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The Miracle Of Love Will Take Away Your Pain

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“Soldiers?” Sherlock asks, looking up to John.

The doctor nods.  “Soldiers.”

Sherlock allows him to pull him up. Reluctantly he takes the gun John is holding out for him while they are walking to the doorway.  They have gone through so much already. Molly will hate him now and this is not his biggest problem by far. The final problem is still awaiting them, and he knows it will tear their lives apart.

He winces when he hears Moriarty's voice through the speaker again. “Tick-tock, tickets please!” Even dead the man is still particularly off-putting.  And how has Eurus got these recordings?

After entering another plain room, he briefly looks around. “Hey, sis, don’t mean to complain but this one’s empty. What happened? Did you run out of ideas?”

The room isn’t quite empty though. There are screens on all walls, and now they come to life to show his sister sitting in the now dead governor's office.

“It’s not empty, Sherlock. You’ve still got the gun, haven’t you? I told you you’d need it.”

Sherlock has known it for a while now. He has seen it coming. But there has been happening too much to process the thought and to despair about it. The time is there now. “You'll make me choose between my friend and my brother.” One bullet. Three men.

Eurus tilts her head, crinkling her nose. “I had two possible plans but since you've figured this one out, we'll stick to the other one. It's very easy. You use the bullet to kill Mycroft – or you fuck him instead.”

“Eurus, enough!” Mycroft hisses after a second of shocked silence that felt like an eternity.

“Not yet, I think. But nearly. Remember, there’s a plane in the sky, and it’s not going to land.”

Sherlock bites his lip. People will die. The ones in the plane, if they are still alive apart from the girl, and the ones the plane will crash on. He has to play along. But his brain feels numb. He only knows one thing for sure: he is not going shoot his brother.

“I thought about making you shoot one and fuck the other. But Johnny would enjoy it too much… And what would be the big deal? Everybody already thinks you two use to fuck with each other until you're too sore to walk, and perhaps you do. It's boring. Big brother will be so much more fun.”

“I'm not gay!” John protests but Sherlock barely notices it.

Eurus clearly thinks there is no real decision to make. She thinks he will fire at Mycroft and either go on playing her game with John at his side or leave with him, depending on what her further plans with them are.

“Of course, Mycroft would enjoy it, too.” Her voice is dripping with malice now.

Sherlock looks at his brother and sees red spots appearing on his face, which is stony apart from a twitching left eyelid. His lips are pressed together, and Sherlock can see his fist opening and closing.

“Oh yes,” Eurus continues in a bright voice. “He's been lusting after you since you were a little boy.”

“This is not true…” Mycroft croaks.

“No. Just kidding. You were a teenager already.”

Mycroft closes his eyes and Sherlock knows she is right. How could he have missed this? Not that this matters right now.

“Isn't it hateful, Sherlock? How he imagined having you impaled on his large cock or getting it sucked by your young mouth? Can you see how he advertises it? His trousers have gone tighter and tighter over the years.”

Sherlock forces himself to look anywhere but Mycroft's crotch. But yes. The part about the suits is correct but until now Sherlock was sure it was just more fashionable to wear tight suits and since Mycroft has lost so much weight over the past ten years, it's only natural that he would do it, too.

Now he seems to be willing to crawl into the wall behind him. His face is a grimace of the pathetic attempt to look untouched and the truth mirroring in every twitching of now both his eyelids. His façade of ice is crumbling for all to see and it has to trouble him immensely, even anything else aside. If Mycroft is proud of something, then it is his nonchalance and self-confidence. Both are gone now.

“Don't do this, Sherlock,” John says, sounding surprisingly cool now. “Refuse to go on playing this stupid game. Who says there even is a plane up there?”

Sherlock considers it. Of course John has a point. She lied about the bombs in Molly's house after all. Who knows if this plane isn't just another phantom?

“I will make it more interesting,” Eurus says in a strident tone, and Sherlock instantly knows that there is, in fact, no plane. For once John has been the smart one…  Sherlock and Mycroft have been too busy solving her puzzles to question the basic facts. Stupid. But he knows what will come now before she continues to speak. “I will kill them both if you don't do either of it.”

Yes. This is no bluff. She would do that and not have a single sleepless night over it.

“All right. What if I do it? Can we go? Is that the final problem?”

Eurus smiles sweetly. “Yes. I promise it. You and John can go after it.”

“How presumptuous of you,” Sherlock says coldly and drops the gun. It lands on the concrete floor with an unnerving sound.

“No…! You really want to fuck big brother?”

She is now all wide-eyed surprise. But she doesn’t seem to be disappointed by his choice but rather intrigued. Sherlock knows very well why. She thinks she will have both now…

A glance at his two companions tells him that neither of them would have expected this. Mycroft looks shaken, embarrassed and terrified and just a tiny bit relieved and all the more disbelieving, and John's face is pure astonishment, mixed with curiosity and respect, which would have been funny had the situation not been so horrible.

“I'm not going to kill him.” Sherlock walks closer to one of the screens. “Let us go, Eurus. Do the right thing for once today and let us all go. End this charade.” He doesn’t have any hope she would do it but he has to try. This would destroy Mycroft. Destroy whatever small progress their relationship has made over the past few days and damage his brother in ways he can't even imagine. He doesn’t want this. But he is sure they won’t get any mercy from Eurus.

She taps her forefinger against her chin, mimicking thinking over it before plastering an expression of fake-regret on her face. “No. Sorry not sorry. Fuck him or kill him or watch them both die. It's your choice. Who knows… you might even be enjoying yourselves.” She leans forward. “And if you don't… You still have the gun to deliver him from his pain, and hey, if you place yourselves sufficiently, you might be able to kill him and yourself with this one bullet!”

It's hard not to scream at her, to hammer his fist into the next screen. For a moment his blood is boiling with fury. But he forces himself to calm down. There is nothing he can do. He has found his master, or better mistress, of manipulation, foresight and coldness. She has lost a round in her game when John of all people delivered the conclusion that there is no plane in the air that can serve her purpose. There are no other innocent people's lives at stake anymore, nobody else to take hostage. It's just their lives she rules now. And that's enough. He won't back off and sentence his best friend, father of a motherless baby, to death. Nor Mycroft, the ever-present older brother. His (theatrically put) nemesis in a way for a long time, always in control over him, which he has tried to escape from by doing everything his brother despises – getting high, dropping out of uni, refusing to work like everybody else did, wasting his intelligence and gifts at crime-solving. He hasn’t done this all just to piss off Mycroft but he knows it has been one of the reasons almost every time he has got high or run into danger. He has never felt free of his brother's concerns. Why did it irk him so much? And why has he never even asked himself this before? How important is Mycroft really for him? Very, so much is sure.

In any way he doesn’t have time for contemplating their relationship now. Eurus is getting impatient. “You have thirty seconds to get started now or the first one dies.”

Sherlock quickly takes off his jacket. “Undress, brother. We don't have a choice.”

“We do,” Mycroft whispers. There is no doubt what he means.

“No. This is not an option. I know how hard it is and how much you wish to be anywhere but here but she is holding all the cards.” He unzips his trousers.

“Who knew Sherlock would be the voice of reason here? Come on, Mycroft. You've dreamt of having sex with him for two decades or more. This is your chance!”

“Shut up, Eurus!”

Both Sherlock and Mycroft wince at John's yelling. But Eurus just laughs. “Oh, the embarrassed little doctor. What are you complaining about? Not getting it from Sherlock? Are you jealous that he will fuck his brother now?”

Sherlock can see how angry John is. On his behalf? Or because there is a tiny bit of truth in her words? In any way this doesn’t help now. “It's okay, John. It's not your game. We'll pull through.”

Eurus claps her hands together. “You can help them, you know, Johnny-Baby? They might have some problems. I mean, Sherlock has never touched anyone; I misjudged your play obviously; now it's quite clear you're still a virgin. And Mycroft is a cold fish who probably hasn't fucked anyone in this millennium and I highly doubt he's ever had a cock up his arse. Not quite your area, big brother, hm? You prefer it the other way around.”

“Can we do that?” Sherlock asks her, but Mycroft vehemently shakes his head.

“No, Sherlock. I can't… It wouldn’t work…” His voice is barely a whisper, meant for Sherlock's ears only but it's pointless of course.

“Oh, are you impotent?” Eurus asks with false sympathy.

“No! I…” Mycroft breaks off and Sherlock knows what he is on about, just as Eurus knows.

His brother wouldn't be able to get it up and fuck him, too scared to hurt Sherlock, and too terrified. “It's okay. I'll do it.” He steps out of his trousers and his pants, leaving shoes and socks in place. He knows how ridiculous he is looking but he doesn’t care. But… “Is this being recorded? Will it be on every TV screen in the country like Mr Did-You-Miss-Me?”

“Oh!” Eurus puts her hand upon her heart. “What you're thinking of me! No, Sherlock. This is a totally private party. Just our jealous little soldier here, you two lovebirds and little sis watching. What I was about to tell you, Doc, is that you can lend them a hand, or a mouth, if you want, just to help them get into the right mood. I know you're not gay; you mentioned it often enough but not just a tiny bit? Have you never leered after Sherlock's really great arse? I suppose you've seen it uncovered quite a few times when you still lived with him.”

John's jaws clench, and Sherlock realises it is true. Mrs Hudson has always thought they would end up together after all, and she knows people. Well, normal people at least. Sherlock knows that will never happen. He doesn’t fancy John. He doesn’t fancy anyone. And still he will have to have sex now.

He turns to the screen. “What about some lubrication?”

She laughs heartily. “Dream on. We won't spoil big brother. And I honestly didn’t even consider you would make this choice. Just spit on his arse, and let him or John spit on your dick. Oh, this is going to be so much fun!”

“I hate you,” Mycroft hisses. “If you were here now instead of hiding in this damn office, I'd strangle you with my bare hands.”

“You mean in the damn office of the former governor that you refused to shoot to save his wife?”

“You wouldn’t have let her go anyway,” Sherlock mumbles.

Eurus stares at him with a stern expression before she giggles. “Of course not. No loose ends, huh?”

“We'll be loose ends too,” John provokes her, and Mycroft looks at him as if he is close to strangling him now.

Despite John behaving like an idiot, Sherlock is not unhappy about that. He prefers his brother being his sarcastic and cool self over the broken man he has seen a minute before. But whom does he want to fool – what is about to happen will break him for good. He will do all he can to avoid that but really – his cards are very bad.

Eurus doesn’t say, 'Oh, good that you mention that; I will have to kill you all anyway.' She smiles. “I will disappear for good after this beautiful little game. I was just kidding. I would have killed her because I loooove to kill people.”

“John, don't say anything stupid again now…”

Eurus laughs and the doctor rolls his eyes. “Yeah, sorry.”

The woman smashes her hand onto the desk. “Get going now, Sherlock. I won't tell you again.”

Sherlock takes a deep breath and approaches his brother, who has stopped undressing after taking off his jacket. He closes his eyes for a moment and continues his efforts until he too only wears his socks and shoes. He looks pathetic and helpless and, despite his height, strangely small, and Sherlock's heart clenches in sympathy.

“We'll get through this, Mycroft,” he quietly says. “It's okay how you feel about me. It's not okay what I'll have to do to you but it isn't our fault.”

“It's my fault. Every bad thing that happened to you is my fault. I let her meet Moriarty…”

“Oh, yes, that was nice!” Eurus says dreamily. “Five minutes to organise all he did.”

Sherlock swallows. He can see how it has to have happened. Eurus with her gigantic brain must have provided the kingdom with clues only she could give them because why would they just lock her away without profiting from her cleverness, and in return she requested to be rewarded. He doesn’t care about the details now, and really, it's ancient history. “It's okay, Mycroft. You had your reasons. Now she's taking revenge for being locked away. But she won't break us. I won't allow it.”

“Oh! How heart-warming! Kiss him now, Sherlock! A real, deep French kiss, please.” It doesn’t sound like a plea. It's an order.

Mycroft looks as if he's close to passing out. This can't happen. Sherlock closes the distance between them and cups his brother's cheeks. They are warm and Sherlock realises he enjoys the contact. “It's fine,” he mumbles and bends forward to brush a kiss onto his brother's lips. They too are warm, and soft, and he hears Mycroft sighing, so quietly that nobody except Sherlock can have heard it.

“Mm, nice! More! I want to see tongues dancing!” Eurus encourages them.

Sherlock has never kissed anyone like this. He has thought it would repulse him. But when they both open their mouths and Mycroft's tongue meets his, he thinks it's weird and wet and odd but he doesn't find it awful. Probingly he moves his tongue, lets it swirl around Mycroft's, and Mycroft gasps but cautiously returns the action, and Sherlock catches himself closing his eyes and memorising the experience.

“Well, that's promising!” Eurus' voice interrupts them, and they break apart. “Oh, and look! Big brother, and I use this expression in more than one way, is getting a bit excited. Not impotent indeed!”

Mycroft turns away from him but Sherlock unwillingly glances at his crotch, and yes, Mycroft's generously proportioned penis has reacted to the kiss.

“Seems he doesn’t need your help, Johnny,” Eurus says with false regret in her voice. “But Sherlock… You will have to get hard, too. Let big brother touch you, hm? Or John, if you prefer that.”

"I can do it," John mumbles. "Anything to help you."

Sherlock glances at him but shakes his head before turning to his brother.

Mycroft looks desperate, but Sherlock nods. “Please. Wrap your hand around it.” Somehow he knows it will work better if someone else touches him. And not John. He has never really thought about what his type is; his type of man to be precise, he has always known he finds the male form more appealing. He has never been sexually drawn to a woman, not even Irene. He hasn't been drawn to a man either but he knows his orientation is homosexual. And if he had to think of a 'type', it would be a man who is taller than him, with long legs, and body hair. Dark hair, too. And he likes blue eyes. It's an almost perfect description of Mycroft and that's something he doesn’t want to think about now… He just knows he has to make a connection with his brother now so this will get as little horrific as possible.

His brother pants now but he reaches out and wraps his long fingers around Sherlock's flaccid cock without looking into his eyes. His face is pale and ashen. He pulls at his penis. It feels good. It's just a physical reaction; still it's a wonder it works at all, given the circumstances. And Sherlock fleetingly thinks it wouldn’t have worked if John had done it.

It's the first time his penis gets touched in a – however twisted – sexual way. And he gets hard almost instantly. Drops of pre-come appear in his slit, and Mycroft uses them to ease his way until Eurus tuts.

“Damn, you're really responsive! Better stop it now, Mycroft. We wouldn’t want Sherlock to come by your manual efforts after all. It's time to saddle up for him.”

