Author's Note: I'm sorry, but this idea would just not leave me alone. I tried to get my school work done, but Sherlock and Mycroft were having this conversation in my head and it was very distracting. I hope you like it - the tension between what we say and what we mean, mixed with a little fluff, mixed with a little brotherly angst. Anyhow, please read and enjoy, and please give me some reviews, I hate not knowing what you're thinking! PS - I know it's a little confusing moving between thoughts and words but try as I might, docManager wouldn't allow me to do anything but italics, I'm really very sorry.

Well, I will now try to go and get my real work done, haha.

It was raining the day Mycroft Holmes met John Watson in the park. Just a little, barely a drizzle, but there it was. The elder Holmes was taking one of his "meditative" walks – he found that regular doses of fresh air tended to calm the stress of being the British navy, British secret service, CIA, etc… or perhaps it was the stress of being an older brother – the man honestly couldn't tell you which took more out of him. Either way, he was rather surprised to find a familiar army doctor sitting on a bench all by his lonesome.

"Dr. Watson," Mycroft greeted, helping himself to the seat to the doctor's left.

John tried not to frown, but Mycroft was possibly the last person he'd have chosen to meet on such an afternoon. "Ah, Mycroft," he grimaced.

Mycroft pretended not to notice John's displeasure. "What brings you out on such a gloomy afternoon?"

John shrugged. "Nothing in particular," he said, trying to sound as casual as possible.

Bags under the eyes, hastily tucked handkerchief, tousled hair, wet eyelashes, jacket that was certainly not meant for the weather. Left the flat in a hurry, then, left due to some overwhelming emotional upset… And Mycroft, having known John for many a year, knew the only thing that caused John any sort of overwhelming emotion was… "I see Sherlock had the good sense to remain indoors on such a day."

"Good sense," John scoffed. "Sure, right."

"Something the matter, Dr. Watson?"

Yeah, John thought, I'm bloody tired of being your brother's emotional punching bag. "Nope," John smiled sardonically, "All good here, thanks."

"Ah," Mycroft laughed a little, "So you've been sitting out here for…" Mycroft looked John up and down, "approximately three and a quarter hours, crying, because you're so very… happy?"

John rolled his eyes. Great, more mind games. "Oh, bugger off, Mycroft."

Mycroft looked away from John and out over the damp grounds. "Well, what did he do this time?"

Broke my bloody heart. "Nothing."

"Fiercely loyal, as always, doctor," Mycroft smiled, "But I trust you're growing weary of defending a thankless friend?"

John caved. "Thankless? He's ruddy insufferable."

Mycroft kept silent, letting the little crack in the dam of John's emotional defenses crumble and give way to an outpouring of…

"Fucking miserable tyrant – let him walk all over me, don't I? Buy the groceries, make the tea, follow even the most asinine instructions to the letter, cancel dates, miss work, walk blindly into danger, and never ask a bloody question. Why? Why am I such a dismal coward?" Because I love him.

"I'm assuming…"

"I made one simple request – 'Sherlock,' I said, 'please, if you're going to go off and get yourself killed, please at least let me know'"… Because if you die, I want to be the one dying right beside you… "Because the idiot doesn't seem to have a whiff of common sense. I'm practically on-call for danger. Come hell or high-water. And he just can't bloody listen."

"And he …"

"Stumbles in last night, ruddy collapses in the doorway. Finally got him breathing, at least, and all the bastard could do was chuckle and say, 'Well, that certainly didn't go as planned.'" … Didn't even notice how panicked I was; said nothing about my worried tears

"So you…"

"I won't take it anymore, Mycroft," … Of course I will, I always will … "He's so absolutely intent on getting himself killed" … which would destroy me … "He won't let me just help him" … hold him, comfort him, kiss him … "And if the only thing I'm good for is the cooking, I'm bloody finished."

Mycroft sat silent for a minute. "I understand completely."

When Mycroft greeted Mrs. Hudson at the door of 221B Baker Street, the good landlady gave him a rather conspiratorial wink and said: "He's upstairs."

Mycroft nodded his thanks and followed the sound of the Bartok Sonata on violin, in all its chilling glory, up the stairs and into the living room. Sherlock was standing by the window, and he smiled ironically at his brother when he entered, hitting a particularly violent string of notes.

"Will you put it down for a moment, Sherlock, we need to talk."

Sherlock played a little louder and a little harsher in response.

"Sherlock," Mycroft scolded, wincing.

Sherlock disengaged the violin with a flourish and set it on a pillow. "Yes, dear brother, what is it?"

Mycroft made himself comfortable on the sofa. "I see you've gotten yourself rather banged up recently," and he gestured to Sherlock's blackened eye and the bandaging – must have been administered by John – around the detective's torso.

Sherlock laughed and plopped down in his chair as if to prove his lack of concern for his own injuries.

