Sherlock Holmes was sat amongst the pigeons in Trafalgar Square, absolutely alone in the bitterly cold morning-nighttime save for their soft feathers. Usually this landmark would be swarming with people, but they were all otherwise occupied. For the abrupt death of their Queen had drawn them to Buckingham Palace and their TV sets, and whilst Sherlock was aware of this fact (to everyone's surprise) he did not care to think upon it.

The pigeons pecked at the ground where his coat was spread about him, and he did not bother to wave them off even though their sharp beaks nestled into the fibres, catching and pulling. The wounds in the fabric matched perfectly the wounds that had been inflicted upon his falsely-absent heart. Tears failed to fall but Sherlock was numb with shock. No more tranquil could the scene have appeared but no more wrong could any onlooker have been.

His dark hair was in disarray, even more than usual. His eyes were pinked and tired from staying open, even though he would often not sleep for days on end. His skin was pallid and sallow – the result of the cold and the lack of movement in his stony features. His frozen lips were cracked and withered, sketched with lacings of dried blood. His cheekbones stood out in his famished face, giving all reason for his dearest friend and companion John Watson to be concerned.

It was not every day that a man would be told that his only remaining relative had a fairly limited life expectancy. It was, in greatest grief, the way of any man told this to run to their beloved family member and stay by their side until their passing came. And yet Sherlock Holmes was alone asides the vermin of London instead of where his brother was.

Mycroft had been diagnosed with a disease known as lung sarcoidosis. It was not usually a fatal illness, with only 5% of its sufferers dying from it, but Sherlock's brother was in that unfortunate minority, having discovered it too late for any good to be done. A lung transplant could not even save him now but for some unknown reason, Mycroft had chosen to reject any treatment for his disease, despite the fact that his life could be extended by it. Mycroft; selfish, unfeeling Mycroft, who had an exaggerated affinity for autolatry, had refused to have the treatment that was available to him. Sherlock could not comprehend it. And so he ran away from his home in the darkest hours of the morning for Trafalgar Square. He did not want to be around John or Mrs Hudson or anyone else. He did not want their pity or their compassion. All he wanted was some time, time to think about his brother without the furtive glances over his shoulder at the people around him who would wonder if he actually cared for Mycroft. He didn't – of course not – but he'd rather not have anyone speculating such preposterous views.

Sherlock knew he should have seen the signs. The endless fatigue, the headaches, the coughing, the weight loss. Of course that hadn't been the result of any diet; Mycroft couldn't keep off the cakes for long enough to lose so much weight so quickly. Sherlock felt like a fool, an idiot who had been stupid enough as to contribute towards his brother's eventual demise. The guilt weighed upon his shoulders as heavy as the sky upon Atlas'. He should not feel that way, but he did. Sherlock Holmes, consulting detective, genius scientist and master of deduction felt guilt for something that he'd had no control over. It was illogical, and Sherlock would avoid all things illogical at all costs, so why was he feeling this way now?

His hands were under his chin, as though he was in prayer, and he stared off into nothingness when John found him. Having woken from a nightmare, John had gone down to get a glass of water when he'd seen Sherlock's bedroom door open. He'd wandered in carefully, half expecting to see some sort of naked Sherlock on the bed, but the room had been empty. In realisation of this, John had left the flat in a hurry, not bothering to dress himself more than to put on his coat and shoes over his dressing gown and bare feet. He had been wandering the streets of the city for more than two hours, checking everywhere that he would expect his flat-mate to be. And there the detective sat, on the ground, being swarmed by hungry birds.

"Sherlock!" John gasped in relief as his panicked eyes found Sherlock in the gloom. He rushed over to the dark man's form, and put one hand on his right shoulder. "Sherlock," John said again, this time concerned. "Can you hear me, Sherlock?"

His friend did not stir.

"Come on, Sherlock." John shook him gently. "Get up."

No response. "Please, Sherlock," John begged. "You're stone cold. You need to come home. Please get up. Sherlock."

Sherlock suddenly burst from his thoughts as though he was a freediver coming up for air. His body jerked violently as his surroundings swam back into focus and John's anxious face startled him as it held its place close to his. "John?" Sherlock's voice was pitifully weak and small-sounding, and he could have slapped himself for it, if his hands hadn't been freezing enough that his fingers could no longer move.