The brothers share a look and Sherlock sees the desperation in Mycroft's eyes. He is on his way to retreating into himself and it might be the best solution for now, as long as he still functions the way it is required.

“Get on all fours, brother,” Sherlock suggests, and Mycroft gives him a brief nod before he hovers down.

Sherlock goes onto his knees, too, and wets his fingers. Mycroft flinches when he rubs his anal opening. The skin feels hot and wrinkled and Sherlock's feel his cock twitch. Twitch in anticipation.

Neither Eurus nor John have missed the reaction. The doctor gulps and looks uneasy. Eurus of course is delighted.

“Oh, I can see you can't wait to bury your cock in him. And well-endowed you are, too. He will spend you so much pleasure, Mycie! You have two minutes to prepare him with your hand, Sherlock, and then I want to see you pushing inside. Oh, and if I start panting here, just ignore me.”

“Ignore her anyway,” John mumbles, and Eurus laughs.

“How cheeky he is, the little man! Perhaps I should join you so you can fuck me next to them?”

“Just get your crazy arse in here and I guarantee you that you'll be fucked.”

Sherlock listens to their banter with only half an ear. He is busy making sure he won't hurt his brother more than it is inevitable. He inserts a thoroughly wetted finger as carefully as he can. The resistance is strong and Mycroft winces. “Try to relax,” he mumbles. “I know it's hard but you must try.”

“It's all right,” Mycroft whispers. “Give me another one.”

He is not ready for another finger and they both know it, but Sherlock's cock is, albeit not quite as impressive as Mycroft's is, still over average in length and girth, he supposes. And even if Mycroft is not a virgin in that regard, Sherlock is also sure he hasn't done this for a very long time. He has to be prepared as properly as it is possible under the circumstances.

The second finger goes in even less smoothly, and Mycroft trembles. Sherlock knows he is in pain. “Please… Try to relax your muscles around me.”

“I'm trying…” He takes a deep breath and arches his back.

A moment later Sherlock can feel he has just a tad more space to manoeuvre and he moves his fingers back and forth, slowly, cautiously. The air in the room is almost chilly but he can see droplets of sweat on his brother's back. He can smell it, can smell the sweat and the musk from his opening. It doesn't appal him.

“That's enough now. Get your cock into him. I want to see you come, Sherlock. And you will get extra points for making him come, too.”

“Just shut up, bitch.” John's voice sounds pressed and angry.

“Make me,” she retorts in an unaffected tone.

Sherlock does what she has suggested – he spits on Mycroft's quivering hole as soon as he has pulled out his fingers. Mycroft gasps and tenses even more.

“Relax,” he mumbles soothingly, as if he was speaking to a scared pet that is afraid of the vet. He lines up clumsily, scraping up his knees but not paying any attention to it. This is madness. Nobody guarantees them that Eurus will really let them go. Perhaps he does this for nothing. Perhaps they will still die, at least Mycroft and John, and Mycroft will leave the earth with the last memory being his brother violating him. They are both getting raped, actually. But for him it's a lot less humiliating. And the thought appears in his mind that he would have felt more harmed if she had forced him to do it with John. He doesn't know why but he is sure it would have been a lot worse for him.

His entire body shudders when his knob breaches Mycroft's muscles. Mycroft hisses in pain and Sherlock puts his hands onto his hips. “Okay?” He knows how stupid this question is. It's not okay. Nothing about this is okay. He is sure Mycroft would have never made a move on him. He would have taken his feelings for him to the grave. Now they have been dragged into the light to be stomped on by Eurus and exploited by Sherlock, against his will but still…

“Yes,” Mycroft croaks. “Do it. Do what the lunatic wants.”

And Sherlock starts moving. The friction feels good; there is no way of denying it. His cock has never been engulfed by the tight, hot walls of a man's anal canal. The lack of lubrication makes his movements difficult, and the knowledge that he is hurting his brother, no matter how often he lets saliva drop onto his penis when he pulls half-way out, is terrible, but still he stays hard. Mycroft is shivering and makes almost inaudible noises of discomfort. Sherlock knows he has to get it over with as quickly as possible.

“John. Get behind me and touch my balls.”

The doctor makes a strangled noise and says nothing, just clears his throat.

Sherlock has never had sex with anyone but he has had sex with himself whenever he hasn’t been able to ignore the needs of his body any longer. He knows his balls are very sensitive. He could fondle them himself but he wants his hands to remain on Mycroft's hips, making as much contact with him as possible. And it is not the same if someone else touches him, even if it's someone he only sees as a platonic friend, whatever other people might see in their relationship. And John will be behind his back after all so he can sort of disassociate the touch from the one who provides it. And just perhaps he thinks John should not get out of this completely unscarred. It is a nasty thought but he can't help it. Perhaps he has not fully forgiven John for a few things and this situation brings it to light. He has no interest in analysing his motives now. He just knows this has to be over as soon as possible. And John has offered to help them, hasn't he?

When John doesn’t move, Sherlock raises his voice. “Do it. Please. It won't be long.”

“Oh, this is so gripping!”

He knows John is about to shout at their torturer again. “Don't. Pretend she's not here.”

“Yes. Like you did when I was a little girl…”

The genuine bitterness in her tone surprises him but he forgets it at once when John's rather cool hand touches his sack. It feels like an explosion of lust in his groins – his balls clumsily fumbled with, his cock sliding in and out of his brother's tight heat. He spontaneously reaches around him finds Mycroft's plump member, bobbing up and down against his stomach in the rhythm of Sherlock's trusts. He grabs it and strokes it, and Mycroft makes a sound between moaning and sobbing.

“So Mycroft hasn’t told you about Redbeard?” Eurus asks innocently, and Sherlock can feel his brother cringing and trying to get away from him.

“No! Don't. Let's get through his, ignore her.” He masturbates him further and now Mycroft is crying.

“Dammit… You bloody bitch!”

Sherlock winces at John's rage but Eurus just laughs. “Oh, you're not repulsed by Mycroft leering for his own baby brother?”

The idea has crossed Sherlock's mind, too. John behaves as if he doesn’t mind it. But perhaps he has just learned to not show his emotions when it really counts.

“It would only repulse me if he had the hots for you, you depraved arsehole.”

“Oh, how eloquent. Anyway… Redbeard. Our lovely dog. Or wasn’t he?”

Sherlock just blanks her out now. He couldn’t have cared less about her innuendos now. He knows all she wants to do is disturb his brother even more.

“Oh, have I mentioned that it doesn't count if either of you doesn't come?” she chirps, contradicting what she has said before about bonus points.

Sherlock bites his bottom lip so hard that he tastes blood, his hands clenches hard around his brother's heavy prick, and then Mycroft shudders and cries out and hot fluid gets pumped over Sherlock's hand. Mycroft's orgasm makes his muscles contract around Sherlock's penis almost painfully, and he comes, too, buried deep in his brother's arse. John takes his hand away from his testicles and briefly pats his thigh before retreating to the side.

“Oh! You naughty boys!” Eurus screams enthusiastically. “Pull it out, Sherlock. Let me see the proof of your depravation.”

Sherlock is already doing it, disentangling from his brother, and when he pulls his softening penis out, it is followed by a gush of white fluid.

He doesn’t have to wait long for Eurus' comment. “Oh dear. That was an eruption. I bet Mycroft could taste it!”

“Come, get up.” Sherlock is on his feet in an instant, and he and John help Mycroft to stand up. Sherlock urges him to turn around, and he almost starts crying, too, when he sees his brother's face. It is swollen and wet, his eyes desperate, and snot is running out of his nose.

John produces a handkerchief from his pocket and wipes Mycroft's face as if he was Rosie. Sherlock winces at the gesture; his brother's face shows shame but also gratitude. “It's all right,” the doctor mumbles.

“I'm sorry,” Mycroft brings out, more tears running out of his eyes.

You are sorry?” He has more or less raped his brother and Mycroft is sorry? “I'm sorry.” He feels like some idiot in a bad show to say this but it has to be said.

Mycroft shakes his head vehemently. “Not your fault. Nothing of this is your fault.”

“And neither is it yours,” John says sternly. "There is nobody else to blame than…” He turns to glare at the screen and then he gasps. “She's gone.”

And then the door opens, gliding to the side inaudibly.

Sherlock can hardly believe it. It must be a trick. But there is no noise. Nobody comes in to hold them at gunpoint.

He turns back to his brother and catches him looking at the gun Sherlock has dropped. Sherlock instantly takes him by the shoulders. “Don't even think about that. You hear me? You are not doing that. Not now and not later. We've been through hell and I know it must have torn you apart, in more than one way, but we haven't gone down that path to give up now. Come. We need to get you to a hospital and have people over to take over the prison before every other criminal here breaks free.”

That wakes Mycroft from his stupor. He nods. “I will call some people.”

“And you will get examined.”

Mycroft shakes his head, which doesn’t surprise Sherlock at all.

“I… I can do that,” John offers. “I can see if he needs to be… treated. And I have everything at home if you only need some disinfection and balm, Mycroft.”

“They must have this here, too,” Sherlock says. “Is that okay? John having a look at you and if he sees no… severe damage, he can treat you here and again when you're at home or in Baker Street.”

Mycroft blinks rapidly. Then he nods. “Yes. I don't want anyone to know… Oh God…” He sobs again, and Sherlock curls his arms around him, not even thinking of asking for permission. All he wants is to spend some comfort, and he is glad when Mycroft slumps against him. They are both sticky and messy and gross but he doesn't mind.

Sherlock holds him for a minute. He doesn’t want to let go of him but he knows they have to take care of this prison. And he wants to know that his brother is physically okay.

He pulls back eventually. “Can John now…?”

Mycroft licks his lips and nods then. “Yes.”

John is behind him in an instant, and Sherlock holds his brother at the shoulders, seeing him grimace when the doctor looks at his intimate spot after spreading his cheeks, and hears him hiss when he touches him.

“It's okay I think. You are sore, which was to be expected, but there is no blood. The muscles are intact. Does it hurt a lot?”

Mycroft shakes his head. “No. Just stings a bit.” His voice is almost completely toneless.

Sherlock takes over again. “All right. John, have a quick look if you find a first aid kit. But be careful! We don't know who is waiting for us. Mycroft, get your phone and start calling the people who have to know.” He hands the gun with the one bullet to his friend and gathers their clothing. He will not get dressed before Mycroft can do it, too. His brother straightens his back. He will function. For now.

They have survived. Somehow they have survived. Eurus is gone and he doubts they will find her. But he knows Mycroft will do anything to get her back where she belongs – behind bars. And Sherlock will assist him in any way. And he's not going to let him go through anything he has to face now alone.

There will be pain. Guilt. Nightmares. For him and for Mycroft. But they are the Holmes brothers. They are not going to break. He won't allow it. They have been soldiers today and they will stand the inevitable struggles. They just have to.

Chapter Text

When Sherlock wakes up in his bed, he immediately reaches for his phone, his brain still dizzy. He has slept for about six hours thanks to chemical help, one that has been prescribed by his favourite doctor.

Are you all right? SH

The answer comes almost immediately.

Yes. You? MH

Sherlock sighs in relief. He knows perfectly well that his brother is as far from being all right as Eurus is from being a feeling human being, but this prompt answer is still a relief.

Yes. Just woke up. John gave me something, too. SH

The doctor provided Mycroft with a sleeping pill when they left him in his house in the early morning hours. Mycroft had hurried under the shower at once, and then John had applied some balm on his sore flesh again. Sherlock wanted to stay with him but Mycroft, looking completely exhausted and tired, assured him he would be okay and he preferred to stay alone. Sherlock didn’t like it but he understood his brother's wish all too well.

It did help for sure. MH

Will you go into the office? SH

I'm already there. Answering lots of questions. MH

Sherlock can imagine. There is a lot to answer for. Sherrinford, the fortress for insane criminals, having been in the hands of one of them for God knows how long. People have died. Eurus has escaped. But he knows there is one thing his brother won't mention.

Try to get home early and get some rest. If you need us to testify, just let me know. SH

I prefer working. And if you both could write it down, it would be a big help. Except for... you know. MH

Yes. What did you tell them how we got away? We must tell the same story. SH

Of course. I told them she had made you choose to kill either me or John, and you had pointed the gun at yourself instead, and she had got angry and told us to fuck off. MH

Sherlock briefly smiles about the curse, which is so untypical for his brother. The smile dies very quickly...

That makes sense. And it's exactly what I would have done if she had played this game. SH

He wonders what Eurus would have done had this really happened. Probably shoot them all in annoyance…

I don't think she ever planned that. MH

Sherlock agrees. Having him rape his brother must have been the funnier alternative in her eyes...

I guess you're right. Take care. We will talk later. I'll come over to your house in the evening. 8? SH

You don't have to. MH

I knew you would say that. Will you let me in nonetheless? SH

Of course I will. Bye for now. MH

Bye, big brother. Let me know if you need anything until I come. Anything at all. SH

Thank you. Just be safe. MH

Sherlock stares at this text for a long time before he finally gets out of bed.

*****

Sherlock goes down to Mrs Hudson's flat after showering and shaving off his stubble. John and Rosie are in her kitchen. The living room and the kitchen of 221B are still a mess after the explosion but John's room upstairs as well as Sherlock's bedroom and the bathroom have remained mostly unaffected by the patience grenade, and the doctor and his child have hardly spent any time in the flat they have been living in with Mary anymore. Sherlock supposes John will move back in as soon as 221B has been built up again completely. They haven't had any clients since it has happened, and Mrs Hudson has offered a spare room in her own flat for that purpose when they are ready for it. At the moment Sherlock couldn’t have cared less about solving puzzles. He doesn’t even know if he could do it right now.

Mrs Hudson looks at him full of affection and offers him a cup of tea when he sits down after greeting everybody. He wonders what John has told her. Enough for her to know that the night was very bad. He and John have agreed on not telling anybody any details about their confrontation with his sister, but he knows she is smart enough to figure out a lot by herself.

Now she seems to sense it's not a good time to talk. She provides him with toast and jelly and takes Rosie with her when she leaves the kitchen, but not before telling him, “You know, Sherlock, if you want to talk, I'm here.”

The kindness in her words makes him swallow and he fights back the tears that threaten to appear in his eyes. “I know. Thank you.”

She nods and pats his arm with her free hand and then leaves, Rosie safe in her arms. It's a picture of care and innocence, an innocence he has long lost and will never find back. But there is something he needs to find back. Or better: someone. Mycroft. He knows it's in his hands to keep his brother from going down. He has been the menace of his life, he has been his however unwillingly violator, and now he will have to be his saviour.

