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Dulce et Decorum

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It was rather apt, actually. The filth clogging his putrid, stinking veins; the “brown sugar” corroding his insides out with its repellent sweetness. People wanted him ‘sweeter’, right? Well now they could have it; let them taste the sick fruits of their futile labour. Let them reel at the sight, at the sound of him. He was ripening, all right. He was soon to be rotten.

And all around him were the vessels which held it too, the fine china barely containing the vitriol of the saccharine inside. Twenty sweaty brows in a hovel of a room. Sixty sweaty brows in a shell of a house. And across London, England, the world, millions of sweaty brows, dry mouths, pinpoint pupils. Each with stories behind them, some tales of misfortune, for others an unhappy chain of boredom, agitation, need, and inescapably, regret.

Some were born like this, others fell into this, a harsh slip down an already rickety social ladder, ploughing through the class system like their needles through unhealthy, sallow skin.

For Sherlock, it had been a mixture of these, or none at all, or all at once. For when you are lying on a stained and decaying mattress, with the weight of impending death pushing you down, and your life blood struggling to push you back up, it is hard to categorise the decisions you make, and the reasons for them.

It was clear however, as clear as the flash of blood in his syringe, that all of this was a world away from him.

A literal world away. For Mycroft inhabited a completely separate plane of existence, one dictated by a society who had given up on his little brother a long time ago.  “Dulce et Decorum” was the unspoken anthem to this sphere of righteousness, with none of the truthful irony. Mycroft believed it was sweet and right to die for your country, and Sherlock believed it was right to die if you didn’t have anything to live for.

Or anyone.

And Sherlock did have someone. Once.  But slender hands stopped ruffling his curls, and fraternal smiles melted into puddles of distaste. Play-time became work-time, and all work and no play makes Myc a dull boy. Except he wasn’t dull, never was, never could be. Never will be. And even in death, Sherlock will be no closer to understanding him.  Those long awaited, yet thoroughly disliked ‘brotherly’ visits to his flat would be redirected to his gravestone, and Mycroft would still conceal his true thoughts behind that damn barbed veil of propriety. And, if any tears did fall, (and it really was a big if ), weeds would sprout where they fell.  Because they were crocodile tears, perhaps, or he would cry because it was right to, and if he didn’t Mummy would be upset, and Daddy would be upset, and the neighbours would talk, and the aunts would despair and the world would go to fucking pieces because he couldn’t fucking cry.

Which begs the question, brother mine,

Did you even care?