John seemed to understand this, and he clamped his small but warm hands round Sherlock's, who winced at the burning heat that he felt, but did not withdraw them. Once Sherlock's hands were sufficiently defrosted, John wrapped his arms around the poor man, holding him close to his body in order to keep the wind off him and share his body heat. Sherlock shivered uncontrollably as they sat together there.

John's arm retracted for a second, and Sherlock whimpered as the air buffeted him again, but the embrace resumed after a small moment. John lifted his phone to his ear. "Greg, I've found him," John said hurriedly. "No, he's not okay… Trafalgar Square… Bring a blanket or something… Yes… Yes… Right. See you in a minute." The red button was pressed.

"Lestrade?" Sherlock asked.

"Yes," John replied as he replaced his phone into his pocket. "We've been looking for you for hours."

Sherlock's silence was enough of a response. John knew why Sherlock was here and also that there was nothing John could say that would make any difference to how Sherlock was feeling. It was best to leave this particular genius alone when he wasn't feeling like such a genius. For all geniuses need an audience, but all despairing geniuses need protection from questions, and alone protects them. Well, alone and friends. True friends, who will keep the questions at bay.

They must have sat there for only two minutes, but in the silence and the dreadful misery it felt like forever. Forever beneath the beautiful stars that would never shine in their countless millions in London again, as all lights had been blacked in respect for the deceased Queen, and so no such pollution coveted the skies as it usually did.

Lestrade's car pulled up then, and the DI leapt out, jogging over to where John sat holding Sherlock with a large orange blanket in his hands. John nodded at him as he got closer, and Lestrade draped the blanket over Sherlock as John let him go. John pulled the corners of the blanket around his friend's shoulders, and placed them in Sherlock's hands for him to clasp to his throat. The taller man still shivered, though, so John pulled him to his feet and as he walked him to Lestrade's car put his arm around his waist, both to support his shaking legs and to present him with a little more warmth.

John got Sherlock into the back of the car, and clambered in after him whilst Lestrade took the driver's seat. Always the worrier, John managed to awkwardly fastened Sherlock's seatbelt, having to climb over him to do so, and then attached his own. After doing this, he snuggled Sherlock up to him again and pulled his friend's head onto his shoulder, where Sherlock instantly fell asleep, despite his low protestations and bleary-eyed mumblings.

Sherlock awoke in his bedroom, with the shock blanket still wrapped around him and his coat still on his back. The curtains were closed, so the was very little light coming in, but Sherlock presumed the time to be about eight am, judging by the position of the sun. It being mid-March, the day was bright but bitter. Sherlock would have called for John, but he felt like staying in bed for a slight bit longer. How unlike him.

There was not usually lethargy about Sherlock, but when the world is collapsing around you, and you see no reason to rise, then why should you not lie amongst the only things that you know for certain shall not reject you, hurt you, depress you or abuse you. A shock blanket. How appropriate. There was no more shocking thing than to discover that you shall soon be the loneliest man to exist in the Universe, without another of your kind to rest assured in.

Sherlock Holmes needed his brother as surely as he denied it. He needed, at least, to know that Mycroft was there. One might have said that Sherlock was one of a kind, but that person was wrong, because there was another Holmes out there. And members of the Holmes family were all the same. A different race entirely to the meek and submissive humans with whom they met with, the Holmes boys were the two covers of a book. Between them was exactly the same story, as they were brothers of the same tale, keeping it inside, not letting it escape or be damaged. Their own private fairytale, they kept it between them. Their entire childhood was an enigma, to be revealed to no one, because it defied current beliefs as well as coinciding with them. So much was unknown about the pair, as they would not let anyone discover anything past the façade that they chose to display.

Could a book survive for long without its front cover? Surely some might say it could, but then they would be, once again, wrong. If the front cover of a book was to fall off, then yes, the pages may stay together for a while, as the back would keep the spine connected and therefore the glued pages intact. But the truth is that once the cover is gone, the world starts to weather the book's exposed first page, until eventually it is soiled and ripped, slashed by time and worn by loss. And then that page, too will crumble away, to leave the second unprotected. And sooner or later, that page, too, will fall from the book. This process will continue, and that once beautiful story will be worn away until there is nothing left of it, and it shall be lost forevermore. The back cover shall not be a cover anymore, just a bare essence, and a mere memory, of what it used to be.

Any man, woman or child who said that Sherlock Holmes did not love his brother was utterly mistaken.

There was a gentle knock on his door, and Sherlock sat up in anticipation of its opening as he called for John to enter. "Hey, Sherlock," John smiled softly as he came in. "You alright?"