“How are you?” John asks in a hushed tone. Sherlock gives him a wry glance and he sighs. “Okay: on a scale from horrible to 'I need to get high asap'?”

Sherlock wraps his hand around his mug. “I don't know. I really don't know.” He does know he can't afford searching chemical comfort apart from the odd sleeping pill, for more than one reason. He needs a clear mind.

John nods. “Yeah, get that. Have you checked on him already?” There is no need to mention a name.

“Yes. Texted him, and he got back at once, saying he's okay. Which he of course is not. And on top of it he has to face inquisition at work for her crimes. Her other crimes…”

John shakes his head. “This all was… It doesn’t even feel real anymore. You know what I mean?”

He certainly does. The events of the night before are blurry already – everything that has happened before the unspeakable. John is right. It feels like it's been a bad dream. “Unfortunately it was all very real and I hope they won't give him too much of a hard time.” He listens to Rosie babbling in the living room and Mrs Hudson's friendly voice answering her.

“It wasn’t his fault,” John mumbles. “He gave exact orders how to deal with her. They ignored them. Okay, the part about Moriarty was a bit of a shock.”

Sherlock thinks he should have known when the dead consulting criminal has first appeared on a screen in Sherrinford. There had to have been a connection. Whatever it has really been about. It really doesn’t matter anymore.

“What about Eurus? You think they'll find her?”

Of course Mycroft has not only called in people to take care of Sherrinford, arresting the compromised guards and securing the prison. He has put a team on the task of finding Eurus.  

“I don't have much hope. You know how cunning she is. Unless she decides to come back, I doubt they will find her.”

“Will she? Come back?”

Sherlock shrugs. “You think I'd know that? She is impossible to deduce. She's… like something from another world.”

“It's strange, isn’t it? You and your brother – you've always thought you're so cold and everybody's an idiot, you name it. And then your sister comes along and all at once you're not quite as different from everybody else compared to her.”

“She's certainly the winner in that competition.” Sherlock bites his lip. “If she comes back to play another game, I'll kill her.” He supposes she has played this game to connect with him. It has all been about him. The girl on the plane – Eurus, asking to be guided back to the ground in some distant part of her brain, the one part that hasn’t been totally fucked up. Perhaps she has seriously dissociated. He doesn’t care. His hate for her burns his soul. She doesn’t deserve to be saved.

John doesn’t even wince. “Nah,” he says. “Not if I catch her first.”

Sherlock is touched more than he would admit. “John… Thanks for everything you did yesterday.”

“I did nothing. I failed. I couldn’t shoot this man…”

“You heard her. She would have killed the wife anyway.”

“Yeah. I… I was crushed when Mary died. When I had to watch her die, helpless and like standing outside of my body. But this… I have no words for it.”

Sherlock nods. He hardly has any, either. “I shouldn’t have asked you to, you know… touch me.”

John blushes. “I offered my assistance. And… it worked. It's not the first time I've touched a man, you know. If examining people counts. I'm glad I could… make it go by faster.” He shakes his head. “This is just… I never thought we'd be in such a situation. It has crossed every line.”

“Will it… destroy our friendship?” Because if it does, Sherlock doesn’t know how he's going to cope. He has almost lost John several times before. They had still been struggling enough before this latest mess.

But John opens his eyes widely. “No! Of course it won't. It was just… horrible. But it was nobody's fault than Eurus', and it won't bring us apart. Any more than… I already did.”

Yes. This has been standing between them ever since it happened. John has said he doesn’t blame Sherlock for Mary's death anymore. But he has never really apologised for his violence. Sherlock knows why he has done it. He had the right to lose control. But that doesn’t mean it's fine.

“I'm sorry. Fucking sorry. And I'm even more sorry I never said it before.” John's voice is hoarse.

“It's all right. I understood it.”

“I know. But that doesn’t make it right. You almost died…”

“You saved me.”

“After bringing you into hospital!”

“Which was the whole point.”

John smashes his flat hand onto the table. “God, we do lead a fucked-up life!”

They stare at each other for a moment before they both laugh rather hysterically. And Sherlock feels bad for it the next moment. But he's glad this has come up now. One thing to leave behind. Some sort of stress relief. And after last night, what happened between them during the Smith case doesn’t seem so horrible anymore. “Context,” he mumbles. Everything is always context.

John tilts his head but then he nods. “Yeah. Can it get worse?”

“She could have killed you. One or both of you. That would have been worse.”

“Yeah. But your brother… I'm very worried about him. As long as he can distract himself with work, it might be quite okay. But as soon as he's alone… I can't even imagine how he must feel.”

Neither can Sherlock. They have been in this horror together, in a way that he had never thought possible. But Mycroft has been hit so much harder. His feelings for Sherlock, which he has hidden for so long, are out. What has been said can never be taken back. This phrase has never seemed so true.

“What do you think? About him feeling for you like he does?” John asks him.

There it is. The other touchy subject. “He didn’t choose it,” Sherlock slowly says. “You don't choose whom you desire.”

“Yeah. And he would have never acted on it. Thinking you'd never share his feelings.”

This has been a strange way to put it. “You think I do?” Sherlock looks at him inquiringly. “Because I reacted so strongly to him?”

“God, no.” John rubs his face. “I… I don't know. Perhaps… you were not quite as repulsed as it would have been to be expected. Especially from you. Especially regarding your 'difficult relationship'. But your attitude towards him started to change before or am I wrong? Brotherly, I mean.”

“No. You're not. When he told us about Eurus, I started to remember. You were there. And I remembered quite a few situations with him. Not long ago I called him a 'rubbish big brother'. He really wasn't. He isn’t. I'll meet him later,” he adds, and he sounds strangely apologetic. What is he apologising for?

John nods instantly. “Sure. Perhaps you can help him. And… he might help you. I guess neither of you wants to seek professional help?”

“No, thanks. I recall my last therapist very well…”

“Ah, I doubt she'll pull off this stunt again… But yeah. I can't see you talking about it with anyone who doesn’t know you. You can always talk to me. And Mrs Hudson, she said. I didn’t tell her any details by the way. But she's smart. She knows something really terrible has happened.”

It was terrible. For sure. But Sherlock can't help thinking it was not quite as terrible as it should have been. Not for him. What does that say about him? He enjoyed it. His body enjoyed raping his brother.

“It wasn’t your fault, Sherlock.” John's voice is firm. “It was a situation of life and death. There was no choice.” He really knows him well.

“But as you said… I wasn't repulsed enough.” He feels sick all at once. What does Mycroft have to think about him?

“You were repulsed. By Eurus. By what she forced you to do. Not by him. God, there are no easy answers to this. You controlled your body, making it work the way it was required. Be glad you did. That it was physically arousing for you, well, you're totally inexperienced. It was new. He's not ugly.” He blushes at this rather naïve statement.

“He's my brother.”

“Yeah. A brother who likes you in ways brothers normally don't.”

“You didn’t seem to be too shocked by it.”

John shakes his head. “Perhaps a part of me knew it. At least suspected it.”

Sherlock has not expected this. “What?”

“The first day. He kidnapped me. Making sure I'm good enough for you. But that was only one part. He didn’t behave like a brother. Not even like a control freak of a brother. He almost seemed jealous.” John shrugs. “Later I thought it's because, well, he's a Holmes. But the impression stayed. And there were more moments like this. Over all those years.”

Sherlock needs a moment to process it. To wonder why he has never suspected it. “So you think it's okay?”

“Is it okay to lust after your younger sibling? Society, law and morals say 'no'. But you weren’t a child anymore. And what's more important: he kept his feelings to himself. You can't blame anyone for his feelings, just for his actions. He never forced himself upon you.”

No. But Sherlock has done it. Against his will but he has. He has done it and he has enjoyed it. Not mentally. But physically. And physical reactions don't lie. If he had been repulsed by Mycroft's feelings, he wouldn’t have got aroused like this, no matter how new and, for a lack of a better word, exciting these sensations have been.

“And,” John says, “you're a man who usually knows his own mind. If you think…” He breaks off and blushes.

Sherlock huffs out a laugh. It sounds almost like a cry. “You really do think I want him? Want to pursue another sort of relationship with him?” Does he? He suddenly remembers the kiss. It had been strangely intimate. He had definitely liked this kiss.

“I don't know! I'm just saying… if you do, and I don't say you do because you were able to… perform… I wouldn’t judge you. I don't judge him. It's not my place anyway. Only you can do that. And you clearly do not.” He makes a gesture with his hand as if to apologise for his stammering but he has made himself quite clear after all.

Sherlock's brain is whirling. He has no idea what he thinks. What he feels. What he wants. Everything else that happened in Sherrinford might be a blurred memory already but he clearly remembers everything he has done with Mycroft. He can still feel his tight walls around his cock if he allows himself to return to this. Would he want to do that again? Or anything else two men can do with each other? But would Mycroft even want it? Even though he does desire him? Would he want them to be… together? After pushing these feelings aside for half of his life? Would Mycroft want to be with someone who has violated him, in which forced way ever? The storm of questions makes him feel dizzy. He is further out of his depth than he has ever been before.

“Sherlock. It's not the time to think about this now. Try to help him by just being there for him, I suppose.”

“Make him heal? Do you think that's ever going to happen?”

John's look is sad when he answers. “I don't know. He's a strong man. And if he knows you don't condemn him and want to spend time with him, perhaps it will. Someday.”

Yes. Someday. Heal Mycroft. Heal their brotherly relationship. Find out eventually if there is some sort of future, as unusual, impossible and illegal as it may be.

Sherlock knows he has never had a harder puzzle to solve.

“You know,” says John while getting up with his plate and cup in his hands, “this conversation has been exactly as strange and surreal as yesterday was.”

Considering what they usually talk about during breakfast – Rosie, possible cases, Sherlock being bored, the police being completely useless, John having to work two shifts in a row etc. – Sherlock has to agree. “Perhaps life will never be again what used to pass as normal for us.” He highly doubts it will be. They have fallen down the rabbit hole deeper than ever before.

John nods. “You know, I think you're right. Let's just hope it doesn’t get worse.”

Yes. One could always hope.

“Mycroft wants us to write a report about yesterday.”

“Sure. Leaving out…?”

“Yes. He told me what we should say…”

They take care of it at once, both typing away on their laptops, forcing themselves to bring the blurry memories back. Sherlock assumes John doesn’t like it any better to bring them back than he does.

“Damn,” John says when he is finished. “Writing it down has just made me realise how fucking twisted this all was.”

Sherlock nods. They will have to live with the consequences. “Molly,” he mumbles. He has almost forgotten about the 'I love you' incident, which he has only mentioned briefly in his report as it was nothing more than a nasty game without deadly consequences. It won't interest anyone. Anyone but Molly, that is.

“Nah. Don't worry about her. I'll explain it to her. You've got other things on your mind. And of course I won't tell her anything about that, just that we confronted a nasty criminal who threatened to kill her.”

This is a relief. He knows he will have to confront her rather sooner than later but he appreciates John's suggestion to tell her beforehand. “I owe you.”

“No. You really don't.”

They share a cautious smile, and Sherlock realises that these events have brought him back John as his best friend. He just hopes it will bring him back his brother as well. In whichever way.

*****

Anthea is worried. No, that's not the right word. She is terrified.

She has attended Mycroft's meetings with Sir Edwin, Lady Smallwood and the Prime Minister. She has heard the gruesome story of a prison under the control of a woman out of control. A woman, super smart and incredibly dangerous, able to brainwash everybody and move in the public in disguise. God, she creeped her way into Sherlock's and John's life, even flirting with the doctor.

And then she killed a bunch of people just because she could and liked to manipulate and torture people. Anthea has believed every word of this surreal story Mycroft has told the others. Everything but the ending.

Why has Eurus let them go? Wouldn’t it have been a complete anti-climax to just storm off and give up the game after Sherlock had threatened to kill himself? It just doesn’t fit. If she wanted to see her oldest brother dead, why has she let him live? She had shot a woman herself. It would have made much more sense if she had killed at least Mycroft.

Smallwood and the two men seem to have bought this scenario. But Anthea knows Mycroft. She has heard in his voice that he is not only lying but hiding something horrifying. More horrifying that being threatened to be shot.

She has seen it in his eyes as soon as he appeared in the office. She has seen wrath in them, several times over the years. Coldness. Contempt. Sadness, usually after meeting his brother. But the pain she saw in them the moment he stalked through her office to go into his own one made her believe for a moment that something had happened to Sherlock. Sherlock, the only person Mycroft really cares about. Apart from her, maybe, but in a much stronger way.

But apparently the detective and the doctor have left the prison uninjured. So has Mycroft at first view. But there is something in his way of walking that reminds Anthea of things she prefers to forget. Although they can't be forgotten. And the unsteady look Mycroft gives her now when she brings him coffee reminds her of her mirror image, many years ago.

“Do you need anything, sir?” she asks and immediately realises her tone has given her concerns and suspicions away. Mycroft is a man who can read everything from a certain word or a mere movement of face muscles.  

He pales and she blushes. Then he clears his throat. “No. Thank you, Anthea. When is my next meeting?”

She is close to telling him to forget the sodding meeting with a few damn bank managers and go home. But what will he do then? Of course even if he stays at work all day, he will still inevitably have to face his lonely house in the evening. Have to face the demons that have followed him from Sherrinford.

“In forty minutes, sir.”

He nods. He looks more tired than she has ever seen him, not even after nights of MI6 missions they have spent together in the office, waiting for news, discussing matters. Anthea is an agent, too. She works as his personal assistant with all the mundane services this position includes, but she is not mainly there for bringing tea and scones. Mainly she organises his day, makes sure he uses his precious time in the best and most efficient way possible. He also values her input and he asks her for her opinion on all kinds of matters. Anything but the ones concerning his own family. She has known about Eurus, just like the inner circle has. She thought she was locked away for good, just as Mycroft did. But the youngest Holmes sibling is obviously the most cunning and most reckless and yesterday she played a deadly game because she wanted to. And something had happened before she let her brothers and Doctor Watson go. Something so terrible that Mycroft doesn’t want anyone to know. Not even Anthea.

She has to respect this. Has to refrain from asking questions. She will, for now. But if Mycroft doesn't recover quickly, she will talk to Sherlock.

And respecting his decision to keep it a secret doesn't keep her from thinking about what might have occurred. She has a strong suspicion that has been getting stronger by the hour, and it is horrible.

