Cool cloth on his forehead is the best Mycroft can do for Sherlock's fever. His resources have dwindled from the full force of empire down to a rotting cottage. A lucky find, with its well and outdoor w/c. Luckier, some previous squatter's leavings: a lighter, a pot noodle sealed and uncontaminated.
The mighty, Sherlock had said, when last he was lucid, have fallen. Sherlock had watched him trying to cook the pot noodle without setting the container, or the house, ablaze. He'd laughed.
No longer lucid, Sherlock mostly calls for John, sometimes Mummy. Mycroft flips the cloth, cooler side against skin. Sherlock's eyes open. "John should," he complains. "Where's John?"
Sherlock knows-- knew. "Gone," Mycroft tells him, again.
Sherlock's eyes close. "John does that," he says. "Goes away, when he's... angry with me. But he'll come back. He comes back."
Sleeping, Sherlock doesn't ease. His breathing harshens. He sounds like he can't last the night, but Mycroft thought the same last night, and the night before.
Mycroft half-dozes in his chair.
The door bangs, creaks, gives. Dark brown smell and peeling skin, the small figure in the doorway limps grotesquely forward, reaching. How like Sherlock to insist on being right in such an inconvenient way, Mycroft thinks as he stands, picks up his chair to swing. John has come back.