Prologue

"John."

His eyes were all knowing, boring through mine, as per usual. There was something different in his voice though, it was stronger than normal. Firmer and more self-assured. I hope he didn't require too much; I still had to get milk and a pig's cheek, for my rambunctious flat-mate. Mycroft either wanted something and being much more mature than Sherlock, opted to not restort to a petulant whine. Or, perhaps he made his tone hard to conceal a wavering in his voice, a weakening in his mask of control.

That was... potentially interesting. Potentially alarming, as well.

Although, as Sherlock dictates, one musn't write a conclusion until all data has been collected. Perhaps a shock would disturb Mycroft enough for him to get to the point for once in his life.

"Mikey." I greeted in return, followed by a sip of tea.

Cup poised in saucer, he stayed silent. He sighed and an eyebrow raised slightly, as if that alone could brush off any inane chatter that might fall from my tongue.

Eyebrow of exasperation alert.

Shockingly, that eyebrow didn't develop into a rebuke of the nickname. That was just as good as an encoragment from either of the Holmes brothers.

"Did you enjoy the show?" I ventured on, knowing he always had someone manning a camera in my flat. I glanced around the room we were in. It was comfortable, bookshelves and paintings adorned the walls and it was coloured in neutral shades. It must have been his Switzerland room. Which was comforting; we weren't in there for him to attack me.

"I know you have developed a liking for cakes."

He smiled, a flicker of true amusement and fondness shone in his eyes.

"I don't think I've seen Sherlock in such a mess that didn't come from blood in years. Do you know what excited him so about the notion of baking? I can't imagine

him taking such a shine to something so... common."

"I don't know where he got the idea, he just commanded me to buy ingredients, like he does. I believe he might have been trying to study the 'boring' side of humanity

again; he was on the tube for hours the other day. Just going in circles. In the end, I think he underestimated baking, it proved to be not so simple after all."

He sipped his tea and appeared to have slipped into deep thought. I stayed silent; accustomed to this brand of behavior. The familiar silence was also rather comforting.

"John," he repeated and smiled pleasantly, apparently he had found whatever inspiration which he had been looking for. "I require your services."