Anthea has known Mycroft Holmes for many years now and there is not much he could hide from her. And she has known since Sherlock has disappeared after his faked death that his feelings for his brother are even stronger and more delicate in nature than she has thought before. If she knows that, how crazy is it to suspect that his hyper intelligent and completely insane sister has figured that out, too? She knows he didn’t speak with Eurus very often in person, but it did happen a few times a year.

The conclusion is easy to draw. She can't know what exactly has happened but she doesn’t have many doubts that it involved both Mycroft and Sherlock. And given the way Mycroft walks… There isn’t much room for interpretation. And right before Mycroft comes out of his office to go to his meeting, Anthea catches herself crying at her desk for the first time since she has begun working for him. She hurries to blow her nose and wipe her face, knowing she is destroying her makeup, and then he is there, staring at her, and his face falls, and she can see that he needs all the willpower he can muster to not break into tears, too, and it is the worst moment she's had since she has been violated by her big sister's boyfriend so many years ago.

For a moment they stare into each other's eyes, and understanding and compassion pass from one to the other, and when they leave the office next to each other after she has hastily restored her makeup at her desk, he briefly touches her arm as if to comfort her, and she forces herself to smile at him instead of pulling him into an embrace and telling him that it will be all fine because not only would it cross the line and let them both lose any remaining self-control but she knows it won't be fine, not for a very long time if not for a miracle.

She realises she hates her boss's depraved hyena of a sister more than she could ever put in words. And she supposes both Mycroft and his brother share this sentiment.

And she knows she will have to talk to Sherlock eventually. It's not a matter of disrespect but of concern. But not today. Today she will do all she can to support her troubled boss. And probably Sherlock, if he has really had to do what she is very certain he had, will need some time to process it, too. She has never been his biggest fan for his rather nasty treatment of Mycroft, but right now her heart is full of sympathy and concern for both brothers Holmes.

Chapter Text

Mycroft behaves as always when he enters his house. He switches on the alarm again. He takes off his coat after storing his umbrella and putting his briefcase on the table next to the door. He slowly walks over to the kitchen to eat what his housekeeper has prepared for him before leaving.

But when he sits at his dining room table, a plate with cold chicken and salad in front of him, he doesn’t move. He doesn’t start eating. He doesn’t blink for too long. He doesn’t even really think.

He has functioned all day, more or less. He told the truth about Sherrinford to the terrified Lady Smallwood, Sir Edwin and a Prime Minister who was sitting there with his mouth open. Mostly. Modifying the ending. They didn’t question it. There was so much to be dealt with now. The press has to be fed with false information. If anything gets leaked about the events that ended with the governor and his wife dying, or the execution of the Garrideb brothers, publishers will have to be threatened to not print it. But Mycroft knows the possibility is very high that it will end up in the internet. The former guards are all locked up. But who knows what they have given away before. People are on it. Whatever appears in social media or any other platforms will be taken off immediately. Perhaps it can be controlled, even in this time and age. But he knows he has to inform their parents. Eurus is on the loose. She can show up at home. The house of the Holmes parents is under surveillance. It won't keep her from getting in if she's determined to do so. All he has done all day is trying to keep the damage in check, fruitless as it may be. It had to be done.

Thankfully, their parents are not at home at the moment, having left a few days ago for a short holiday in France. He has no idea how to face them and tell them that Eurus has not died as a child but instead having been locked away to eventually break free and bring mayhem over innocent people. Of course he will never tell them what she had forced Sherlock to do. He guesses they wouldn’t survive that shock.

Anthea has figured out what must have really happened; he has seen it in her eyes, and he is rather sure she has long figured out what he's feeling for Sherlock then, too. Of course it terrified him at first but he knows he can trust her. She won't tell anyone. She even cried for him. He hadn’t known she's a victim herself but he saw that, too. She has never testified against anyone. There are no records of sexual violation. But there won't be any of him, either. If one wants to hide this, one can. He feels sorry for her and he hopes someone has taken care of her attacker. He won't ask her. And he won't tell her anything about what happened with him and Sherlock.

Sherlock.

He realises that his hands are shivering. Sherlock will be here shortly. To do what? Apologise for something he is not guilty of? Demand answers for Eurus' innuendos about Redbeard? Accuse him of being depraved now that he had time to think about it? Comfort him? Being comforted? No. He can be sure it's not that. Sherlock has John. He has Mrs Hudson. And Molly Hooper, the one he confessed his love for.

Mycroft can't say if it was a lie. Sherlock sounded convincing, but then, she had demanded it.

If he was a better man, he would hope he meant it. He would want Sherlock to be happy with someone else. And a part of him does that. Another part cries in pain at the sheer thought.

He thought Sherlock would fall for John Watson, many years ago. He hasn't. He is just a friend. He thought he had fallen for Irene Adler. He is aware Sherlock saved her life. But she has never set a foot on British ground again. He has her phone under surveillance nonetheless. She texts his brother sometimes. But Sherlock never answers.

He has always told himself he keeps watching over his younger brother to keep him safe. And of course that is a big part of it. Sherlock has been in trouble often enough to justify it, even though he knows Sherlock hates it. But he also does it to assure himself nobody has taken Sherlock's heart.

He is so pathetic. Sherlock will never love him. Not in this way. He has shown so much care for him yesterday. It was already more than Mycroft had ever expected. Well, for sure he got more than he ever expected from Sherlock in Sherrinford… He can still feel his brother inside of him. He knows this memory is imprinted in his still sore flesh. It will never disappear. He still feels every touch of Sherlock's large hands on his hips. On his shoulders. How he cupped his face. Masturbated him. And he can still taste him. This kiss… The whole experience feels completely unreal. Like a dream. He is well aware it wasn't. He hopes for the pain, the shame, the horror to fade, leaving nothing but the memories of his brother's gentle touches, and even their coupling. Perhaps one day it will feel as if it had happened because of their own decision.

He feels ashamed when he remembers how he implied Sherlock should rather shoot him. And how he glanced at the gun when it was over. How terrified Sherlock looked. He can't do it. Can never do it. If he dies by his own hands, Sherlock's sacrifice would have been for nothing. And it would make him feel even guiltier than he already does. Mycroft can't let that happen.

Reluctantly he starts to eat. He realises he is very hungry when he chews the first bites. The plate is empty in no time. And then he hurries to the bathroom when he feels he's getting sick.

When he's finished vomiting, his stomach and throat sore from retching, he undresses and enters the shower. Stands under the hot spray for too long. His opening is burning again when he gets out. He shaves. Uses deodorant and eau de cologne. Scrubs his teeth. He does everything he usually does.

Nothing is as usual.

He goes upstairs and gets dressed. Comes back down and sits in his chair in the smaller living room. He waits for Sherlock. He has no idea how to face him. But he longs to see him.

Sherlock and longing. Those two words have been synonyms for more than two decades now. And yesterday they have both paid for his depravation. Pictures of this scene flicker through this mind, pictures as if he had been standing next to them, seeing himself on his knees, seeing Eurus grin about him, seeing Sherlock pound into him, the doctor watching them in horror.

He shudders and rasps out a sob. Has this really happened? Has Sherlock learned about his horrible feelings for him? Has John Watson seen him broken and deprived of all his dignity? Has Sherlock really kissed him, held him, fucked him? He wants to scream to scratch his face to hammer against the wall to die to disappear. The sob that comes with the first tears echoes from the walls of his silent house.

In the end his head falls to the right side, and he dozes off and sleeps until the doorbell wakes him. For a wonderful moment he can't remember what day it is and what has happened. The moment doesn’t last long. He gets up and tries to shake off the feeling of complete despair with every step he makes, pointless as he knows it is.

*****

Sherlock tries not to wince when he sees Mycroft. He is impeccably dressed. His hair is neatly styled. He smells good. But his face looks as if he had come straight out of hell. His eyes are red-rimmed and their expression is something between forced calmness, desperation and hopelessness. His face is swollen and pale. His hand fumbles with his tie and Sherlock can see his fingers are shivering.

All at once he feels completely helpless. What has he been thinking? What does he believe can he do for this man, who has to be troubled by feelings Sherlock can't even all name? What sort of comfort can he spend him? And does he really believe Mycroft sees a knight in shining armour when he looks at him? What he really has to see is a manifestation of guilt, shame, and horror. His brother will never look at him again without being reminded of these atrocious events. The revelation about his feelings will stand between them forever. And what Sherlock feels for him he is even less sure about than he was in the morning. He feels completely out of his depth.

Mycroft's stony features soften when he looks him in the eyes, seeing his troubles. “Come in, little brother,” he says then, in a tone as if he has to comfort Sherlock, like he did so many years ago whenever Sherlock was hurt/ in trouble/ afraid. Sherlock has chosen to forget it but he will never do it again. Mycroft was right, back then in the plane – he has always been there for Sherlock.

Sherlock is close to losing it at this point. But he thinks of what Mycroft told John the day before: 'Today we are soldiers'. Apparently he still has to be. Soldiers are strong. They fight. They fight for the right thing. At least that's what they think.

He takes a deep breath and enters the house.

*****

Sherlock looks like a little boy, sitting in the middle of Mycroft's large dark-blue couch. His gaze is unsteady and he nervously fumbles with his hands. But Mycroft thinks it's not because he is suffering from their mutual experience. It is concern about him and the insecurity of how to deal with him.

Ironically, this makes him feel calmer and more… real? This is his baby brother, out of his depth in an emotional situation he doesn’t know how to cope with. And Mycroft doesn’t see any repudiation, not even impatience about having to put up with him and his colossal failures that have led to this catastrophe, and Mycroft's unwanted desires for him.

Again he can feel Sherlock's hands on his hips, feels him thrusting into him. The memory hangs over him like a horrible spectre. And the worst part about it is that he deep inside enjoyed it. The contact. The stimulation. Sherlock's hand around his cock. Even when he was crying, terrified to no end about this forced sexual act, a perverted part of him couldn’t help but reacting to it, even craving it.

“How are you?” Sherlock finally breaks the silence, interrupting his troublesome thoughts. “God, what a question… I can see how you are…”

“I'm better now,” Mycroft retorts, and it's not a complete lie. “Seeing that you're rather okay is a relief.”

To his surprise Sherlock heftily blushes. “You think I shook this off already? Business as usual?”

“No. I didn’t say that. I didn’t mean to imply it wasn't horrible for you. Of course it was.” He says it with more than a hint of self-loathing. His brother had certainly never thought in his wildest dreams he would be forced to have anal intercourse with him. Or sharing a kiss like lovers do. “I'm sorry you had to go through this.”

“I told you before…”

“Yes,” Mycroft interrupts him. “And I'm grateful you think so. But it was my fault. Without my… irregular feelings for you, she would have never forced you to do that.” Why has Sherlock chosen this option at all? They haven't been close for a long time. There have been times when their relationship was a bit less hostile, like when he helped Sherlock to prepare the dismantling of Moriarty's network. But there has never been an affectionate moment between them since Sherlock has grown up. The only time Sherlock reached out for him was during John's wedding reception. And Mycroft refused to follow his invitation because… He doesn’t really know. In any way he did not expect Sherlock to pick this alternative. It would have made much more sense if he had shot him. For a plane that didn’t even exist… The biggest irony of this day – John Watson figuring out what they both had not seen.

Sherlock has watched him closely. Now he shakes his head. “She is so depraved, I think she would have done that anyway. But of course she thought I would shoot you.”

“Why didn’t you?”

Sherlock closes his eyes for a moment. “Never ask me that again, Mycroft. You're my brother. I'd have never shot you, no matter what the other option would have been.”

His voice is hoarse with suppressed sentiment, and Mycroft savours this moment. He longs for reaching out and touching Sherlock's face. But of course this is out of the question. He will never touch him again.

“I mailed you my and John's version of the events,” Sherlock says after a moment of silence.

Mycroft nods. “Thank you. I will have a look and give it to the people who are concerned.”

“Do we… have to expect any sort of legal troubles? Because of the people who died?”

Mycroft shakes his head. “No. Of course not. Eurus killed the Garridebs and the hostage, and the governor killed himself. There are no close relatives. Anything that might come up will be dealt with. You and John have nothing to fear.”

“And you? Not legally but otherwise?”

He sounds concerned, and Mycroft allows himself a moment to savour this tone. “We will see. But so far it looks as if I'm going to keep my job.” Not that he cares about that. If they fire him, he will just nod and leave. It doesn’t matter. All at once he feels as if the rest of energy has left his body. Sherlock will leave soon and he may check on him again, once or twice, before he will forget about him again and lead his life with John Watson and his cases. He doesn’t want him to go just now and gathers all his self-control to not break down again. He can do that later. “You must have questions.”

Sherlock swallows and Mycroft says, “About Redbeard.” About me. About how depraved I am…

“Oh. Yes. Not a dog?”

“No. He was your best friend, your only friend to be precise. Victor Trevor. When you forgot about Eurus, you forgot about him, too.”

Sherlock looks rather shaken and Mycroft tells him the story about the boy Eurus took away. “She was horribly jealous of him. He was your one and only. Like John is now.” He briefly wonders why Eurus has let the doctor get away so easily. Perhaps because he and Sherlock have got rather estranged since Sherlock has come back from Serbia. Who knows what her motives to do anything are anyway? He has never understood her. But one thing he knows for sure: she has wanted him to be destroyed. A tiny spark of strength lightens up in his soul. He doesn’t want her to win…

“Why didn’t you tell me about her? Her connection with Moriarty? At least when we planned my faked death?”

He has every right to ask that. And he doesn’t sound accusatory, just curious. There isn’t a sufficient answer to this though.

“I… I don't know. You had chosen to forget her. And… I thought we were in control of him.”

Sherlock nods. “We were after all. He's finished. So is Eurus. They lost their games.”

“Did they?” Mycroft stares at him, feeling more awake than he has done since the day before. What a pretty illusion this is. Did she lose? She did to them what she had wanted to. And she has reduced him to a weak bundle of a man. She has not broken Sherlock though. And he is here after all.

“Yes. They lost! We pulled through! We're alive. You know I don't blame you for anything. You'll be fine, Mycroft. We'll be fine. And I'm not leaving you alone.”

Mycroft feels a storm of sentiments he can't name. “Our parents…” he whispers, not knowing how to put anything else in words. Sherlock has forgiven him. He really doesn’t despise him for feeling for him like he does. He is not appalled by him, neither by his weakness he has shown the day before, nor by what he had to do with him.

Sherlock nods. “Yes. They should know. If your people don't find her…”

“We both know she's smarter than any of my agents. And I don't have any idea where she would go. We don't know if she has false identities. I think that's very probable.”

