The morgue was cold and quiet, as it always had been, or perhaps not. It had seen more life when Sherlock was around, something that broke the monotonous and sacred silence and stillness in the room with its fluorescent lighting, whether he was stealing something off of the many corpses, or having an experiment on them.
Well, there was none of that now.
Not when the man in question was lying on one of those cold, steel tables himself, draped with one of those ghastly white sheets that bled away whatever little color there was.
Mycroft Holmes closed the door behind him, gently, treading carefully across the scrubbed floor, never more aware of the clinical coldness of this room than he ever was in his life. Molly wasn't here, he had arranged for her to be away so that he could have some time alone with his brother, or what was left of his brother in a room that has been sealed away and hidden from time, frozen in an almost poetic beauty that life hadn't provided for them when they were alive. It was almost ethereal, seeing Sherlock lying so still and so pale on the sheets, as bare as the day that he was born screaming and crying and taking his first breath into a world that has so many possibilities for him to find out and so much knowledge and curiousity, except that now his heart had stopped beating and his flesh frozen where time had stopped for him, and it was clear where time had been cruel to him, his life on his skin and face and cold deadened eyes.
"Hello, Sherlock," he whispered to his brother, lifting a hand and stroking back wild untamed black curls, the way Sherlock had never allowed him ever since he turned six. Blood had congealed into his brother's dark locks, and he tutted, trying to untangle them but soon gave it up as a lost cause - it wasn't that visible, after all. He could feel where the skull had broken, where the fragile bones had shattered inwards from impact with the pavement, the site where the skin had broken, and down to how exactly it had killed him. His mind pulled up mathematical formulas, calculating angle and speed and all that was unimportant to the man lying before him now, and he could probably deduce for hours on end how exactly Sherlock had died, but they were all insignificant for the reason of death was plain and so simple it was almost hateful. Man jumped off ledge, man hit concrete, man died and that was it. Sherlock's face was cleaned of blood, and he was thankful for that.
It was clinical and detached and horrible how clean one's death made one, Mycroft thought, a thumb brushing over Sherlock's cheekbones, almost lovingly. Every little fact, every piece of history, and every secret, all neatly written down and catalogued and filed away upon a death, devoid of emotions and cause and effects and the why and how - reducing everything down to its bare necessities. They knew that Sherlock was a genius, but they did not know that he did not know about the solar system. They knew that Sherlock solved cases, but not how it had affected the people around him and those that he had worked for. They knew everything about him, his blood type, his weight, his height. They did not know about the little boy who had broken a window and had cut himself and had hidden in the bathroom because he was bleeding so much and it didn't stop whatever he did, didn't know that he often stood on stools or remained sitting until he hit his growth spurt because his brother was taller, so much enviably taller than him then, didn't know about his bad eating habits. His own name was listed down as the next of kin, Mycroft Holmes, minor government official, some man with some umbrella somewhere in England. No one knew of their heated spats, their rivalry, their love for one another that was invisible to all but the two of them. They were all simply words and nothing more, for recording purposes and for once, Mycroft detested it.
Turning, he removed his suit carefully, draping it over the back of a chair before pulling on one of the white lab coats, washing his hands carefully with freezing water and soap before snapping on latex gloves. He had brought his instruments, just for this. It had been a long time since he had picked up a scalpel for the living or for the dead, but just for Sherlock, he would, for the last time in his life.
Sherlock didn't flinch, didn't move when the first cut was made with mathematical precision, thin blade sliding over delicate pale skin. First the skin, and then the fat. It was all very human, very basic human biology. There was no blood, not that he had expected there to be as he peeled it back to reveal the muscles beneath. It wasn't very long until he was wrist deep in his brother's cold body, cut open and gutted like a butcher's kill on the table, all that bodies were when they stopped breathing.
There was no warmth, no residue of it in the cold congealing muscles and organs and flesh around his hands, and he carefully separated each and every one of them, cutting them out neatly one by one, lifting the organs out reverently of his brother's body with both hands, stained with blood that no longer flowed or dripped. First the heart, and then the lungs. The livers and the kidneys, and the long length of intestines. He was careful not to bruise or to injure any of them, handling each as he would a newborn, his newborn. Sherlock did not move throughout, and he thought that would have been a little disturbing even for him, detached. Still, it made an almost laughable sight. The formidable Sherlock Holmes, laid out open and bare and undone, an empty shell devoid of all the brilliance and retorts and insults, his voice silenced and smothered, his mind wiped clean of all his deductions for all the good that they were, his organs laid by his side. Stepping back, for a moment, Mycroft saw not his brother but a stranger on the table, someone who looked remarkably like his brother, alike and yet not the same. This wasn't Sherlock, Sherlock wouldn't have allowed someone to do something like this to him, to lay him out bare with a knife to the day's light, to be catalogued and seen and understood so intimately.