"Mm," Sherlock replied indifferently.

John shuffled on his feet uncomfortably. "This came through the post for you," he said, holding out the brown envelope. "Reminds me of those we got from Moriarty. Wax seal and everything."

Sherlock snatched the envelope quickly, and cast his gaze over the clumsy circle of wax on the back of it. "Different seal," he said flatly, turning the letter over in his hands, scanning the printed text on the front.

There was a long moment as John regarded his friend cautiously. "Right then," John said eventually. "I'm getting breakfast. Do you want anything?"

"Just tea for me, thanks," Sherlock said, not taking his eyes off the envelope that he twirled between his fingers.

"I'll put the kettle on," John said decidedly as he turned and left the room with only a slight hesitation which he used to decide not to ask Sherlock about his brother.

Sherlock waited until John's footsteps had faded completely before he began to tear the envelope open with some measure of great care. He did not trust letters very often, and this one was no exception, especially seeing as the envelope itself was typed rather than handwritten. That very fact spelt trouble. And he was not disappointed.

His fingers began to tremble as he read.

Dear Sherlock Holmes,

It has come to my attention that your precious brother, Mycroft, is not in the best health of late. Sarcoidosis, isn't it? Yes, how dull for you. Of course you care, Mr Holmes. It would be ridiculous for you to try to deny it. So why would I be sending you this letter? You want to know, of course you do. Let me give you this little ultimatum.

If you do not give me what I want, your brother's life may end a little sooner than you might expect.

Interested now, Sherlock? If you are, then get yourself over to the Theatre Royal on Drury Lane tonight at 10pm. I got you a ticket, to save you the effort of buying one for yourself. See now, Mr Holmes, I don't want to have to threaten your brother, but I can see no better alternative. Jim discovered that threatening your John wasn't the best idea, so Mycroft was the next on my list.

I do hope you can get me what I want, Sherlock. It'd be such a shame if your brother couldn't enjoy the last few weeks that he has.

With love,

Someone you'll meet soon.

Sherlock gripped the paper tightly, threatening its wholeness with his crushing hold. There was already no doubt in his mind that he would be at the Theatre Royal by 10pm. He could not bring John; that much was clear in the very nature of this mail. It was a weakness, surely, that this decision came so easily. Mycroft would die anyway, so why would he be bothered with extending that life? But then he didn't have to give this sender whatever it was that he was asking for. All he had immediately asked for was a meeting. Perchance this stranger would not ask for anything much. For a case to be solved, or for the repossession of a valuable treasure. But then again, he was putting a value upon the British Government's life, so Sherlock was not blind enough to put his faith into such a measly hope. Hope was such a barren place.

"Here's your tea, Sherlock," John said as he returned to the room with a steaming mug in his hand.

"Thank you, John," Sherlock said, despondent.

John frowned. "What is it?"

"Nothing, John," Sherlock replied, faking a sigh to make his lie more believable.

"Oh. Okay," John mumbled. "What was that letter?"

Sherlock didn't meet his eyes. "Just a bill."

"Should I be concerned about it?" John asked, as he was the accountant of the flat, and Sherlock never seemed to have any interest in sorting out his money.

Sherlock quickly shoved the paper back into its envelope along with the theatre ticket, then put the envelope in his bedside table's small drawer. "No."

John gave a sharp nod, and, sensing that Sherlock did not want him there, he left. Once the door had closed again, Sherlock took a sip of his tea and supressed a smile. John couldn't do much with his limited mental capacity and simplistic view of the world, but he could certainly make an excellent cup of tea.

The orange blanket Sherlock decided he would keep. Lestrade certainly wasn't getting it back. It was incredibly warm and comfortable, as well as being the sort of material you could run your hands over a hundred times and not get bored of the way it felt. Besides, it might come in handy in the future.

All that remained to do was to prepare for the coming evening and plan how to keep John from worrying about him and searching the whole of London for him again. He couldn't sneak out whilst John slept again, because that hadn't ended well, and he couldn't tell John where he was going because he might follow him. He could hardly tell him that he was going to meet a potentially very dangerous new enemy who was intent upon murdering Mycroft if Sherlock did not bow down to his wishes. So, in a moment of inspiration, he leapt out of bed, shock blanket abandoned on the bed, and swept into the main body of the flat, where John sat at his desk on his laptop, tapping away at his blog. He hardly glanced up as Sherlock bounded with great energy to his chair, which he jumped upon like an excitable lemur.