“Yes. Agreed. We must warn Mummy and Father.”

They will be so upset. It shouldn’t matter in the light of anything else that has happened, but Mycroft still feels bad about it. Because he has always been the good boy? He is pathetic…

Sherlock doesn’t seem to mind. “I'll be there when you talk to them. Don't do it on the phone. Let them come to your office. Where you feel… more secure.”

How sensitive his brother is. He has always called himself a 'high-functioning sociopath', and probably C.A. Magnussen would agree, but compared to Eurus, his brother is just a very smart man with a sympathetic soul. For his friends, and right now even for him. “Thank you. That will be good.”

Will he ask him now? How it happened? How he has fallen in love with him? Why he hasn't fought it harder?

But Sherlock instead says, “Can I have a drink?”

Mycroft hasn't offered him anything, not even a glass of water. “Sorry. Yes. Of course.” He gets up and hurries to provide his brother with a glass of the best whiskey he owns. And pours himself one, too. He hasn't even thought of getting drunk before and he wonders why. Perhaps because he fears being drunk means to be even more open for sentiment.

He sits down on the couch when he returns. He doesn’t know why. Sherlock won't want him so close. But his brother cautiously smiles at him. “Cheers. On survival. On not succumbing to things that were meant to break us.”

Mycroft's hand shivers when he drinks after silently raising his glass. He is sure Sherlock will survive. It doesn’t seem to have affected him all that much. He might even forget it eventually.

He winces when Sherlock's hand is very close to his face all at once and he only realises now that a tear is rolling down his cheek. Sherlock wipes it away with a feather light touch. “It's okay.”

“Nothing is okay. I'm so sorry I drew you into this mess,” Mycroft splutters. “I'm sorry I feel for you like no brother should do. I'm sorry you had to touch me like this.”

Sherlock takes the glass from his hand; he has set his own one onto the table already. He grabs Mycroft's hand and presses it. The gesture feels wonderful.

He shakes his head. He doesn’t deserve 'wonderful'. He doesn’t deserve Sherlock's comfort and compassion. “You don't have to hold my hand, Sherlock.”

Sherlock clears his throat. “What if I need it? Holding your hand?” His eyes are boring into Mycroft's, and he looks completely serious.

Mycroft is speechless for a moment. But of course there is only one answer to this. If Sherlock needs them to hold hands, that’s what they will do. And when he allows himself to relax against the backrest of the couch and Sherlock puts his other large hand over their already connected hands, it feels warm and weird and wonderful.

*****

Sherlock can see his brother calm down. The physical contact and his confession to need it obviously mean a lot to him. It feels good. He likes it. It is weird though, being so close to him again, fully dressed. He can still see his pale skin. Freckles. Big pink nipples under a generous amount of hair. His long cock and large balls. His… hole. He recalls the scents and the sweat. It disturbs him. It excites him. What kind of a brother is he? What kind of a man?

“Sherlock?” Mycroft sounds concerned.

He has always been concerned about him. Always protective. And even now that he is the one who has been violated, by him of all people, he still is concerned about his well-being.

Sherlock doesn’t think. He lets go of Mycroft's hand and slings his arms around his waist, burying his face in the older man's chest. He hears his brother gasp but then his arms are wrapped around him, a hand strokes over his hair.

“It's all right, little brother. Everything will be all right.”

This is wrong. He is here to comfort Mycroft, not have him comfort him. He raises his head. “I'm sorry, Myc. For everything. For all the nasty things I said to you. For all those years I rejected you. For the pain I had to inflict on you yesterday. Let me make up for it, please.”

Mycroft looks as if he's close to crying again, but not from hurt and pain. “My dear boy. There is nothing you had to make up for. You have no idea what it means to me that you're here. That you didn’t shrug it off. That you allow me to touch you. That you don't hate me for wanting you. I still do that, you know…” He swallows hard. “It's only fair to tell you now, after not telling you so many other things I should have. This won't disappear. I've regarded you like this for too long. I'm sorry.”

“Don't be,” Sherlock immediately answers, and he means it.

Mycroft stares at him and shakes his head, obviously to himself. “Thank you. Thank you that you won't drop me even though this will always be between us.”

Sherlock can't say it. He wouldn’t know what exactly he wants to say. But he reaches out and lays his hand on Mycroft's face, and he let his eyes express it. Express that there is a chance. A chance that he will feel like Mycroft. His brother's eyes widen in astonishment and disbelief. “No, Sherlock,” he whispers then. “You're just confused because of yesterday. You are not used to physical stimulation. It was normal you reacted and were able to… perform. It doesn’t mean anything.”

Sherlock shook his head. “It's not that. I was shocked that it did work so well under these circumstances. But I'm not talking about my cock. We never have to do anything again if you don't want. Not like this… But… Don't push me away. Let me get to know you again. And if there's a chance… God, I'm so bad at this.”

Mycroft has listened with wide eyes. Still he is holding Sherlock loosely. “I don't know what to say.”

“Well, then we have definitely something in common,” Sherlock answers with gallows humour.

Mycroft stares at him for a moment before he does something Sherlock has not expected to see. He smiles. And the smile, as shy and insecure but at the same time genuine and sweet and carefully hopeful as it looks, does something to Sherlock's heart that he couldn’t put in words, either, but he smiles back, reassuringly, and Mycroft gently pats his back, and it's enough for now.

Chapter Text

“My God, what a story.” Greg Lestrade looks completely terrified.

Sherlock nods. “Yes. It wasn’t an experience we'd like to repeat.” Of course Greg doesn't know everything. In fact he knows nothing about the final problem. But Mycroft agreed on Sherlock telling him the rest, under the pledge of secrecy, as Eurus is still out there after all. She could target Sherlock's other friends anytime. It isn’t very probable but they couldn’t rule out the possibility completely. So John told Molly that it had been Sherlock's sister she could thank for this awful scene when he visited her while Sherlock was with Mycroft.

“She's still very upset,” John told him during breakfast.

Sherlock only just refrained from rolling his eyes. “Did you tell her what else Eurus did? I mean, except for this last 'puzzle'?”

“Yeah. But you know her – she is very sensitive.”

Sherlock preferred not saying anything to this, remembering how Mycroft had looked when he had let him in the house the evening before. His brother might have more reasons to be very upset... But he hadn't looked that bad anymore when Sherlock had left it again and the thought brings a fuzzy feeling when he remembers his brother's face now.

Greg watches him closely. “And then she just let you go?”

John winces next to him and Sherlock is close to kicking him. Lestrade is no fool. And John is a rather bad liar; he's simply too honest. “Yes,” he says calmly. “When I spoilt her last game, she had enough. And she needed a head start so she'd be gone before Mycroft's people took over the prison.”

The policeman looks as if he still had his doubts but he lets it pass, certainly well aware that he can't force them to tell him the whole truth. “I see. Thanks for telling me. I do think there should be an international warrant for her.”

Sherlock shakes his head. “Mycroft has his agents on her. He wants to keep it under his control.”

“If she's really so good at disguising herself, they'll never find her.”

“Probably not. But the police wouldn’t have any better chances then.”

The DI shrugs. “Yeah. Damn… This is really horrible! First she blows up your flat, then this. Killing all those people. Troubling poor Molly. You should have taken some time off. Go somewhere nice.”

That's the very last thing on Sherlock's mind now. He wants to be in London. He wants to make sure his brother is okay. He wants to hold his hand.

He told John about it. The doctor was stunned but pleased. “That's a good sign. He's not averse to being touched. Especially by you.”

Sherlock knew what he meant but he still winced at this. Of course John has a point. If Mycroft blamed him for what had happened in any way or was appalled by him now, he would certainly not allow him to touch him, in whichever innocent way, so soon again. On the other hand he can't imagine Mycroft being happy about getting touched by anyone else.

They had been sitting together for a while longer, silent at first and with a bit more distance, drinking together. Then Mycroft had told him about Anthea. One more person who knew and understood. Sherlock is glad his brother has someone so supportive in his work space, where he spends most of his time after all. Anthea will certainly have a weather eye on his brother, and if she really figured out what exactly had happened, she will hopefully let him know if Mycroft seems very troubled. He might even contact her. They have never been the best of friends but she has to know he wants to be informed about Mycroft's well-being. Of course he will do his best to check on him every day, preferably in person. He decides he will go over to Whitehall when he has taken care of Lestrade's case. In this way he can chat with Anthea – no matter how embarrassing this might get – and show his brother that he is serious. He cares. He wants to know he's okay. He wants to know him better. What else he might want will get clearer in the go, he assumes.

“All right,” he says, “let's see how this poor man ended up with a machete in his back on this lousy street.”

*****

Anthea winces when someone opens the door of her office without knocking. Only two people in the Cabinet Office do this – the pain in the arse of a PM and Lady Elizabeth Smallwood.

“Is he there?” she asks Anthea without bothering to greet her.

“Yes, but he's busy.” She can't stand this woman. Never could. And her boss is annoyed by her even on his best of days, and today is certainly none of it…

“We're all very busy,” the lady retorts and a moment later she knocks at Mycroft's door.

As usual when the lady stalks into his office, Anthea opens the intercom connection so she can hear them and if the unwelcome advances of the obstinate lady get too unbearable, she will save Mycroft by pretending he has to go into a meeting or a conference call. The system works quite well. Mycroft could end the connection anytime of course, but he has never done that…

“Lady Smallwood…”

“Call me Elizabeth! How often have I told you!”

Anthea suppresses a sigh and goes on working, with half an ear listening to Lady Smallwood nagging about some MI6 problems. At least it is work-related. So far…

Mycroft looked better when he arrived in the morning. Less shaken and troubled. Serious and pensive for sure, but not as if he's close to passing out any moment anymore. Anthea assumes it has something to do with Sherlock. Which would have been the first time Sherlock had some good influence on his brother's mood. And this after such drastic events? She is rather sure though Lady Smallwood's visit will not improve his mood in any way.

When she hears that Mycroft's voice is losing its calm, polite tone and starts sounding a little desperate and exhausted, she prepares for interrupting the session. She knows he has to work with this woman and he is too polite to tell her to fuck off and spare him her unwelcome advances so it's up to her to get her out. But then Lady Smallwood says goodbye and a few moments later she is standing in front of Anthea's desk. The door between Mycroft's and her office is closed again but of course the intercom is still open.

“What is wrong with him?” the boss of MI6 whispers. “He looked bad yesterday and today it's not much better.”

“I believe you know his sister gave him and his brother a hard time.”

The lady scrutinises her. “I get that but still…”

Anthea shrugs. “It's all I know. Excuse me now, I have to give him something to sign.” She actually does but of course it's not that urgent.

The lady doesn’t look satisfied but then, she never does. She nods at Anthea and has disappeared seconds later. Anthea is about to look after Mycroft when she hears the woman's voice talking on the floor in front of her office to someone who answers in a well-known, deep voice, and she stays seated, looking up expectantly when Sherlock enters her office. After knocking…

He is pale but then, he always is. There is a shade of pain in his eyes though, hidden behind his usual cool demeanour. All in all, he looks slightly troubled and definitely serious but not as if he has gone through such a traumatic experience, and for a moment she wonders if she has drawn a wrong conclusion – after all it doesn’t have to be Sherlock who… abused Mycroft? Perhaps she is wrong about this too? But then she realises Sherlock is here to talk to her (and to his brother, too, obviously). And he has no idea how to start.

She has closed the connection with Mycroft's office the moment she realised it was Sherlock who's about to enter. She says softly, “Hello, Sherlock. How are you?”

*****

Sherlock clears his throat. “Good. Thanks. You?” He sounds like an imbecile but Anthea smiles, and it doesn’t look condescending.

“I'm fine, thanks. You want to check on him?”

Sherlock is relieved she gets to the point so quickly. “Yes. But first…”

“You want me to let you know if he feels worse.”

Damn, this woman is smart! “Yes. I mean… I don't need to know any indiscrete details, just that I should be there for him. I mean I'm planning this anyway but he is here all day, or in the Diogenes and…”

“It's fine, Sherlock. Of course I'll do that. If he has a really bad day, I'll immediately text you.”

“Fine. Great.” And Sherlock realises now that they have changed roles in a way. Not that Mycroft has asked for it. But now Sherlock wants someone to, well, not spy on him but keep an eye on him to make sure he's not going down, like Mycroft did it with John all those years ago. And he fears there will be bad days. No matter how much Mycroft is pleased about them developing a better relationship - what has happened is nothing anyone could shrug off. Mycroft will try to go on pretending he´s doing well, doing his job as if nothing had happened. But this will probably come up again.

Anthea is watching him. “I'm glad you want to take care of him. I just hope it will be a permanent change. I don't think he could cope with you dropping him again as soon as you're busy again and…”

Sherlock shakes his head vehemently. “No! That's not going to happen. What I did… Had to do…” He breaks off, seeing the pictures on his mind once again. He hasn’t shrugged them off, either… “I know I was an awful brother for him for way too long. There're reasons for this, but they're no good reasons. I want to make it better. And I'm not playing with him. I'm deadly serious.”

He can see her eyes widen at the part 'not playing with him'. He knows he has given too much away between the lines towards this intelligent woman. She looks surprised but not exactly appalled, just worried. “That's… Um…” For once she is at a loss for words.

Sherlock bends over her desk. “I'm not going to hurt him again. Ever. I'm not going to force him to do anything. Ever again. It wasn't my choice to do it and now that it is, I guarantee you that it will never happen again. I had a choice though, yes. I could have killed him instead…” Somehow it's important to let her know this. He instinctively knows they could trust this woman.

Anthea seems to have suspected this but still she pales. “This bloody bitch…”

Sherlock surprises himself with grinning. “The perfect description for my dear sister…” He gets serious again. “I'm not out for hurting him. I did that often enough…” Glimpses of the past appear in his mind. Joking about his weight (completely unjustified above all) and refusing to take care of his cases were the harmless moments. Twisting his arm and pushing him against the wall and drugging him to betray him and the country are on the other end of the scale. He has so much to make up for. “I want to be a very good brother for him.” And perhaps more than this, he adds in his mind but of course doesn’t say it. He can see he doesn’t have to.