"Do be careful, Sherlock. You fail to impress me with your absurd antics, so reopening that dreadful-looking wound would be pointless indeed."

Sherlock pouted, but only for a moment. Then his eyes narrowed. "So how was he?" he asked.

"I'm sorry, how was-"

"Oh don't play games with me, Mycroft. You've obviously just seen John. How was he?"

Mycroft's eyes narrowed dangerously. "How do you think he was?"

Two can play at this game. "How should I know? The man's been acting absolutely ridiculously since last night."

"And why do you think that was, Sherlock?"

Because he was worried about me. Obviously. "How should I know?"

"I thought you knew everything," Mycroft mocked.

About John? Certainly. "Hardly."

"Why would you do that to him, Sherlock? Why do you do it again and again and again?"

Because if I let John get too close, I'll destroy him. "Do what?"

"I'm losing my patience, Sherlock."

"Mine was lost the moment you sat down. Please don't let the door hit you on the way out."

Mycroft stood. "You will listen to me."

Sherlock stayed silent. As much as he hated it, his brother still intimidated him at times.

"Now," Mycroft began more kindly. "I saw John in the park today and he was a bloody mess. Why do you play these games with him? Let him in and then push him away."

"I don't-"

"I've watched you do it for years, Sherlock, do not insult my intelligence by insinuating otherwise. You show John affection, you make him feel important, and then you shut off, back away, and play the aloof sociopath."

"That is not playing, Mycroft."

A beat, and then: "…So you don't care for John Watson, then?"

…Care for him? I'd give my life for that silly, stubborn, wonderful person…


Sherlock stood angrily and paced towards the window. "This is none of your business, Mycroft."

"John Watson has worked miracles on you, little brother," Mycroft intoned, more fondly than before, "It is my business to look out for what is good for you. John is very good for you."

Of course he is. "Of course he is."

"And you're ruining it."

Sherlock scoffed. "Please. Mycroft, what could you possibly know about-"

But the danger was back in Mycroft's eye. "About love?" he challenged. "Much more than you might imagine."

Sherlock frowned, and Mycroft continued.

"You're going to lose him, Sherlock."

Never. John will be mine forever, he must be … "No."

"He's not made of stone, Sherlock. He's not like … us."

Of course he's not. John is made of fuzzy jumpers and shower songs and warm tea in the evenings; everything soft and beautiful and kind. "I – I don't understand what you're getting at, Mycroft."

"As intolerably good as Dr. Watson may be, he is not a saint. He can't run on fumes forever."

Sherlock sat back in his chair and steepled his long fingers beneath his chin. "What would you have me do?"

Mycroft sighed. There now, they had gotten past all the rubbish. Now his brother would listen to him. "Tell him you care about him as much as he cares about you-"

And admit that I have a weakness? "Mycroft…"

"You know he's in love with you, Sherlock."

Obviously. But … it was nice to hear. "Yes."

"I understand your reservations. But please, for all our sakes, give the man something."

Whether he knows it or not, I have already given John Watson everything. I am his. "I understand."

Mycroft almost smiled. "Good," he said cautiously.

There was tension for a moment. Mycroft wondering whether or not his brother would actually take his well-intentioned advice; Sherlock wondering whether or not letting everything out into the open would in fact be such a good idea… It was not his fear of rejection that held him back. No. John, whether he'd intended to or not, had already given Sherlock every proof in the world that he was Sherlock's for the taking, if only the obdurate consulting detective would cash in on the offer. But loving John – loving John openly and selfishly and recklessly – could pose any number of difficulties. Not least of which was the alarming reality that love did not last forever. If Sherlock were the first to grow cold in his affections he would despise himself for hurting the only best friend he'd ever had. And if John were to grow cold … well, that didn't bear thinking of. Either way, admitting to another human being that they had complete control over him was not something Sherlock had ever thought he might be contemplating doing. But then, it was John …

"Well," Mycroft said, as the sound of footsteps drifted up the stairs, "I had best leave you to think it over."

Sherlock swallowed uneasily, and nodded his goodbye to his brother wordlessly because suddenly John was standing in the doorway, looking from one to the other of the Holmes brothers self-consciously.

Mycroft left without a word, and John watched him go before turning back to Sherlock.

"What, um, was all that about?" he asked.

Sherlock shrugged. "Just dropped by to stick his nose in where it doesn't belong, as per usual."

"Oh," John hovered in the doorway, "right."

Sherlock watched John shuffle uncomfortably and there was a dull, guilty pain somewhere in his lower abdomen. "Would you like some tea, John?" Please forgive me; I've been an inconsiderate ass.

"Uh … sure." I'm so sorry I ran out. I missed you, God, even if it was just for the afternoon. "I'll put the kettle on."

"No no, John, I'll do it." I love you, John Watson.