A/N: Slightly OOC Mcroft and Sherlock.

Mycroft stepped out of his black car, shutting the door behind him. He had come alone, driven himself, and had even forsaken his usual bodyguard. For this, he needed to be alone.

Alone is what I have. Alone protects me.

Mycroft winces as his brother's voice plays through his head once again. Everything seemed to remind him of Sherlock these days, especially now that he…

The grass was wet with dew; the sky surprisingly free of clouds, the sun shining brightly. He walked slowly, as though his delay would make a difference. Sherlock has all the time in the world now.

Standing in front of the polished black marble tombstone, Mycroft sighs, coming out as a half-sob. Sherlock, his little brother, had killed himself because of a madman. Because Mycroft had helped said madman.

"Oh Sherlock," he breathed, looking down at his brother's name carved into the black stone, "Why? Why did you do this?"

Sherlock had always been willful, headstrong, stubborn…but he had always known that he could come to Mycroft for help. Why hadn't he this time?

"Twenty four hours Sherlock," he said, "And you owe me."

"And I'm sure you will collect," Sherlock drawled before hanging up, not bothering to say goodbye.

Mycroft winced. Had Sherlock believed that when Mycroft had spoken to Moriarty that that was his payment. 24 hours in Baskerville in exchange for his life story being used as a bargaining chip?

"I never intended for this to happen," he murmured, brushing his finger against the S in Sherlock. "I never dreamt that it would come to this." It was easier to say what he meant when he didn't have to look at those he wronged. He had been only able to babble half sentences when he tried to tell Doctor Watson that.

But Sherlock wasn't here to judge him. He could confess everything. He could tell his brother why he had given that information to Moriarty and how sorry he was that it had been so abused. He could tell Sherlock about his attempts to clear his name, aided by DI Lestrade. He could tell him about his attempts to help John overcome the depression that had set in after Sherlock's death. He could tell his brother how much he missed him, bratty behavior and all, and not be mocked because of the sentiment.

All lives end. All hearts are broken. Caring is not an advantage.

This time it was his own voice mocking him, repeating the words he had said countless other times; times when those words were offered instead of the comfort his brother truly needed. No wonder everyone thought him a sociopath.

He cleared his throat, trying to focus on his real reason for being here. "I've come to collect my debt Sherlock."

He looked at the stone, had a vision of the pout his brother would have sported if he had uttered those words before. What dull case is it this time Mycroft? Or do you want me to pretend to be well adjusted during a visit to Mummy?

"When you requested access to Baskerville, I told you that you owed me. I had initially had different plans for this favor." Boring plans, Sherlock's voice whispered. "But things have changed since the incident three weeks ago." Sentiment Mycroft, Sherlock's voice sneered.

He took another deep breath, fighting for the composure he had been forced to maintain. He had been here once before of course, as he had made all the funeral arrangements, but there had been others around. Now, alone with his brother, he could say what he had been hoping for every day these past three weeks.

"Come back to us Sherlock," he whispered, feeling his 'Ice Man' persona crumbling as a tear slid down his cheek. "Let this have been a clever ruse. Come back brother, please." With that last word, Mycroft fell to his knees, not caring about the damage to his expensive trousers. Here, alone at last, he finally grieved for Sherlock, trying to accept that he was really dead.

Of course, that would be when Sherlock decides to appear.

He felt a hand on his shoulder and looked up, thinking one of his staff had followed him regardless of the rules. When he saw the slender, leather gloved hand on his shoulder, he jerked away, falling on his backside as he stared at the figure in front of him.

Same suit, looking a little too loose on his gaunt frame. Same wild black curls framing even wilder blue eyes. Same coat and scarf as ever. Sherlock Holmes, in the flesh, standing in front of his grave.

"Hello Mycroft," Sherlock said, holding out a hand to help his brother to his feet. "I've come to repay that favor."

As Mycroft accepted the hand (no doubt Sherlock's way to prove that he was without a doubt flesh and blood and not a hallucination), he couldn't decide whether to hug his brother or shout at him.

All he knew was that Sherlock's debt to him had been repaid, and he had never been happier.