"John," Sherlock declared loudly. "I'm going out tonight."

"Oh really?" John was clearly passive. "Where?"

"Haven't decided yet. Any advice?"

John turned then, a look of confusion upon his face. "Advice? What do you need advice for?"

Sherlock crumpled his nose as though it was obvious. "It's a date, John."

His flat-mate nearly fell off his chair as he tried to comprehend what Sherlock was saying. "A date?" he exclaimed in disbelief. "You've got a date." He practically spluttered the word.

Sherlock rolled his eyes. "Yes, John. His name's Leonard. I met him a week ago whilst I was working with the police force in Somerset. You were away and I didn't have anything better to do."

The measure of the space between John's eyes and eyebrows was a clear indication of the level of shock he was in as he processed this. Sherlock could see him struggling for words as his mouth moved in all ways conceivably possible but no sound came out. It wasn't a question of his sexuality as such, for John could not discriminate against him considering that his own sister was gay, so it must have been that John couldn't see Sherlock as being sociable or polite enough to get himself a date.

Eventually, John decided upon what he could say, after a full minute of mental scrambling. "Erm… Okay… How about the cinema?"

"Eugh. Dull."


Sherlock supressed a smile. "Certainly not."


"Are you offering?"

They both burst into laughter for a second. "So where will you take him, then?" John finally asked.

"Don't know," replied Sherlock, his fingers dancing on the arms of his chair. "I'll improvise."

John appeared surprised at Sherlock's lack of planning, but shrugged it off due to his knowledge of the consulting detective's unfamiliarity in that area. So he instead decided that he would question Sherlock about his upcoming rendezvous no longer.

Nine o'clock came around, and Sherlock was dashing around like a madman, putting on a show for John, acting as though he was flustered about what to wear, whether he would be late or not. He threw on his coat and scarf in a hurry, and failed to fasten his shoelaces until John stopped him just before he got out of the door. "Ready?" John asked as they stood face to face, the door handle of 221B in his hand.

"Yes," Sherlock beamed, and planted a hard kiss on John's forehead in his false glee.

John was temporarily stunned, but he acknowledged Sherlock's high emotions and let it pass with a returned grin as he opened the door. Sherlock swept out past him and declared that he would be back before morning. "You sure about that?" John called back teasingly. Sherlock ignored him, and called for the next passing taxi.

As he clambered in, Sherlock drew the now crumpled brown envelope out of his coat pocket, and then the ticket out of that. "Theatre Royal, please," he ordered, and the taxi set off. The ticket was so blaringly small in his hand, but it held the weight of a life, and so it could never be called insignificant.

There was no fear contained within Sherlock's tall skeletal form, nor within his brilliant mind or his inherently lonesome heart. He did not fear what he could control. It was only when something was beyond that control that he ever felt afraid. This meeting in the theatre could be manipulated to his advantage, and certainly nothing bad could happen to him within public viewing, so it did not cause him anxiety. However Mycroft's disease was impossible to control, and so it terrified him. Terrified him so much that he could not bear to dwell upon it, could not bear to think of the damage it was doing to his brother's body and admittedly magnificent brain. It was like Mycroft had given up. All that Mycroft saw to do now was to say his goodbyes.

The taxi journey was painfully long, for it left far too much time for thinking, and when it finally ended Sherlock practically threw his money through to the driver and literally begged him to keep the change. He wormed his way through the crowd of people waiting to go into the theatre until he reached the front, without his movements having been noticed majorly by any member of the throng. He must have been the only one to have come alone, for no one attended a performance of Les Misérables by themselves. No one ever went to the theatre on their own, let alone to that particular musical. The person he was to meet with could be the odd one out – if he wanted to attract his attention – or he could be just another of the couples, having brought a lady – if he wanted to stay incognito until it suited him.

They began admitting people fairly shortly after Sherlock had arrived, and so as he went in the detective passed his ticket to the man on the doors, who smiled at him, and wished him a good evening. Sherlock looked down at the ripped ticket in his hand and checked the seat number. 31B: nearly the front row. It must've cost a fortune. However, the central-front position of his seat ensured that he would not be able to make a discreet escape should a situation arise. It had been very well-planned, as the theatre was crammed with people, so crammed that not one seat remained free. There was a young lad and his girlfriend to Sherlock's right and a slender red-headed woman to his left, and next to her a man who seemed to be her husband and then next to him their three teenage children.

