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The Red-Headed League

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Mycroft has been working undercover for a month and is even living in rented rooms despite having his own small flat in London.

They have been tracking a child trafficking gang for a while and they seem to be close to cracking it.

He has been hanging around in a pub where one of their key informants was going to meet him if possible…..when he saw something that made him do a double take.

It is…is it? It is Sherlock.

His mind stuttered to a halt. Sherlock is barely 19. What is he doing here??

He looked so lost and sad that it breaks Mycroft’s heart.

He tried to move closer without being identified. He has changed his hair colour since he was recruited by MI5 and is currently also wearing a wig and lenses and some kind of dentures and cheek pads but he feels absolutely sure that Sherlock would suss him out in seconds.

He needs to be very cautious, so he moved in just a bit closer and observes.

The bar tender seemed to know him. So Sherlock must be coming here often?

Just then a red haired man came and sat next to him and asked for a drink. Sherlock looked up so hopefully and then looked away, almost in tears.

Mycroft was completely baffled and before he could start processing the meaning of this he got a call from another agent asking him to leave right away and meet them at a warehouse a few blocks away.



The next two weeks were too hectic to even get enough sleep, let alone spend time in his Mind Palace where he had stored that wisp of a memory for further analysis.

The first day that he was freed from the task at hand, ( the ring leaders of the trafficking gang having been found and locked up), he promptly went back to that bar.

He was exhausted, weary to the bone at the thought of all the evil that still existed in his beloved city and in the world at large and feeling, as he did sometimes, like a very, really very small cog in a very large, unfeeling, inexorably moving machine.

But he could not rest because every time he closed his eyes he would see Sherlock’s face, the deep disappointment, mixed with longing and sorrow that he had glimpsed on his face that day.

He remembered the little boy who would come running to him for every tiny hurt and cut and bruise and want him to kiss it better and trust him to always be there to save him protect him, keep him safe from all manner of bad things—bullies, red ants, exploding chemistry experiments and punishments meted out by teachers and Mummy.

Mycroft had been his shield and his cloak for so long …..and yet…. here they were now.

Sherlock had been resentful and furious when he had left for university and did not seem to have forgiven him. He had rebuffed every attempt at reconciliation and rejected every effort that Mycroft had made to make things better.

Mycroft’s heart ached and he patched up the broken pieces after every attempt and told himself Alone protects me.

Sometimes when he was on a mission and not sure how it would end, he would look at the photo of the beautiful angel who had been born as his brother and he would kiss that photo before they went charging into whatever danger they had to.

Goodbye Sherlock. I love you.

He would say it just in case the universe was listening and could find a way to let him know.

Sometimes he wondered what Sherlock would think if Mycroft really did die during one of these jobs and they found his photo in his personal effects.

He would shake himself out of these morbid thoughts and carry on with his work.



Today he waited at the pub with a heavy heart and wondered what Sherlock was doing. He sat for four hours and then finally left.

He came again and again and finally on the third day his heart leaped up as he saw the familiar figure standing at the door, looking around, the same sad and hopeful expression on his face as he loped to the bar and asked for a drink.

A few minutes later a man slid onto the stool next to his and started talking to him. It was apparent that they had planned to meet. Sherlock looked at him and seemed to have attempted some conversation but then suddenly stood up and shook his head and left abruptly.

Mycroft was genuinely mystified and observed the other man look at the bartender and shrug.

Hmm…..this man was also a red head.

Two days later they had a repeat of the same situation. Sherlock came in, another red haired man came in, Sherlock tried to talk to him and then left abruptly.



Mycroft knew that Sherlock was using drugs and he had been helpless against it.

He had found him more than once in the past year and when he did then Sherlock would be so vulnerable and clingy but would push him away as soon as he sobered up. He would yell at him to leave him alone and not touch him and that he hated him.

As he remembered all that he wondered if that was some new kink.

Were these people drug dealers? Was this some kind of a…a red-headed league?!

Was Sherlock in some deep trouble?

He suddenly felt as lost as Sherlock had looked and his heart was cold with fear. He needed to figure this out.

He came two days later and went to the bar and asked for a drink. After two drinks he started a conversation with the bartender.

After a few random, hopefully innocent sounding back and forth Mycroft asked casually if there was anyone interesting who came regularly. He shrugged as is to say he didn’t care either way but it had been a while since he had been on a date and …………he trailed off as the bartender raised an eyebrow and just looked at him.

“Mate I don’t know what’s going on but you have had your eye on that fey young thing who has been coming for the last month.”

Mycroft had to really struggle to keep a blank face while making a mental note to recruit this young woman as their informant because clearly she had amazing observation skills.

“Which fey young thing? Surely you don’t serve drink to underage persons in this bar do you?”

The bartender snorted. “I saw the way you have been looking at him. Sorry mate, he went home with someone last evening.”

Mycroft felt his stomach drop out. He had never expected that Sherlock was a virgin but he went off with someone he met at the bar??!

He cleared his throat and tried to sound casual. “Oh ok. Well, not that I care but do you know who he went with?”

“You are kidding me right?!” the bartender said looking affronted at this insult to her intelligence. “You lot need to coordinate better. He wanted to go with some red head, seems to have something for them. Nothing but red-heads all month long, but then this other bloke came along. Older. Grey haired. Good looking chap. And if you ask me-- he was an undercover cop--- doing a better job at it than you are.” She smirked.  “But hey I am just a bartender here. And the boy is old enough so………” she shrugged.

Mycroft’s head was reeling. How was he going to find him? Was he safe?

What the HELL was a cop doing picking him up at a bar??