Sherlock would have protested, would have snapped at him, would have done so many things that this man before him would not have done.
He laid the scalpel aside, lifting the organs one by one onto the weighing scale that he had brought with him.
( Lungs, weighing at 2.5 pounds. )
There was a little boy, wrinkly and pink and covered in blood, brought screaming into the world in a room full of strangers that he did not know of yet, and did not care to know, being taken from the womb that he had been conceived in for a reason that he did not understand. He had been screaming, drawing his first lungful of air and bawled his existence out into a new world, amidst tears and pain and so much joy, hands holding and cradling and protecting him from all that was dark and hurtful. So small and vulnerable and so much alive and impossible, he had been held close and kissed, had been passed from hand to hand all while he bawled at the top of his little lungs. His parents had been tearful then, and he had been awed into silence when the little bundle was put into his arms. He had cradled it carefully, reverently then, looking into the screwed up face, the pouty cheeks and the red lips, taken in the small little clenched fists, and equally small feet. Something this young and small and so easily destroyed, in his arms, a wailing bundle of joy. This is your brother, they said. Isn't he a beauty? Mother was smiling through her tears and pain and exhaustion, Father proud and smiling beside her. He'll be a fine young man.
What is his name? Mycroft had asked then, quietly, watching his baby brother now, breathing in the scent of a new-born and frailty. He looks - beautiful.
His parents had smiled at him, smiled at the baby, at this new addition into their lives that would change everything forever.
His name is Sherlock Holmes.
( Liver, weighing at 4.4 pounds )
Sherlock Holmes had grown up to be a beautiful young boy, full of innocent curiosity at the world and the people around him with a penchant for getting into mischief, with the bluest eyes that anyone had ever seen. The baby fat had dropped away as he grew, the energy in him growing boundless, contained within a small body that Sherlock himself deemed too helpless to do the many things that he wanted to do. He was clever, very much so, though never as clever as Mycroft himself, something that Sherlock had first admired, and then come to detest because he would never admit to idolizing his own chubby elder brother. The raven headed child was often climbing bookshelves, fingers tracing over letters and sentences that he did not yet quite understand, committing them all to memory before running out through the door into the embracing sunlight to collect specimens with his magnifying glass and plastic bucket, returning home muddy and dirty from god knows where this time around, with an unguarded smile on his face and all the things that he had learnt spilling from his lips, the words tumbling one over another in his excitement.
Mycroft always listened, always took time to pay attention to his little brother, his deductions, his ideas and his dreams, his sulks and his tantrums. His little brother was often lost in his own head and his own dreams, ideas that no one but he himself understood, innocent and ridiculous notions that could never come true in the wide and harsh world that he was still oblivious to, understanding only the facts and figures from the books that he loved to read so much, painting himself a pretty world with sunshine and morning dew and his family. Mycroft for his part did his best to protect his little brother from it, not wanting to see something so beautiful and intelligent and so much family hurt and destroyed in the way that he knew it would, shattering innocence and all that was open and bare in Sherlock's blue eyes.
I want to be a pirate when I grow up, Sherlock had told him one day.
Pirates aren't afraid of water, Mycroft had pointed out reasonably. They aren't afraid of baths either.
I'm not afraid of a bath, Sherlock had folded his arms, pouting for all he is worth.
Really? Mycroft had smiled at him.
Do you think I could be a pirate? Sherlock had asked finally when he was finally in the bath with bubbles and soap and his long lost rubber duck that looked a little worse for wear, bobbing on bravely on the water.
Mycroft was quiet, thinking of the pirates at sea, of the repercussions and the killings and the deaths that it brought.
Sure, you could be anything you want to be, he said instead, gently lathering shampoo into his brother's hair. You'll still be my little brother and my little angel.
Sherlock had screwed his face up at that. You sound like mummy, My.
A few years later, Sherlock Holmes no longer believed in pirates and baths with rubber ducks, looking on at the world spinning around him with guarded eyes, standing away distanced and alone and by himself, quick to retort and insult, his mind far more quicker and brilliant than he was young then, and full of so much anger for someone so young.
I'm sorry I failed you, Sherlock.
( Heart, weighing at 10.5 ounces )
You don't have a heart.
Mycroft had been silent for a long while, before turning to his brother, his expression schooled into perfect calm, a mask over his features, hiding everything else underneath. There were seldom any civil conversations between him and Sherlock now, and by far lesser the show of any real emotions, as though it would also threaten the rivalry between the two siblings that raged on quietly so.
Sherlock, please, he said in a warning tone, soft, all too aware of the eyes that were on them, now the sole successors to the Holmes estate. The two brothers, with the same surname, two lone geniuses against the rest of the world on their own.
