'How was Mycroft?' Sherlock asked, as Kate walked through the door of 221B.
She narrowed her eyes at him, trying to control her anger. He knew that she hated it when he did that. 'You could at least pretend that you didn't know where I've been,' she said levelly as she hung up her coat.
He looked confused. 'What would be the point of that?' he asked. 'You've obviously been to see Mycroft. Its been eating away at you for days, and you've been jittery since last night. I presume that was when you arranged the meeting?'
'Don't humour me by trying to pretend that you don't know!' Kate exploded, and he laughed and wrapped his arms around her resisting form, as she remained straight backed, arms still down by her side.
'You see?' he said, still laughing. 'I can't win. When I tell you what you've been doing then you get annoyed; when I pretend that I don't know then you get annoyed. What do you want me to do?'
'You could have just talked to me about it, when you worked out that I was going to see him,' Kate said, relenting and wrapping her arms around him, relaxing her head into his chest, allowing herself to enjoy the comfort of his arms around her.
'I assumed that it you wanted me to know, then you would have brought up the subject yourself,' he said quietly. 'This was between you and Mycroft, it had nothing to do with me.'
'It was about him accepting us and leaving us alone,' Kate said, pulling back slightly to look up at him, but Sherlock shook his head.
'I don't need Mycroft's acceptance, Kate, you know that. I never have.'
'But don't you want to stop having to jump at shadows too?'
'I'm not afraid of Mycroft,' he said, an edge of disdain in his voice. 'And I don't believe that he's stupid enough to try to come between us again.
'He told me that he wouldn't,' Kate said. 'but there was more than that. He looked - tired, Sherlock, distracted.'
'Mycroft's never distracted,' Sherlock said, his head tilting slightly as he considered.
'Whatever happened on his recent trip, I think that it's rattled him. He had two protection offices with him. He said that they were there 'in light of recent events,' and it wasn't me that they were there to protect him from. I think that he needs you, Sherlock. So can't you at least try to make your peace with him?'
'You want me to offer to help Mycroft, even assuming that he would accept such an offer, after everything thats happened in the last few weeks?'
'He's still your brother,' Kate said. 'Just - text him or something will you. Let him know that normal service is resumed.'
'He'll ask if he needs my help,' Sherlock said stubbornly,
'Will he? He hasn't so far.'
'Perhaps he doesn't want my help.'
'And perhaps he knows what your answer will be.'
'Kate - ', Sherlock said warningly.
'I think that he might be in trouble, Sherlock, but he's too proud to ask for your help. If you don't help him, I think that you might regret it.'
'You're worried about him?' Sherlock asked, 'you're worried about him after everything that he's put you through?' He shook his head, 'Why do you care?'
'Because I care about you, and because he's your brother,' Kate said, firmly. 'Family is important, Sherlock.'
'Like yours is important to you?' he asked softly.
'That's below the belt,' she said, looking down, then working it out, looked up again to meet his ice-blue gaze. 'It won't work, you know. You can't turn this into an argument to deflect the conversation away from Mycroft.'
'Am I that obvious?'
'Only to me, I suspect.'
Sherlock walked away in frustration, throwing himself down on the sofa, burying both of his hands in his hair, as if he could somehow pull out the relevant stream of thought. 'You're asking me to change my entire personality, Kate.'
'No, I'm asking you to forgive your brother, or if you can't forgive, then at least to try to understand.'
'But I do understand, I understand perfectly,' Sherlock said, hands templed under his chin now, eyes closed. 'Mycroft is unable to keep himself from meddling in my life.'
'Because he cares about you.'
'Is that honestly what you think?' Sherlock snapped, opening his eyes and looking at her.
'Yes, it is,' Kate said, coming to sit next to his prone form on the sofa, holding his gaze, until he shook his head in defeat.
'You're not going to let this go, are you?'
'Look at it this way. Anything that's got Mycroft rattled has to be worth your interest, surely?'
He grinned suddenly, with one of those mercurial changes in mood that she had come to expect from him, and swung his legs off the sofa, nearly knocking Kate onto the floor in the process.
'Where are you off too?' she asked confused, as he reached for his coat and his keys.
'To see Mycroft, of course; see what trouble he's got himself into this time. Come with me, if you want?'
'No, its fine, I'll stay here; let you sort things out with Mycroft,' she said as he paused with one hand on the door lock, before bounding back across the room to kiss her, and then the door had slammed behind him and he was gone.
Kate shook her head at the sound of his footsteps disappearing down the stairs, and then seconds later, the noise of the street door slamming behing him. Unable to resist, she lifted the corner of the curtain to watch his coated figure disappearing with that effortless grace down Baker Street. Life with Sherlock Holmes would never be dull; and she wouldn't have had it any other way.
So that really is it - at least I think it is... The end of this story; but not of course, the end of Sherlock and Kate, who I suspect will have many more stories to come.
Thank you all so much for reading, and reviewing, and giving me such brilliant ideas. Rewriting this story has been a complete joy, and I think that the second version is a much better and complex story than the first, but I'd love to know what you think. Also any more ideas for what Sherlock and Kate did next, please let me know!