“As long as he's okay with it, I'll support you both, Sherlock,” she slowly says after a moment of silence. “But what you have to consider is that for him this was all… theoretical. I'm sure he felt heavily guilty about certain… feelings. Perhaps it's nothing he even wants to make real. He had to thanks to your sister but…”

He knows this. It has been nothing but longing. Pining. There is a difference in wanting something very morally condemned in theory and actually doing it. Mycroft has said though that his feelings are not going to change. If he doesn’t want to act on them, it will be because he thinks it's bad for him, Sherlock. His job is to show him that it isn’t. If they really get there. Deep inside though Sherlock knows, knows since this horrible forced sex, that he has feelings for his brother he had never thought possible. Where have they come from? He doubts they just materialised in this situation. They must have slept in him before. Slept very deeply… until Eurus has brutally woken them up. Did she know? he wonders then. But how? And why would she make them aware to him, in whichever horrible way?

“In any way, even if he really wants this, he will need time,” Anthea continues. “And patience.”

“It might surprise you, but I can be, in fact, very patient. Do you have any idea how long it takes a foot to decompose in nitric acid?”

Anthea grimaces and Sherlock chuckles. And this time it just feels good to laugh.

He steps back from her desk. “He's in good hands with me. I know you have every reason to doubt this but I will prove myself worthy.”

Anthea smiles. “You haven’t got anything to prove to me. But to him, certainly.”

Sherlock nods and takes the paper bag he has brought from the chair he has put it on. “Let me start now then. I've brought him some sandwiches.”

“Oh! Wonders never cease.”

“Sarcastic women are a menace.”

“Says the former worst menace of all.”

Sherlock throws his head back and laughs, and then he gives her an ironic little bow and elegantly stalks to the door of Mycroft's office which he enters after being asked in after knocking politely.

*****

Sherlock notices two things at once when he looks at his brother. First, Mycroft looks exhausted and annoyed (and Sherlock has met Lady Smallwood in the corridor and can easily deduce why) but his eyes brighten up when he sees him. Second, Sherlock's heart makes a jump at this reaction, and at the smile that appears on Mycroft's lips when he stands up to greet him.

“That's a very nice surprise,” he says quietly. “Take a seat.”

Sherlock nods and goes over to his desk, putting the bag onto it. “I brought you something for lunch,” he says. “Wasn’t sure if they let you out to have some. I have no idea what you usually do for lunch though. Does Anthea bring you something?” He is babbling and he realises he is nervous. This is Mycroft's work space. He has no idea if their personal relationship should be brought here. Which is rather stupid as Mycroft is clearly happy to see him. But this all is so foreign to him. Probably would be even if it had not started like this.

Mycroft watches him, clearly deducing why he is behaving so untypically. And Sherlock fears he will draw the wrong conclusion that Sherlock doesn’t feel comfortable with him. He hurries to add, “And I wanted to see you. Make sure you're okay. And… just see you.”

Mycroft's expression softens and the affection in his eyes is a sight Sherlock wants to see more often from now on. Always, actually. He is sure it won't be like this. But this look goes straight into his heart. Who knew he could be so… romantic? Is that the right word? He is lost on these unknown grounds. He assumes so is Mycroft. Well, they have something to discover together then. Is it crazy to even imagine this? Considering their first sex (if he wants to be presumptuous enough to expect there will be more) will always be a rape? But they have both been raped. Perhaps that makes it easier. Perhaps he is just losing his mind. He drops onto the visitor's chair under his brother's scrutiny.

“That was very nice of you,” Mycroft says and his hand seems to stroke over the ugly paper bag in reverence by itself.

The gesture is so sweet that Sherlock swallows. And it makes him calm down. Mycroft is chuffed that he is here, so much is sure.

“I very rarely leave my office for lunch,” Mycroft continues. “Usually Anthea brings me something. Sandwiches, Chinese, sometimes pasta.”

“Perhaps, one day, when it's nice outside, we could have a walk in the park and eat there together,” Sherlock spontaneously suggests.

That brings him a smile. “I would like that very much.”

Sherlock knows his brother is busy and he won't stay to watch him eat. He hasn't brought anything for himself so that would be awkward, wouldn’t it? And why has he not brought a sandwich for himself as well? Or for Anthea, too? He's an idiot. He should be better leave now. This is not the place to develop their relationship, brotherly or not. But he stays seated and suddenly he bends forward and puts his arm onto Mycroft's desk in an inviting gesture, the next moment wondering again if he's going mad and who has captured his brain to make him do such things.

But Mycroft only hesitates for a second before doing what Sherlock has wanted – he takes his hand, and after gently pressing it, he even entwines his fingers with Sherlock's. Sherlock is speechless, staring at their linked hands. The feeling is just… awesome. And the gesture, the linking of the fingers in a way that is not brotherly at all, is a promise. A promise to try and act on something his brother has dreamt about for decades. He has paid a high price for these desires and still he is willing to give making it reality a try.

Sherlock is afraid to say anything, afraid he could destroy this moment. But their looks meet and he knows his eyes are expressing what he doesn’t want or can't put into words.

'It's okay to love me like you do.'

'Don't have a bad conscience or think you're coercing me into anything.'

'Don't be afraid to act on your feelings. It's okay if you can't but don't let it be because you feel guilty because of me. There is no need for it. I'm a big boy and you know best I never do something I don't want. Not under normal circumstances.'

'I want this. It might scare me and make me feel like slithering on ice but God help me, I want this.'

And he can see his thoughts are transported to his brother. Mycroft looks stunned and fearful but also very happy. There is still pain in his eyes. He has not 'got over it'. He will never forget it. But it has been something out of their control, and they have it back now. He doesn’t say anything but he lifts their linked hands and brushes a kiss onto Sherlock's knuckles, and this action makes Sherlock blink heftily. After a long moment, they both start to smile.

*****

Sherlock hears voices from the living room when he opens the door of Mrs Hudson's flat and is close to turning around and go somewhere else. The blown up living room of 221B without any furniture seems like a good option… He remembers that tomorrow the build-up of the flat will begin and his mood, which was actually rather good until a few seconds ago, sinks even more. Tomorrow won't get very funny. Their parents will come to the Diogenes in the morning. Mycroft told him that he asked them to; they have returned from their trip late in the previous night and called him to tell them they're back and probably stories about their line-dancing appointment. They have no idea why Mycroft wants to see them and Sherlock can't wait for this conversation. He will be at his brother's side, just as he has promised.

And now he sighs and takes off his coat and goes to face Molly Hooper.

He takes in the sight when he pushes the door open. Mrs Hudson is just providing their guest with tea. John is sitting on the couch, looking at him with an apologetic expression. Molly sits in a chair with a face even paler than usual, Rosie on her lap.

“Good afternoon everybody,” Sherlock rumbles. “No clients, John?”

“Nah. Will have to go to the clinic in an hour. Molly will take Rosie with her.”

Sherlock nods. “Fine. So I'll be free like a bird.” He regrets these words at once when Molly's face darkens. Her thin lips are pressed together and he remembers how he told her years ago they were lacking in size. Which they are but it doesn’t seem like a good idea to repeat it.

He sits down next to John and smiles when Mrs Hudson puts her hand onto his shoulder.

“Tea, dear?”

“Yes, please. Thank you.”

“Um, would you take Rosie for a while?” John asks the old lady when she has handed Sherlock the mug.

“Of course, dear, we'll go to the playground.”

Sherlock wonders if this is safe. What if Eurus decides to come back and take Rosie? He exchanges a look with the doctor. John gets up immediately. “You know what, I'm coming with you.”

Sherlock is relieved on one hand. On the other hand he has to face Molly alone now… But he knows this would have happened anyway soon enough.

“You're afraid your sister could come back?” she asks when the other three have left the flat after gathering some toys for Rosie.

Sherlock shrugs. “I have no idea. Perhaps she's already left the country. Perhaps she hides around the corner. She's completely mental. Nobody can say what she'll do next.”

Molly nods. “It must have been horrible. All those people she killed.”

“Yes.” Sherlock knows she will eventually get to the point. He knows John has explained everything to her. Everything but the end. He has told her the same story about Eurus making him choose between John and Mycroft, and him turning the gun against himself. He can see this situation as if it had really happened. For a moment he wonders if it would be possible to reprogram his mind into believing this is what happened. Also with Mycroft. But he knows it wouldn’t work, and he wouldn’t even want this. Not if it means to make what is about to develop between them impossible. He really has fallen down the rabbit hole, but he doesn’t mind it because love is luring him from down there.

Love is of course the cue for this conversation. He clears his mind when Molly doesn’t say anything, just glowering into her cup. “Um. What happened with you… I really thought your life was at stake. I'm sorry. I should have deduced it. But nobody can deduce Eurus. She's…”

“…completely mental, you said. And there was no other way to save me from this imaginary threat than humiliating me like this?!”

Sherlock's jaws clench. “No. I had to get you to say that. I couldn’t warn you. I'm sure John has explained this to you in every detail.”

“You should have been smarter than this.”

Perhaps she's right. Perhaps if he'd had more time, he could have found another way to make her say it, in a more theoretical way. But he didn’t not have this time. “I was trying to save your life. Sorry that there wasn't a bomb to prove it.”

She sighs. “I believe you. But you don't know how it made me feel…”

“Well, you had your revenge. Was it necessary to make me say it first?” How must Mycroft have felt about this? Because of what happened afterwards, he didn’t think about it. But he had said it as if he meant it, because she had demanded it. And it pisses him off now.

She bits her lip and looks up to him with these impossibly big eyes. “You're sure it's not true? Because you did sound genuine…”

Sherlock almost explodes. “No. I didn't mean it. We're friends, or we have been.” She winces at this. “What I did was the action of a very worried friend. What you did was selfish and stupid.”

She pales and gets up and he knows she's close to pouring her tea over him. Instead she sets the cup on the saucer with too much force. “You are a bastard. You've always been!”

Sherlock snorts. “Yes. Nothing new here. You've changed, Molly. And not for the better.” He remembers how he was about to visit John and Rosie, and how Molly, the baby on her arms, told him John didn’t want to see him. That John would have anyone but him. It feels weird to blame her for that even though he has forgiven John. But John has proven he's still his friend after all. He accepts his feelings for Mycroft. He helped his brother when he needed him. He and the doctor have reconciled. They are back on the grounds of their solid friendship. But Molly is full of resentment and it's not his fault. “Be careful when you take Rosie with you. Make sure nobody follows you and lock up your house.”

She shoots up from her chair. “Yes. I'm not stupid, no matter what you think.”

Sherlock is tired all at once. “I'm sorry for this word. I know you're not. But it's time you get over me. It will never happen.”

“You know what – I don't give a damn. It's your lucky day. I don't want you anymore!”

Sherlock could say a lot to this. Instead he doesn’t say anything. And he doesn’t have to because someone knocks at the door and shouts, “Hello? I'm looking for Sherlock Holmes.”

A client. Thank God for a client…

When he lets the man in while Molly slips out without another word, he suddenly thinks of how Mycroft's lips have felt on his fingers and that he will meet him again in the evening, and he smiles.

*****

When the client leaves with a grateful smile, Mrs Hudson comes in.

“Molly found you?” Sherlock asks.

“She did and took Rosie. And John left for the clinic. Oh Sherlock. Can I sit with you for a moment?”

It is her flat after all… Sherlock isn’t in the mood for a harangue though and she sees it in his face. “It's not about Molly. I can imagine what your argument was about. John told me what your sister forced you to let her say.”

“And now she believes it's true that I love her because she forced me to say it first. How can anyone be so… thick?”

The old woman sighs. “She's in love. It's nothing she could just shake off.” She reaches out for his hand and he takes it, thinking of Mycroft immediately, and lets himself be pulled onto the couch next to her. “As I said, I didn’t want to talk about her.”

And he knows she doesn’t believe the full story John has told her. She knows there is more.

“Something terrible happened to you, there in this ghastly prison.” It's not a question.

“Seeing plenty of people die wasn't that nice,” he tries.

She gives him a sad look. “If you don't want to talk about it, it's fine, dear. I don't mean to be intrusive. But it makes me feel so… helpless that I don't even know what really happened.”

“You don't want to know it,” Sherlock says darkly. All at once he is back in this cold room, sees his brother kneeling, crying, and he shudders. Isn't it simply ridiculous to think they could be lovers? With this memory weighing on them, along with Mycroft's decades-old guilt about desiring him? With the knowledge he hurt him at this first time? What kind of a man is he to want to make his brother into his lover, under these circumstances above all?

A man who's in love. Deeply. No matter that it has happened so unexpectedly and so fast. No matter that he doesn’t know when and why it happened. Can anyone explain love anyway? The two of them above all, who always saw love as a dangerous disadvantage and a chemical defect? Now he knows how stupid this was. Love means to want to hold his brother's hand. To see him smile. To make him happy. This is love. Not Molly's long-suffering infatuation with him.

“You should see your face now,” Mrs Hudson interrupts his thoughts. He has almost forgotten she's there. “You look like a man in love.”

“I am, Mrs Hudson.” And all at once he wants to tell her. But he knows Mycroft would be horrified. “Something terrible happened indeed. My sister made me do something horrible. Unforgivable even. But I've been forgiven, and now I'm in love.”

“And you're talking about neither poor Molly nor John.”

He swallows. “Right,” he whispers then. “Mrs Hudson…”

“I'll never tell anyone. You should know that. But I'm grateful you told me as much.” Her face looks ashen though and he knows she has figured it out. It wasn't that difficult after all.

“The poor, poor man. And you, my dear boy. This woman is the incarnation of evil. If she ever shows up again, I'll kill her with my frying pan!” She says it with so much fury that Sherlock bursts out laughing. “I mean it!”

He surprises them both with wrapping his right arm around her fragile shoulders. “I know you do. Thank you. You're the best.”

“Ah, you just want biscuits!”

“Biscuits are never wrong.”

And his feelings for Mycroft aren’t either. Love, true love, is never wrong. He said these three words to Molly because he thought he had to. He said them, in a different way, to John at the wedding reception, repeating what John had told him when he had asked him to be his best man. He did mean them. He loves John. It has been a troubled love for a long time now and now it is returning to the pureness of a friendship that no violence and no horrific mistake could erase. It's a love for a friend and he was able to speak it out. Will he ever be able to do the same with Mycroft? Will he ever bring it over his lips? Will Mycroft?

He likes to believe that they will get there. And he knows it will feel so different from the other times he said, 'I love you.'

Chapter Text

Mycroft is cutting vegetables. Zucchini, red paprika, onions… He did grocery shopping after work and now he's preparing dinner for Sherlock and himself. It is an odd experience for him to cook himself. He is good at it but he almost never takes the time, and he has never cooked for someone else. His housekeeper has prepared something too and he will share it with his brother as well. But somehow it's important for him to cook for him.

A tiny voice in his head keeps mocking him.