The wait between Sherlock sitting down and the musical actually starting was a dull period of time where Sherlock became increasingly frustrated with the numerous people around him, as there were so many deductions that could be made from them that it started to give him a headache. People usually assumed he was a sociopath because he found people dull but the reality was that he found them far too interesting and so couldn't block out the endless stream of information that he got from them. They compelled his brain rather than offending it, and so he chose a secluded life to keep his hard-drive safe from overheating.

Then, when the musical did start – fantastically dramatically, Sherlock had to confess – he became intoxicated. Fiction had never held much appeal to him, but the music was extraordinary, and he soon drifted into a stupor of appreciation. He managed to temporarily push to the back of his mind why he was there, and instead enjoyed the performance, all the while a little nagging in his skull asking when he would be called upon and he'd have to leave the theatre. His desire was that he would reach the end before that time would come.

But Sherlock, having never have had watched Les Misérables before in his life did not know the plotline, and, if he had, he might have chosen to close his eyes and block his ears. It was not an act anymore as it drew into the final battle scenes. It was a story of perfect life and tragedy. And it mirrored everything that Sherlock feared and dreaded. There she was, the lonely girl, Eponine, throwing herself in front of the gun destined to take the life of the one she loved. And then once the fighting had stopped, he found her amongst his ranks, dying from the bullet that had been meant for him. Their song was lovely, but it was shattering for hearts. Would Sherlock be Eponine or Marius? Would he be the sacrificed or the saved when someone tried to take away the life of someone he loved? He was deeply saddened by the whole affair.

He could not have fathomed it getting even worse. The next day, the last day of their fight, and only that small innocent child died, and his protector, Grantaire, screamed and screamed for him, but the boy was already dead. Was that Mycroft, screaming for Sherlock? Sherlock could remember times when he had been very young and he had wandered off in the middle of London, and he had heard Mycroft's desperate shouts, calling him back with genuine terror at the thought of him being missing. Even at that age, Sherlock had been arrogant and loved to make his brother fret, and so had refused to go back to Mycroft, despite being fully aware of his anxiety.

But then came the scene that would forever embed itself into Sherlock's very being. Enjolras, leader of the revolution, and Grantaire were to face their fate. Grantaire had never really been a respected figure by Enjolras, but in the end, when it all came to their last breaths, Grantaire was there, standing beside Enjolras as they died together, executed by the soldiers of the French army. He would not let Enjolras die alone, and Enjolras, although he had always rebuffed Grantaire, was grateful that he would not die by himself, abandoned. Their brotherly love destroyed any problems and all barriers between them. A final stand could make any feud crumble and disintegrate, leaving only soaring emotions where they once had been. The true emotions. For finality removes all lies and reveals who we really are.

When the curtain fell for the final time, Sherlock had been three and a half hours from Baker Street, and his eyes, although not spilt, were wet and his long lashes blinked in an attempt to clear them. He cursed himself for his weakness at this dramatized fantasy. He reached his hand up to his face to clear the tears completely.

"Did you enjoy the show?"

Sherlock's head snapped up. The man who had been sitting in front of him had turned around so that he was facing the detective, a smirk upon his heavily made face. His light brows were pencilled and his forehead was so clear that it could only have been smudged with the most perfect layer of foundation. Sherlock's eyes dashed around every contour of this stranger.

Military, going by his rough hands and absolute steadiness in his pose. And not long back from service, either, as his fingernails still hadn't grown back fully from where they had been scraping at the dirt. Afghanistan or Iraq, perhaps, upon analysis of the red dust in his cuticles. The man was a sniper, and that was obvious by his piercing, sharp eyes and absolute stillness, as well as by the way the fingers of his left hand curled around the air, as though they were still holding the weapon, and the way his shoulder was set in his turn. His rough stubble was fashionable, and clearly a lot of effort went into his appearance. His hair was slicked back to match the high-collared suit that he wore to cover up his tan lines. There was something dangerous about him, and something that refused to tell Sherlock exactly who he was. One word stood out, though.


But then, he'd made that assumption before, and he still wasn't sure whether or not he had been right.

"Hello," Sherlock said in a very low voice that was filled with intrigue. "You really shouldn't talk to strangers, you know."

The man's smirk curved like the blade of a knife up one side of his face. "But Mr Holmes, you're not a stranger. I am the stranger."

"Not anymore."

He laughed in Sherlock's stony face. "All you know is what you can see. Let me tell you, Mr Holmes, that people are not just the clothes they wear and the scars they bear."