The funeral proceedings went as funerals did, solemn and quiet and heavy with grief. No one expected for it to happen, two amazing lives, ripped away as violently and cruelly and just as sudden. A plane crash, a malfunctioning of engines, and it was all over for their parents. No more sudden cups of tea in the middle of the night whenever he was up late doing work, no more quiet admonishing over his need for a diet when he didn't need one. No more talks over wine and alcohol, or casual chats when the rest of the house was asleep. No more letters, and no more phone calls. All there was left was a house and its grounds, empty of its owners, cold and silent now, a name that would go down in history for all the good that came with it, along with the blaring headline news of a plane crash with so many lives lost when it fell out of the sky. He wished desperately for someone to blame, for someone to yell and rage at, but he could not, his face a cold and blank slate even while his emotions sloshed and rattled and boiled inside him, holding himself proper as a Holmes would. It all fell upon his shoulders now, as the elder son, and he wanted to hide away from it all in an act of cowardice, if it meant that his parents were somehow remotely still alive, but he was far too old for that now.
They're dead and you don't even care. Sherlock's words were like acid, burning away at the wall that he had so carefully constructed around himself, his eyes accusing and cold and angry.
You don't want to say that, Sherlock. Mycroft was all too painfully aware of what their parents' deaths meant to Sherlock, aware of all the anger locked away inside without an outlet to vent it, and he was the easiest target available nearest to Sherlock. However, this wasn't the time and place, with the people looking on, people that were connected to his parents, people that his parents had made a significant impact on, people who pinned their expectations on the him and his brother.
You don't care, do you? Tell me, do you feel something in your heart? Do you even have one? How could you, Sherlock's eyes were brimming with tears, for the first and the last time that Mycroft had ever seen, casting a wild, hateful look around at their audience. Stand here so composed while our parents are lying there dead? Strangers, perhaps but they are our parents.
Sherlock- Mycroft had began to say, clinging onto whatever limited control that he had, proud that his voice did not shake, and that his eyes were dry as desert even though there was bile in his throat and acid burning away at his gut and his heart and his chest and everything hurt .
One day I'll be the one there, and you wouldn't even care. Sherlock had spat, before turning and leaving, his scarf, a gift from mummy trailing after in his wake. Where would your heart be, burnt to a crisp and fed to the dogs, perhaps?
Strangely enough, it was what that matters most that weighs the less. Mycroft carefully put the organs back into the empty cavity of the body, sewing them all back together with surgical precision, piecing Sherlock back together like a grotesque broken doll, stitching him back together again as if it would make anything better. Sherlock still didn't move, didn't speak, with only a long thin cut down his body with delicate stitches to show what had happened. Mycroft stripped off his gloves, washed his hands, and stood looking at the body in silence. This was possibly the last time that he would see Sherlock, the image of him cold and still burned into his mind even as memories of him alive, his childhood, his adolescent years, his adulthood slipped away through his fingers into the sands of time, despite of all the information that he had catalogued from him.
He had tried, tried so hard to retain them, to remember, but time was as cruel as she was relentless, and took them one by one from him. He knew Sherlock, inside his body and out, but he could not find his little brother inside. The sullenness and the anger, the joy and the laughter, the rare smiles that he would give when he was an adult, the sneering condescending look he reserved only for Mycroft. There was nothing of that in his organs, in his heart, in the empty husk before him. Sherlock was gone, well and truly gone, taking everything that he was with him when he had taken the willing swan dive off the roof of St. Barts before the eyes of his horrified doctor. No clues, no hints, nothing.
You were wrong, you know. Mycroft told Sherlock silently, the remains of his brother, to the ghost of the raven haired boy with eyes the color of the wide, all encompassing sky hiding in a place that he cannot reach ever till his last breath and even then.
He lifted a hand, brushed a thumb over Sherlock's lips, and tenderly, lovingly, pressed a kiss to Sherlock's forehead, lingering, the way he used to after reading Sherlock bedtime stories at night to the light of a torch and hushed whispered secrets. Kissed him goodnight before tucking him in for sweet dreams of all that was good and bright till the dawn of the next morning to chase away any imaginary monsters hiding in the closets and under the bed.
Looks like I'm 'it' this time, he whispered quietly.
He drew the sheets back over Sherlock's form, took off his white coat, kept his scalpel. Put his suit back on, the persona of the infallible British Government, swallowing against the something that was threatening to rise up through his throat along with his insides, the press of emotions that he had long since locked away.
It was almost detached now, the way he viewed Sherlock's body.
You were wrong, he whispered, as he kissed Sherlock and his heart for the last time in his too-long and hateful life. For the first, and the last time.
And without looking backwards, he picked up his umbrella, turning his back upon the things lying cold and congealing beneath blank white sheets and walked out of the door, the last of the Holmes family against the world, leaving memories and something that once might have been his heart locked away behind a solid cold door, in a place where time stood still for its occupants, frozen and still, with un-lived hopes and dreams, unspoken words and all those might-have-beens, never to be visited again.