had had absolutely no idea how Sherlock was dealing with this. Mycroft had gone back to being cold and emotionless, pretending he didn't care and told himself that he had meddled enough in Sherlock's life.

But he certainly hadn't expected to see Sherlock turn up at his doorstep.

Sherlock looked different.

Colder somehow, and even more inhuman than when Mycroft had last seen him.

But there was something else. He looked broken, shaken and utterly defeated. The spark that had always been present in his eyes had been extinguished. He had simply stood on the doorstep, utterly soaked by the rain with that dead look in his eyes, staring at Mycroft with no emotion.

Mycroft had been unable to speak for a moment, but has simply stood aside and let him in, closing his eyes, guilt once again overpowering him.

Sherlock had barely spoken the whole evening, but had disappeared into one of the countless rooms on the second floor.

Several hours and cold silences later, the full story finally came out. Sherlock briefly told Mycroft about he had had to fake his own suicide in order to ensure the safety of his own friends.

His little brother forever declared a fraud.

Such a brilliant mind wasted and destroyed.

And it was all Mycroft's doing.

Mycroft's cold expression betrayed nothing; all was calm on the outside. But inside him a storm raged. Feelings and emotion tore through him like a tornado, ripping him apart from the inside.

Mycroft had never particularly wanted a little brother. He was ten years older than Sherlock, and he had always been responsible for looking after him. Even though he didn't really love Sherlock as much as he should have, there was feeling under the cold façade. It sickened Mycroft that it was him who had killed Sherlock Holmes in the end.

The one person Sherlock should have been able to rely on.

He slowly put a hand over his face. He couldn't face Sherlock.

What made it all worse was that Sherlock told the story in a clipped emotionless voice. Mycroft would have preferred it if he had shouted.

Sherlock's voice did choke up slightly when he spoke about leaving John and Mrs Hudson. Mycroft knew that these were the two people that Sherlock was extremely close to. He loved John as he would love a brother, and Mrs Hudson gave him all the love and affection that his own mother never did.

Sherlock refused to talk to Mycroft properly after he told his story, but simply stated that Moriarty's people might still be after him, and that he needed to disappear. He wasn't sure for how long.

Sherlock did quietly ask Mycroft to make sure that John and Mrs Hudson would be alright, and to observe them, at least from a distance.

The next day, Sherlock had been ready to go by morning. Both Sherlock and Mycroft had remained almost utterly silent during the farewell. Mycroft sipped Sherlock a piece of paper, with two number sequences on it.

One was for a bank account Mycroft had made for Sherlock the night before, in case he would need fast access to money while he was on the run.

The other was the number to Mycroft's private and virtually untraceable phone.

Mycroft knew that he could never express his caring for Sherlock in any other way than this slip of paper.

Pathetic.

Mycroft wasn't sure what emotion overtook him when Sherlock left.

It sickened him that it had once again been up to his little brother to right the wrongs Mycroft had made.

His little brother had had to rid the world of Moriarty.

His little brother had had to abandon all his friends and allies to protect them from death.

And now he was on the run. He had been declared as a cheater and a fraud by the media.

Mycroft shook his head.

There was nothing he could do anymore.

Except ensure Sherlock's safety.

He sent a memo to several people, telling them to make sure that a picture of Sherlock's body would get into all the papers. Sherlock wanted people to believe he was dead, and this was the best way to arrange it.

He went back to work the next day, ignoring the looks his colleagues gave him.

He let Mrs Hudson and John arrange the funeral.

They had been the ones Sherlock had died for.

Mycroft didn't think he could be counted under Sherlock's friends anymore.

He had said it himself to John Watson, so long ago.

"I am the only thing close to a friend Sherlock Holmes is capable of having."

"What's that?"

"An enemy."

How true that sentence was!

2 weeks later, he visited Sherlock's grave for the first but final time.

Sherlock Holmes was dead.

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Irene

Irene Adler had been utterly shocked when she heard the news.

She had read it in the papers.

He had sent her one text before, simply saying:

Thank you for dinner.

Yours

SH

She knew then, but hoped and prayed that the text didn't mean what she thought it meant. She and Sherlock had texted a lot after Karachi, whenever they couldn't see each other.

After the initial shock had passed, she found herself wondering whether or not Sherlock could possibly be faking his own death. She had, after all, already done the same.

She threw caution to the winds, and went to London, needing to see. She went to 221B in disguise.

John's heartbroken expression was all she needed for confirmation. He truly believed his friend was dead.

She asked around subtly, and found out what she needed to know.

She returned to her house in New Zealand, feeling…empty.

This was the first man she had ever allowed herself to properly care for, the only man she had ever loved.

She wished she could have seen him one last time before he died, wished she could have had just a few minutes with him, to look at him properly again, to hear his voice again, to feel him touch her again.

She promised herself not to cry because of his death, he wouldn't have wanted that. He would have seen it as a weakness.

She couldn't stop the tears though, and wished he could sit by her and wipe them away.

2 months later, he suddenly turned up at her doorstep.

She thought she was dreaming at first.

He looked so different. His clothes were worn and torn at the edges; his hair was matted and untamed; he was unshaven and thinner than she had ever seen him.

But what scared her most were his eyes. They were cold and hollow.

She took a deep shuddering breath and slowly extended a hand, tracing his cheek, making sure he was real and not a figment of her imagination. She felt him relax slightly under the touch.

She withdrew her hand and let him in, neither of them saying a word.

Wordlessly she went into the kitchen to get him food, but he shook his head. He seemed to have lost the ability to speak. Instead, he dragged her to the sofa and simply held her close to him, closing his eyes and letting her touch comfort him. He wanted to forget.

Irene stayed with him, relief washing over her like waves.

He was alive.

He must have been on the run for quite some time. He was never one to need physical closeness with somebody, but now he held her as if she were his life line.

She took comfort in his arms, but she could see that he was exhausted and hungry. She was surprised that he hadn't collapsed yet.

"Sherlock" she began, and saw the way he stared at her. His eyes were still cold an empty, but more human that they had been two hours ago.

He sighed and took a deep breath. "Is it okay if I explain tomorrow?"

His voice was still deep and soothing, but there was an edge to it. It sounded like he hadn't spoken in a very long time.

She nodded. "You need sleep" she told him firmly. "And food. And a shower." She smiled lightly. "The last being the most urgent".

One corner of Sherlock's lip turned up in a slight smirk and he nodded. He went to the bathroom (he knew the way well) and Irene noticed his sight limp.

She was worried about him.

While he was showering she went into the kitchen to prepare him some war food. He looked starved.

She told him he needed to sleep, and even threatened to knock him out with a drug if that's what it took. Sherlock decided to take the easier route.

"Stay" was all he managed before his eyes closed.

She did.

He looked better when he woke up, his skin wasn't as chalky and gaunt and there was a slight spark in his eyes. He told her about what had happened, what Moriarty had managed to achieve.

He stayed with her for months after that.

He did try to leave, several times, but she wouldn't let him. Usually, the resulting discussions ended in loud arguments, with Sherlock trying to make it clear to Irene that as long as he stayed with her, she wouldn't be safe. Irene always stubbornly responded that she didn't care.

She did visit his grave sometimes, even though she knew he was alive.

Sherlock left eventually, both he and Irene needed breathing space. She didn't see him for 3 months after that. She received no text from him, no note, not a single message to tell her that he was still alive.

Those 3 months were hell.

But in the end he always came back.

Because this was Sherlock Holmes, and he always survived.

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Hope you liked it, and please review! I don't know who will be in the next chapter but probably Molly and possibly John.

Laura xx