'You know if he gets an exciting case, he won't show up. If you're lucky, he informs you, if not, you'll be waiting for him until everything has burnt to an unidentifiable nastiness.'

'You don't really think he could love you back, do you? Why should he? He's seen you behaving like a weakling, a sobbing piece of garbage.'

 'He's never found you attractive. Think of all the nasty things he told you.'

'He's your brother. How dare you think of him like this at all?'

This last sentence is of course the one he's been hearing for the best part of two decades. He doesn’t really hear voices. He's not that far gone. But it's the internalised voice of moral and society, telling him that what he feels for his brother is wrong, wrong, wrong.

He has believed this all this time. And to his horror, his sister has somehow figured it out, his feelings and the guilt, and she has used it against him in the most despicable way.

But Sherlock doesn’t despise him. He has held his hand. Twice. He has expressed with his eyes what he wasn't able to speak out. That he, how improbable, extraordinary and scandalous it might be, wants him, too. It would be the ultimate victory over Eurus, wouldn’t it? She would explode if she knew her cruel game, that was meant to destroy at least him, if not Sherlock as well, has in fact brought them together. Of course she may never know it. But then – he's sure she will keep an eye on them. At least on Sherlock with his public appearances and the YouTube videos he appears in if he wants that or not. She will see it. And she will hate it… And is it so bad that this gives him a thrill? He thinks he deserves a thrill or two for what she put them through.

Delicious cooking odours are filling the kitchen now. He looks at the clock. Sherlock is supposed be show up in about five minutes.

'And what if not? What if he decides he has something better to do?'

Mycroft sees himself sitting at the dinner table. Alone. A glass of whiskey next to him. His face buried in his hands. He closes his eyes, swallowing.

And then he smiles when the doorbell rings. He is here. Whatever might happen in the future (and Mycroft knows the future is not predictable and he knows he will never put any pressure on his brother), for now Sherlock is completely serious. He wants to be with him. And Mycroft will enjoy it as long as it lasts.

*****

“Never knew you're such a great cook! You cutting green things into tiny pieces!” It's an image to behold. The iceman in an apron? Of course he doesn’t wear one now. He is impeccably dressed. And he looks a lot better than yesterday.

Mycroft smiles, and it's both sad and affectionate. “I suppose there is a lot we don't know about each other, little brother. And I've never imagined you'd eat something I cooked.”

Sherlock knows he deserves that. But it's nothing he wants to dwell on now. “I could get used to it,” he simply says. Simply… It’s a promise for the future. It's telling Mycroft this is no passing whim. And thankfully, his brother understands it as it was meant.

“Fine,” the older man says, and there is so much fondness in his eyes that Sherlock needs a gulp from his water to wash the tasty food down that his throat, which has suddenly become too tight to swallow.

He knows he has to show Mycroft that he is serious about this, whatever this is exactly. He is sure Mycroft feared he wouldn’t show up. But he can't put in words what he is feeling, mostly because it is terrifying for him.

He loves his brother. His brother. His brother. He doesn’t give a damn for social conventions. He does know it's illegal and would horrify everybody. Well, except for Anthea, John, and Mrs Hudson… He clears his throat when he realises Mycroft doesn’t know this last bit of information yet. And Sherlock guesses he won't like it. “Mycroft…”

His brother tenses at once. “What's wrong?”

“Mrs Hudson…” He sees his brother pale. “She figured it out; nobody told her. And she's fine with it,” he hurries to add.

“Fine?” Now this word sounds completely different than the last time he used it.

“Yes. She… was terrified. About what happened I mean. And now she's glad it's, um, developing.”

Mycroft shakes his head. “I've never imagined this. None of this, obviously. Not the… event, not your… affection, and certainly not that everybody who gets to know it would react so supportively. And Mrs Hudson of all people, who thinks I'm a reptile…”

“She said that?” Sherlock doesn’t know if he should be appalled or amused. It's something in between.

Mycroft nods. “Yes. When I searched your flat for drugs during the Smith case…” He breaks off and bites his lip. “You were in hospital, fighting for your life, and I wasted my time looking for drugs. And kept John in the flat. If he had come too late…”

He doesn’t know it. He doesn’t know John had put him in the hospital in the first place. Sherlock knows he will have to tell him eventually. But he really doesn’t need to know it now. He has enough on his plate already. “It was my plan. Get him to… save my arse.”

“It was a dangerous, reckless plan,” Mycroft accuses with a hint of his usual displeasure, and of course he's right.

Still Sherlock would have flared now if he had said this just two days ago. Well, of course Mycroft did say it before and Sherlock did get loud. “I know,” he mumbles now. “I'm sorry.”

Mycroft's features soften immediately. “It went well in the end. You solved your case, reconciled with the doctor and certainly saved people from dying from Smith's hands. It's just that… your loss would really break my heart.” His face and his tone say, 'and I couldn’t go on living if anything happened to you.'

“Ditto.” Sherlock blushes when he says this. But it's true.

Mycroft's eyes look suspiciously wet but then he clears his throat. “Which doesn’t mean I expect you… If you come to the conclusion that this is not what you want… I hope you'll still be amenable to spend time with me like this, just in a brotherly… I…” He stops stammering, looking sheepish, and Sherlock's heart melts.

He is so close to telling him, to say the words that are hanging in the air, but he doesn’t bring them over his lips. He did say them when they didn’t mean nearly as much (to John) or nothing at all (to Molly), but now that it's so true, he can't say it. Not yet. Instead he reaches for Mycroft's hand once more, and his brother immediately links his fingers with his ones, giving him a grateful smile. For a while they just sit there, holding hands across the table, and Sherlock gently strokes Mycroft's warm, soft fingers with his thumb and he adores it.

“Dessert?” Mycroft asks him eventually, and he smiles when Sherlock nods enthusiastically.

They have chocolate mousse and it's heavenly, albeit not self-made. After licking off the spoons, Sherlock helps his brother clearing the table, and then they sit down on the couch, and they talk about Victor and some of Sherlock's rediscovered memories, and the atmosphere is friendly and mostly brotherly but they keep holding hands, and there is nothing brotherly about this gesture. It's romantic and sweet and Sherlock's knows when he goes back home, he will thoroughly miss the feelings of Mycroft's fingers entwined with his own.

Mycroft tells him a bit about his job and mentions that he will have to attend an official gathering the next evening, and Sherlock doesn’t like that. They will meet in his Diogenes office with their parents during the day, and he knows Mycroft isn’t looking forward to it any more than he is, but at least he will see his brother then.

When it's time for him to leave, they embrace at the door, and Sherlock feels his brother's erratic heartbeat against his chest and he knows Mycroft can feel his racing pulse as well. There is nothing sexual about this hug but they both know it's a promise for another day. And when Sherlock brushes a kiss onto Mycroft's cheek, his brother smiles happily, and Sherlock wishes he didn’t have to go but it's better for now. They can't just jump into this, especially not after what happened between them. Mycroft has only briefly mentioned it, and Sherlock is glad to see he is moving as if he's not in pain at all anymore. But the scars are there, if they are physically visible or not, and there is no way to overwhelm him. He does wonder though if Mycroft will ever make the first step after being guilt-ridden because of his feelings for him for so long, and if he, Sherlock, will dare make it himself, afraid it's too early after the traumatic experience. He just hopes they won't wait and wait for the right moment and miss out on what they could have.

But he knows if it really happens, if they will get intimate with each other because they want it, not because a lunatic forces them, he will make sure that his brother won't have to feel guilty, or abused, or forced, or simply bad. He wants him to think he's in heaven. Sherlock is not an angel but he is determined to reach this goal nonetheless.

Because he is so goddamn in love with his big brother. And his hand feels strangely empty without the touch of his brother's soft, long fingers and he can't wait to hold hands with him again and if that's sappy and embarrassing, he really doesn't give a damn about it.

*****

“Alive?! For all these years?”

Mycroft winces at his mother's shrill, accusatory tone. He has expected her and Father to be upset and still he feels the urge to escape the situation.

“How is that even possible?!” she continues.

Mycroft's look flickers to Sherlock, who is leaning against the closed office door, giving him an encouraging look. Mycroft has asked him to stay calm and let him do the talking, as in the end he is responsible for Eurus' incarceration and deceiving their parents. “What Uncle Rudy began… I thought it best to continue.”

“I’m not asking how you did it, idiot boy, I’m asking how could you?”

Mycroft tries not to show how hurt he is. “I was trying to be kind.”

“Kind?! Kind?  You told us that our daughter was dead.”

And I wish it had been true… “Better that than tell you what she had become.” Does he wish it though? Considering that what she did to them sparked the developments between Sherlock and him after all? It's not the time to think about that now. “I’m sorry.”

Father, who has kept silent for now, stands up and props his hands up on the table. “Whatever she became, whatever she is now, Mycroft, she remains our daughter.”

“And my sister.” My sister, the monster…

“Then you should have done better.” His mother's tone sounds almost hateful.

“He did his best,” Sherlock says, and Mycroft can sense how angry he is under his mask of coolness.

“Then he’s very limited,” Mummy spits out.

“Well,” Sherlock says, “he's made the decisions he thought to be the best ones. There's no need to get all worked-up now. What is important now though is that Eurus has escaped and we can't rule out the possibility that she comes back to take revenge.” His people haven't found a trace of her. It doesn’t surprise him.

We didn’t do anything to her!” Mummy screeches. “We didn’t know she's alive!”

“You can be glad you didn’t,” Sherlock says coldly. He has taken over the conversation and Mycroft fears it will get even uglier now but he decides to let Sherlock handle it. He hasn't done it very well after all… “She is not that interested in facts. She wants context… She wants amusement. Which means to bring mayhem over everybody she thinks should have some. You must be careful. Better leave the country until Mycroft's people have caught her and locked her away again.”

“What? For how long! We have duties and responsibilities.”

“Then better get hold of some security,” Sherlock says, and his tone clearly says he doesn’t actually give a damn about them.

Mycroft shouldn’t like this but Sherlock is so… protective. He clearly hates how Mummy has just behaved towards him. And he would lie if he said he didn’t like that.

“I don't believe we're in danger,” Mummy says resolutely. “She didn’t do anything to you two after all and she would have probably had reason enough to harm Mycroft at least.”

Mycroft cringes; he just can't help it. Yeah. She has let them go. Very true. But he wouldn’t quite say without harming him. Not that he would tell them about it. He really doesn’t know how his parents would react to this. Telling him he'd had it coming? Or accusing him of having enjoyed this? Blaming Sherlock? Probably not. He is probably being too hard on them now but he hasn’t quite expected such a reaction. He has expected anger but not this amount of contempt. They haven't even tried to understand his motives, and he has explained them quite well he thinks. And he still thinks he has done the right thing to tell them she was dead. In the end, who wants to know his daughter has finally turned into a monster? But then, she has always been one…

Sherlock is fuming now, his right hand balling into a fist. He has been biting his lip for the past few seconds, clearly close to getting very nasty. Mycroft searches his gaze and briefly shakes his head. This is not a good idea. They just have to get it over with now. “I'm really sorry for upsetting you and for lying to you,” he says with as much calmness as he can muster. "We can talk about it again when you had time to think about it. But I would really suggest going somewhere safer, staying under the radar. My assistant will help you with organising it.”

Father shakes his head. “We won't go anywhere but home.” He makes a gesture for Mummy to get up, too. “This is all very disturbing.”

“Yes,” Mummy says, her voice shivering. “I expected more from you.”

“So did we,” Sherlock retorts before Mycroft can answer, and his voice and his eyes are icy. He makes way for them and opens the door, his lips pressed together now.

Mycroft gets up to say goodbye but the elder Holmeses leave without another word or even look at either of their sons. Sherlock smashes the door behind them. Probably he has been close to kicking them out…

“Fuck them,” he says, his voice dark with wrath. “I hope Eurus will pay them a visit.”

Mycroft can't help but smiling even though it's not funny at all. Sherlock's protectiveness is wonderful. He has just been insulted and disrespected by his own parents but his little brother's behaviour has made up for this by far.

Now Sherlock stalks over to him and slings his arms around his neck. Mycroft gasps at the touch and the change of expression in Sherlock's eyes. Cold blue turns to warm green, and then his soft lips brush over his cheek. “Sorry, Mycroft. You didn’t deserve that.”

“It's okay, little brother. Thank you for taking my side.”

“I am on your side now, Mycroft. You won't get rid of me again.”

“I wouldn’t want that. I'll never want that.”

And then they kiss. It just happens; there is no conscious decision being made. Their lips meet, here in his office, and Mycroft opens his mouth to sigh and their tongues touch briefly. And then it is as if there are two moments happening. He gets thrown back into this cold cell, naked and exposed, kissing Sherlock because they have been told to kiss, with Eurus and John watching, one in sick delight, one in horror, and then he's back again in his own realm, his brother so close, a look of worry in his eyes, and Mycroft realises that his knees have gone weak and he's tumbling, held by Sherlock's strong arms.

“I'm sorry, Mycroft,” his brother whispers. “I didn’t want to bring this back.”

“It's okay,” Mycroft repeats. “Just a little throwback. I'm not sorry. Only if I did something you didn’t want.”

“That should be my text!”

“No, Sherlock. It has affected us both. What you did, you did because you were forced to do it. This kiss now… It was lovely.”

“But too soon.” Sherlock looks devastated.

Mycroft shakes his head. “I don't think so. I can't erase what happened. It will haunt me from time to time. It might haunt you too. Can we try again?” There is no PM in this house. Anthea is on the other side and nobody will dare just come in. It's safe. He feels safe.

“You're sure?” Sherlock is all wide eyes and concern and Mycroft can't have that.

So he kisses him again, aiming to kiss the worry away. And this time he stays in the situation, enjoying his beloved brother's taste and the softness of his mouth, and they kiss, at first innocently and then increasingly deeply, for a few minutes until they are both breathless.

“That was very nice,” Mycroft says then, stroking Sherlock's back.

“Yes,” Sherlock says, his eyes still dazed. “I liked that very much. Do you have to go out tonight?”

Mycroft smiles, and this smile makes the rest of his dark mood disappear. “I'm afraid I have to. The PM requires my presence.” He wonders how he will feel among all those ghastly people, all rich and no manners beneath the pretence of being sophisticated and superior. He knows he will hate it. But sometimes it just needs to be done.

“Mm,” Sherlock makes darkly. “Can we meet afterwards?”

How eager he is. “I'm sure that will be possible. I'll text you when I'm finished.”

“Good.” Sherlock lets go of him, and he doesn’t seem to like it. “I guess I should better leave now. Lestrade wants me to look at some months old case his boss wants him to finally get solved. Wonder why he didn’t give it to me in the first place…”

Mycroft nods. He will be busy himself until the evening. “What would we all be without you?”

