A/N: Dark. Mentions of suicide and cutting. Mostly Anthea & Mycroft, but a few mentions of Sherlock and John are thrown in. I own nothing.


Work. Soothe ruffled feathers and threaten those that are threats. Intimidation, bribery, whatever is necessary. Family. Control out-of-control little brother and prevent Mummy from finding out about his drug use while preventing said drug use. Try to convince the little idiot that he actually cares about him. When that fails, ensure that the doctor is taking good care of him. Personal life. Come home from whichever country, after speaking to whichever diplomat, and sit in the silence. Loneliness. Something that he'd never admit to. He's Mycroft Holmes, the Iceman, the man without emotions. Nothing affects him, and yet it does. He'll never admit to it, but you don't work with him as long as I have without seeing it. The scars, the marks…crisscrossing as they trailed up his arms. A pattern that spoke of years of the same self-destructive tendency.

The first time I saw it was years ago, only a few months after I'd started working for him. The job appeared to be simple, just remember what he told you to remember and flirt with a politician when necessary. I'd come to his place, as requested hours earlier, before he went AWOL for three hours. Knocking, I received no reply, so I opened the door (what kind of powerful government official leaves his door unlocked?) and walked into the house. It was beautiful, like something out of a magazine. I was about to call out for him when I heard a noise from behind a door a short way down the hall. I headed towards the door (slightly paranoid because of the threatening letter he had received earlier that morning) and when he didn't answer me, I opened the door. I sometimes wish that I hadn't.

He was sitting on the floor, staring with morbid fascination at his arm, his left arm, while blood trickled down from the marks caused by the bloody razor in his opposite hand. When he glanced up at me, there was a spark of…something in his eyes, something that frightened me. Since I was hired as his assistant, I had dealt with terrorists, corrupt politicians, hostile governments, death threats…all in a day's work when working for someone as powerful as Mycroft Holmes, no matter how "minor" he claimed his position was. There was never a time when I was truly scared before then.

I tried to stop him. Each request was met with a curt "I hired you as my assistant, not as my doctor" and an instruction to get back to work. Sometimes, at the end of a particularly long day, he would roll up his shirtsleeves and I could see the scars. I never could make him stop. The stress from his job, from trying to do everything, was too much. Whatever anyone thought, including himself, Mycroft Holmes was just a man, and every man has their breaking point. Every time I saw those scars, I wondered how long it would be before he took that final step, before he cut too deeply, either intentional or not. I would find him lying on his bathroom floor, blood pooled around him because even Mycroft Holmes is human, and even Mycroft Holmes can die.

When it was announced that Sherlock jumped, I nearly laughed at the irony. One brother takes his life and makes the papers and the other has been so close to doing the same for years, and their response to that is to pile more work on him. He has to work harder after that, and the cuts are deeper. He cuts to forget the stress, the disdain, the mockery. He cuts to forget that his little brother committed suicide, gave into the darkness that hovered around him for so long. I actually thought the doctor was helping him. This is the longest Sherlock had gone without drugs, and it was to keep his doctor happy. And the poor fool was blissful unaware of that fact, and seemed to not comprehend just how hard his flatmate was trying.

I've been working for Mycroft for a while now, years really. Every day, I think about what to say to him. What can I say that will convince him that this isn't the solution to his problems? What can I say to stop him from going the same way his brother did? Every day, three little words well up on my tongue, but every day I bite them back. Those three words would just cause him more stress, and that is the last thing he needs. More stress equals more cutting, and he already does that far too much.

It's ironic, I muse as I slowly draw the razor across the skin on my forearm, that I'm coping with my stress at not being able to stop Mycroft from cutting by doing the same damn thing. As I watch the blood drip slowly down my arm, creating small red spots on the white floor, I can't seem to care. I don't move from my position even as the door opens and someone calls for me. What's the point? My head feels fuzzy, and I begin to wonder if I went too far this time, and even then I don't care. The footsteps stop in the doorway and I slowly lift my head.

Mycroft is standing in the doorway, eyes trained on me, on the razor lying limply in my left hand.

"Why?" he chokes out, unable to look away from the crimson blood staining the floor and my dress.

I lick my lips, feeling suddenly tired. "Because I love you," I sigh as blackness claims my vision. Someone calls my name, sounding panicked, and I can't remember why. All I can remember is red on white being slowly replaced by black, and a pair of startlingly bright eyes clouded with a pain I can never erase.


A/N: Yes, I'm still working on all of my other stories. Updates have been temporarily put on hold because school has started back up and I'm buried in physics, psychology, and human development. I'll try to get something up this weekend. This randomly came to me as I was studying, so I decided to upload it. I had never thought about Mycroft and Anthea, but...