Title: Thirteen Hours
Disclaimer: Not mine!
Pairings, Characters: Sherlock/Mycroft brotherly love, Sherlock/John epic friendship, Anthea.
Warnings: Angst, grief, Reichenbach FEELS.
Spoilers: For both seasons, all episodes.
Summary: It takes thirteen hours for Mycroft to discover that Sherlock isn't dead. A breakdown, in both senses of the word.
It takes thirteen hours for Mycroft to discover that Sherlock isn't dead.
In his opinion, that is thirteen hours too long. At some point, when things have calmed down again and when Sherlock is reinstated in 221b with John, Mycroft will do something about this. He cannot go another thirteen hours of wondering, of dreading, of hoping.
He thinks it will kill him.
Hour 1 -
Anthea texts him a very plain, simple text which says: CODE 1.
Code 1 means Sherlock Holmes Suspected Death. Mycroft has received it once before, years ago, when Sherlock had dangerously overdosed and was fighting for his life in hospital. It had been Code 2 then - Code 1 being National Emergency, England Most Likely Doomed - but after those five terrible hours of sitting around in the hospital, waiting for news, Mycroft moved it to the debatably glorious position of Code 1. There was nothing, he realised then, more important to him.
This time he is in the Diogenes Club, and it doesn't matter that he can't make any noise, because his vocal cords have momentarily forgotten to work.
He steps out of the Club after about forty-five minutes of panicked, illogical thoughts, and gets a taxi.
Hour 2 -
Is spent driving around in the taxi, round and round the same roundabout waiting for Anthea to text him with a new location. Every time the taxi driver gets fidgety, Mycroft promises to up his pay that little bit extra.
This hour should be excruciating in its existence, but Mycroft welcomes the momentary rest-bite before more details are sent his way. He can order his thoughts, push the encroaching feeling of horror away, pull himself into some semblance of order before the inevitable tidal wave of information crashes down on him.
Anthea texts him with a location half an hour in, but he makes the taxi drive around for a bit longer before sending him on his way.
By the end of that hour, when they reach St Bart's, the taxi driver's bill is in the hundreds, but Anthea pays it without a murmur.
Hour 3 -
Anthea shows him the CCTV footage of Sherlock jumping off the roof of St Bart's in a darkened room in the hospital. The first time round, Mycroft closes his eyes when Sherlock hits the ground, but keeps his gaze firmly on the screen the second time round.
It hurts every time, and every time he rewinds the footage and watches again. He looks for anything, any tiny crack or flaw in the footage, anything that points to Sherlock having set the whole thing up.
He finds nineteen signs that Sherlock faked it and finds them all redundant. His logic is questionable, his usually perfectly ordered thoughts have been led astray by emotion. He could be looking for signs that are not there, it could be his hope, his desperation to find anything, anything at all, that means he is not the only Holmes brother now left on this earth.
Hour 4 -
He finds John in one of the hospital corridors. John's head is patched up from his collision with the bike, he has scrapes on his hands and face, and although he has been discharged, he clearly has not found the energy to leave the hospital. He's sitting beside one of the ranks of plastic seats - not on one of them, but beside them, as if he collapsed there. Maybe he did.
Mycroft abandons all pretence at order and sits on the grubby floor next to him. It's cold and the corridor is empty, and John does not look at him.
After a moment John's arms curl around himself, as if he is forcibly holding himself together. "Did he fake it?" he asks, voice quiet.
It is something to Mycroft that John considered this as an option also. It shows how well he fitted - how well he fits, please - with Mycroft's bratty little brother. And so Mycroft hates it, absolutely hates it, when he has to reply with a rather useless, "I don't know."
He looks at John just in time to see his face crumple like a paper bag, and then he looks away again. The corridor echoes with John's dry, choked back sobs for a long time, and Mycroft can think of absolutely nothing to say.
John was holding himself together long enough for someone to tell him everything was all right, and now Mycroft has clearly shattered that.
Hour 5 -
"I believe I have a meeting with the EU members," he says to Anthea when he gets into his car.
Anthea gives him a slightly shocked look. "I…was just about to cancel it, sir."
"Nonsense." Mycroft looks out of the window and says, utterly calmly, "Life goes on."
There is a long pause, and then Anthea says in the same monotone, "Yes, sir," and the car moves off.
Hours 6 - 8 -
Mycroft sits through these hours in a meeting room in Downing Street and listens to several different people rambling on, and sees Sherlock's blood splatters on every one of their faces.
He still concentrates exactly on what they are saying, how they are saying it and why they are saying it perfectly, though, because he is a Holmes.
The thrill of new discoveries is gone, though - that man is doing it because of this man, this man is doing this because of that problem, it doesn't matter anymore.
None of it does.
Hour 9 -
Anthea says, when he gets back in the car, "Sir, the Prime Minister wants to see you in - " and he says, "No."
"Cancel all my appointments. I wish to go home."
He almost said, I want to go home, like a child, like a rather lost, desperate child.
Anthea sounds relieved when she says, "Of course, sir."
Hour 10 -
He searches the house thoroughly for signs of Sherlock.
There are none. There is no brother sitting in the kitchen going through his fridge, or perching on the dining room table like he used to when he was a boy and taking sneaky sips of Mycroft's whiskey, or lying on the rug by the fire in the reception room. There is no hint that Sherlock has been in the house at all.
Sherlock hasn't set foot in the house for years and Mycroft is the only one who lives there now, but for some reason the Holmes Manor now feels emptier than ever.
Hour 11 -
Mycroft takes some whiskey - not too much - and sits down at the dining table to do some paperwork. He works for half an hour and then sits and stares blankly at the pile of papers for another half an hour, completely unaware of what he is doing.
The house is so utterly quiet.
Hour 12 -
Mycroft breaks, unexpectedly, in the middle of going to stoke the fire - one minute he is striding across the room, the next he is curled up in one of the chairs, sobbing into his drawn up knees. He cries like a five year old boy and is thoroughly glad that there is no one around to witness it.
Hour 13 -
Unlucky for some. Mycroft sits on the floor - unwilling to move from his spot - and badgers Anthea through texts for more information, more information, more. She tells him about Moriarty's body, she tells him what Sherlock's last words to John were, she tells him all the information that was in Sherlock's phone which was lying by Moriarty's corpse. She tells him more information than he needs, useless facts, as if she knows the sound of such facts will soothe Mycroft, will calm him. He makes sure his texts are always composed and authoritative, but that woman knows everything about him.
Thirteen hours and fifty-five minutes in, Mycroft realises the last thing he said to Sherlock was by voicemail and he said, "Answer your phone, Sherlock, I don't have all the time in the world to wait on your ridiculous tantrums."
He would wait all the time in the world now - and more - just to hear Sherlock's voice again.
Hour 14 -
The doorbell rings and no one will ever make Mycroft admit that he ran to get it, not even on pain of death, but of course he did.
Sherlock is standing there, arm in a sling and enormous bags under his eyes, but alive and whole, entirely alive, entirely whole.
He says, "Hello Mycroft."
And the past thirteen hours melt away like rain.