Sherlock raised an eyebrow. "What do you want from me?"

The man chuckled darkly, shaking his preened head as he laughed. "My dear Holmes, what I want is you."

"What do you mean?" Sherlock demanded, his glare instant and cautious.

"I mean, Sherlock Holmes." His grey eyes pierced Sherlock's deeply, leaning in, fathomlessly cruel. "That I want you to die."

Sherlock did not flinch, and appeared even unsurprised. "Then why don't you just kill me now?"

"I don't want you to just die, Mr Holmes," the man snarled happily. "I want you to give yourself to me. I want you to let me kill you. It'd be no fun, otherwise."

Sherlock turned his head slightly, and watched him through his dropped eyebrow. "What has this got to do with Mycroft?"

"Ah, yes. Sweet brother Mycroft," the man sneered sinisterly. "The British Government itself. Dying, as it happens. Sarcoidosis in his lungs. Terrible, really. But it makes for an extremely convenient tool. You see Sherlock, you love about your brother, and even though he is dying anyway, you would still sacrifice your own life so that he might have a little longer."

Sherlock gritted his teeth. "You don't know that. Why would I let two lives go to waste when only one needs to? It's not logical."

"But emotions aren't logical, Sherlock. They make people do things that are so far beyond the realm of logic that no one will ever understand why they did what they did," he replied, practically hissing in squeamish delight. "You will save your brother, because you can't imagine life without him."

"Might I ask you why you are doing this?" Sherlock smiled venomously.

The sniper tapped the side of his nose tauntingly. "You'll find out sooner or later," he replied smugly. "I'm betting on later. In the meantime, I'll give you exactly one week. At midday a week from now, I'm going to shoot your brother through the heart. You can make necessary preparations in that time, can you not?"

Sherlock's glare would have shattered glass with its intensity. The man, however, seemed unimpressed by it, and stood up slowly, dusting off his sleeves and running his hand across the side of his head, flattening his slightly ruffled blonde hair, slicking it back into position. "Goodbye, Mr Holmes," he smirked. "I'll see you very soon."

He then disappeared into the parting crowd so quickly that Sherlock had only blinked before he was gone. With a silent curse, Sherlock hurried from the theatre, slipping back into his coat as he hurried away. When he had finally pushed his way out of the theatre he realised that he probably wouldn't be able to catch a cab anywhere nearby due to the sheer number of people who were demanding of one. He set off at a brisk walk to the next main road.

"Taxi!" he called to the first that he saw with its light on, raising his arm in a signal. It pulled in quickly, and Sherlock hurried into the back seat. "221B Baker Street," he demanded not rudely. Sensing his urgency, the driver was away within the second.

When he got back to the flat, he was greeted by: "Sherlock, is that you?" as John yawned sleepily over the tele when he heard the detective's footsteps thumped up the stairs.

"John," Sherlock breathed heavily. "You waited up."

John stretched his arms, rolling his neck as he did so. "Yeah, of course I did. How did it go?"

"How did it go… How did what go?" Sherlock asked tiredly.

"Your date?" John reminded him sceptically.

Sherlock yawned in pretence. "Oh, yes. Sorry. I'm a bit tired. It went – by your standards – horrifically."

"What did you do?" John asked seriously.

"I think I bored him," Sherlock responded dully.

"Bored him?" John said, disbelieving that Sherlock had the capability to bore people. "Why, what did you talk about?"

"We didn't talk at all, actually. Went to the theatre."

"Oh," John said. "You going to bed now?"

"Yes. And so should you," he advised.

"Yeah, yeah. 'Night, Sherlock."

"Goodnight, John," Sherlock smiled before wandering to his bedroom.

He sat down upon his bed, not bothering to take off his coat. He reached into his pocket and pulled out his phone. Mycroft's number flashed temptingly upon the screen. Could he tell his brother everything that had happened? He already knew what Mycroft's response would be, but did that mean he didn't deserve to know? Was it right for him to give Mycroft cause to worry in the last few weeks of his life?

No, Sherlock decided. He couldn't do that. He'd have to deal with this one on his own. But there was nothing he could do but wait and call Mycroft's bodyguards and tell them to double their numbers and increase their vigilance. But judging by this new enemy's attitude and aura, Sherlock knew it was futile. But then was the time for sleep, and Sherlock drifted off easily, still unchanged, as his hyperactive brain shut itself down.