“Very poor people,” Sherlock retorts and they smile at each other.

Mycroft thinks he loves him more with every day. And the miracle is – he can see in Sherlock's eyes, in his body language, in his general attitude, that it's the same for him. It's too good to be true, isn't it?

Sherlock looks into his eyes and his hand searches for Mycroft's. “You're stuck with me, big brother. Get used to it.”

He savours the feeling of their fingers playing with each other. “Thank you, brother mine. You're awesome.”

Sherlock smiles. “A few days ago that would have been 'awful', wouldn’t it?”

“No,” Mycroft says with a soft shake of his head. “You've always been awesome.” I just didn’t dare tell you and I still can hardly believe I do now…

They kiss once more and then Sherlock leaves, and Mycroft returns to his duties, and he smiles when he opens the first report, and he has almost forgotten his parents' wrath already.

*****

“Champagne, sir?”

Mycroft winces at the approach but he nods and takes a glass from the tray a very polite young servant offers him. “Thank you.”

The man gives him a smile and a little bow and disappears into the crowd.

Mycroft takes a sip. His hand is slightly shivering and he doesn’t know why. He doesn’t attend such events very often but it's nothing unusual either. It's a party with plenty of important people, not only British ones. The PM has demanded he should show up to deduce some people of interest, and he does his best to observe who is chatting with whom and to filter the unusual alliances out of the sheer small talk.

He fears that he is not very good at it right now. To be among those people is disturbing. Many of them do know who he is, and those who only know he has a very unique position and have never been introduced to him glance at him out of the corner of their eyes. They know he's a man of power, of influence. A shadowy string-puller; not a face the media will ever get to see. A man with a dark reputation really, even though Mycroft sees himself rather as a brain, there to see the connections nobody else sees, more flawless than any computer could do. He can't keep the politicians from every stupid decision but his work is meant to avoid the demise of the nation and so far, he has succeeded. It has cost some lives. Threats had to be eliminated and he has given orders without hesitation and he knows he will do it again.

But something about this gathering of laughing, drinking, flirting people makes him feel uneasy today. He feels as if he's standing beside himself. He nods at Mr Important A and bares his teeth to a smile towards Lady Ain't-I-Pretty B, but somehow he feels exposed, foreign, weird. Scared… And he knows even if there is a very important clue he should see, he might very well overlook it.

These people who show so much respect to him, who fear him, how would they react if they had seen him in Sherrinford? Shying away from shooting someone not entirely innocent of his fate? Being on all fours, naked, raped by his own brother because his sister found it to be an appropriate entertainment for her? They would despise him. Lose every bit of respect for him…

He thinks back to the meeting with his parents. They have been told only a bit of the horrors Eurus had let happen but enough to see she's a danger. And still he has the bitter feeling that if she was still in incarcerated, they would insist on visiting and comforting her, because she's had it so rough all her life. Have they forgotten about little Victor, who has most definitely died of Eurus' hands? Don't they remember how gorgeous Musgrave had been, the house of his childhood that she burnt down? And who knows if Sherlock has not struggled with his life, feeling the urge to numb himself almost constantly until the verge of an overdose more than once because of his suppressed memories? Why does he have the feeling their lost daughter is more important to them than the sons they still have?

He has to get out of here. The hand that is holding the still half-filled glass of champagne is trembling more and more. The laughter and chattering around him seems to get louder by the minute. He is sweating.

“Mycroft. I've been looking for you all evening. You're not hiding from me, are you?”

He briefly closes his eyes. Dealing with this woman is the very last thing he needs now. And there is no Anthea here now to save him from her.

He fumbles for his phone in his jacket pocket. “Lady Smallwood,” he rasps out. “If you excuse me…”

She ignores his plea. “Have you seen Lord Remmington getting all tactile with Sir Rouven? I thought they were archenemies.”

His heart is racing now. He feels as if he's close to throwing up. “Excuse me,” he croaks again, turning away, his eyes flickering. Where is the way out?

“Oh, what is wrong with you? You've been looking horrible all week and now… Can I help you?”

An arm sneaks around his waist and he almost drops the phone he has finally pulled out. Without another word he shakes her off and tumbles towards the exit, mumbling excuses when he runs into someone. He puts his glass onto a table and, ignoring concerned questions from a Lord he knows and a waiter, fleeing into the chilly air, the phone still in a firm grip.

He could get a car and be brought home. But somehow he needs more now. He finds Sherlock's number and hits the dial button, not sure he could write a text now.

Sherlock answers at once. “Mycroft?”

He can hear the sound of the telly. “I'm sorry…”

“Mycroft! What's wrong?!”

“Nothing, not really. Just need… need you.”

“Where are you?”

Mycroft can hear he's moving already. He feels silly to beg him to come. But he still wants him to. He gives him the address. “I could ask for a car,” he mumbles then.

“Just stay where you are. I'll be there in ten minutes.”

“Thank you.”

“De nada. Shall I stay on the line?”

“No, it's fine. I'll just sit here on the steps and try to… calm down.”

“Are you safe there?”

Mycroft smiles and it makes his heartrate become a bit less frantic. “There's security all around. Sorry to disturb you.”

“Mycroft… You’ve 'disturbed' an evening spent with Mrs Hudson, watching some ghastly film that should've never been made. You're my saviour.”

“No. You're mine.”

Sherlock smiles. He can hear it. Then his brother is talking to a cab driver. “I'm on my way,” he says then.

Mycroft thanks him again before they end the connection. He sits down on the cold steps to wait for his saviour to arrive.

He feels so much better already.

*****

Sherlock takes in the sight of his brother when Mycroft slips onto the backseat of the cab next to him. He has obviously calmed down since they spoke with each other. But still he's too pale. His hair is tousled. His eyes have a strange glimmer.

He has gone through a panic attack. It was to be expected. Nobody can just go on like this, pushing this kind of memories aside. Not even his powerful, super smart brother. He should have taken some time off, taken it easy, not going to some brainless party with loud, annoying people who made him feel trapped. But that's not Mycroft. It's not Sherlock… He wonders why he doesn’t feel like this. Only because he was on the giving- not the taking side? Because it was less humiliating for him? Was it really? Or is he just harder, tougher? He has gone through hell so many times. Perhaps he's just used to it.

He is not used to seeing his brother weak and shaken. But he doesn’t pity him. He feels for him but he knows his brother is strong. And he has him. He won't let anything happen to him.

There is no way to speak openly in a cab. No way to hold him. They share a long look though, and then, hidden from the eyes of the driver even in the mirror, his fingers search for Mycroft's, and his brother gives him a brief, grateful smile when he slips his hand into his, letting himself be soothed by Sherlock gently caressing his fingers.

Then he leans back and so does Sherlock. He simply switches off his phone, not wanting to be disturbed for the time being.

Mycroft insists on paying the driver when they've got out of the cab. They walk up to his house side by side. Silently Mycroft lets them in and locks the door behind them, putting the alarm system in place again.

Then they both take off their coats and Sherlock hangs them up. They share another long look, and then Sherlock closes the distance between them and pulls his brother into a firm hug, and a moment later they kiss. It's a kiss of comfort and affection but Sherlock can't deny it arouses him. He makes sure his crotch doesn’t touch Mycroft's and he guesses his brother notices his efforts. It's not the time for this now. Troubled as his brother is, this time might very well never come.

When they break apart, Sherlock says, “I've told Mrs Hudson I might not come back tonight. I suppose you have a guest room,” he hurries to add. “The couch will do, too.”

“I have two guest rooms and the couch is very comfortable. But I also have a very big bed.” Sherlock swallows and Mycroft smiles shyly. “I just meant we could both sleep there. I… don't want to be alone tonight.”

Sherlock nods at once. “Sure. My pleasure. I just…forget to bring pyjamas.”

“I've got plenty. They will fit you. And of course you'll get a toothbrush as well.” They share a smile. Then Mycroft asks if he cares for a drink beforehand, and Sherlock agrees.

He is looking forward to this night. No matter if they'll just sleep next to each other. He knows he will enjoy it. He has never been exactly the caretaker but he thinks he might like this role.

*****

When they are lying next to each other, both wearing one of Mycroft's silky pyjamas, and somehow it feels very nice to put on something that belongs to his brother, they lay back into the pillows after Mycroft has switched off the light.

He has done this before, Sherlock thinks. A very long time ago. There was a time when he was haunted by nightmares. And he knows now what time this was – the months after Victor's disappearance. He only has blurry memories of the boy who once was his best friend and if he's honest, he doesn’t care about it. There is no doubt that he died back then.

But Mycroft is here. And Mycroft was the one whose comfort he sought back then, chubby and cuddly as he was back then. Sherlock remembers how he slipped into his brother's bed, sometimes a few times a week, when he had woken from a horrible dream with tears in his eyes. He was never able to remember these dreams but now that he knows the truth about Eurus, he can imagine what they were about. Mycroft never complained when he was being rudely woken up. He made sure the blanket was stuffed around his little brother and he felt safe and wanted.

Sherlock wishes he had not forgotten about these memories. One day the nightmares stopped and he didn’t go to Mycroft anymore, and he retreated more and more into himself. Time, the large age gap and natural developments drove them further apart with every passing year until Mycroft's concern and worry about him became nothing but an annoyance Sherlock felt he had to rebel against.

These times are over for good. They have started to grow together again, and this time Sherlock won't allow anything to come between them again. And now is the time to give back what Mycroft did for him all those years ago.

He moves closer to him and without a word, and they haven't spoken almost at all since he picked him up, he urges his brother to lay across him, to rest his head on his chest. Mycroft is surprised at first but he succumbs very quickly, pressing Sherlock's waist briefly before he finds a comfortable spot, and Sherlock wraps his right arm around him.

He has never lain with anyone like this. The weight of Mycroft's head on his chest is heavy and weird. But Sherlock likes it. Even if he doesn’t fall asleep – he feels good having his brother so close.

But then Mycroft's breathing tells him he is dozing off, and Sherlock feels himself following him and somehow he knows there won't be any nightmares for either of them tonight. And he knows this is only the first of many nights they will spend like this, and he succumbs to sleep with a smile on his face at this prospect.

Chapter Text

“Good afternoon, Mrs Hudson, John, Miss Watson.”

“Mycroft. How are you?” John puts his laptop aside and gets up.

Mrs Hudson smiles at him. She is holding Rosie.

It's the first time they meet after Sherrinford. Five days have passed now and the brothers have spent a part of every day and the previous two nights together, entwined, stroking one another, still balancing on this strange edge between brotherly affection and romantic feelings. There have been kisses. More hand-holding. Mycroft seems to feel more and more relaxed with him. So far neither of them has tried to cross the line. Somehow Sherlock feels that he will know when the right moment has come and he can also feel this will happen very soon now.

Sherlock watches his brother closely. It was Mycroft's idea to come over and he has immediately agreed. It's time his friends get used to his brother having become the most important person in his life. He doesn’t doubt that he has always been this person for Mycroft. It has been about time to catch up…

Mrs Hudson gets up and hands Rosie over to John. “I'll make tea.”

“Don't forget the biscuits!” Sherlock admonishes her with a twinkle, and she gives him a raised eyebrow.

“Your manners are ghastly, Sherlock.” She winks at Mycroft, who gives her a shy but genuinely friendly smile, before she disappears into her kitchen.

The noise of the workers upstairs is frankly awful. But the sooner they have finished building up 221B, the sooner John and Rosie can finally move back in and Sherlock will have his flat back. He wishes he could live with his brother, but it would raise way too many questions. He is convinced they will make time for each other and keep it special.

“John,” Mycroft says quietly. “It's about time to thank you for your assistance that night. I owe you.”

“Nonsense. I'm a doctor, and you were in need of one, and you're Sherlock's brother. Of course I helped you. I trust you are… not in pain anymore?”

Mycroft blushes slightly, and Sherlock bites his lip. It will forever be a sore spot for him. Not literally of course but psychologically. “No,” Mycroft answers. “It doesn’t hurt anymore.”

Sherlock has not asked him that and he wonders why. He was sure Mycroft was okay, physically, but he should have asked.

“Fine,” John says. “And… um… it's all fine, you know. Whatever happens.” Now he blushes, and Mycroft's cheeks get a shade darker as well.

“Thank you,” he says stiffly. “Your support for my brother and me means a lot to me. To us.”

“Yeah, well. My support sucked lately…”

Mycroft looks a bit confused but then he nods while Sherlock has no idea how to avoid a topic that he has wanted to postpone; he tries to catches John's look but he is stroking Rosie's hair and doesn’t glance at him.

“You had a hard time after your wife's death,” Mycroft says. “It's understandable.”

“Wow. You're generous,” John says sheepishly. “I didn’t think you'd be so generous to a man who has brought your brother into hospital so he was almost killed…”

“Um, John. Shut up!” Sherlock finally bursts out.

John pales. “God… You didn’t tell him?”

“No. I wanted to do it later.” Or possibly never at all.

“Tell me what exactly?” Mycroft sounds like his old self all at once. This is the Iceman. “You are saying you… beat him into hospital?” His tone says, 'how have I missed this?'

“I did. And I'm terribly sorry for it. I… kicked him, too…”

Mycroft is pale now, his eyes fixed on Sherlock. “I thought your injuries… That was you?!” He glowers at John.

“Mycroft… It's okay. I've forgiven him. I caused Mary's death with my loose tongue and… we're good.”

Mycroft finally slumps onto the couch, looking shaken.

“I'll never do that again, you know?” John assures him. “Never.”

“No, you won't.” Mycroft's voice is icy. “Because if you do…”

“I know… Nobody will find my body.”

“I don't think it's funny.”

“No, it isn't.” John nods.

Sherlock is looking from one to the other in quick succession. The tension between his best friend and the man who is both his brother and the man he loves is rather unpleasant.

Mycroft nods, too. “You should have told me,” he says to Sherlock then. He sounds calm but Sherlock knows he's disappointed. Nothing new here…

“Yes. I'm sorry. I'd planned to do it. Later.”

Mycroft gives him a sad smile. “I know, when it happened, we were not quite on great terms.”

“Understatement of the year,” Sherlock agrees. He gets up from his chair and sits down next to him. And he takes his brother's hand. He needs to set things straight. Everything has changed between them and it will only get better from here. Mycroft is not allowed to forget that.

Mycroft hesitates for a moment, blushing once more, but then he entwines his fingers with Sherlock's. John looks at them and Rosie gurgles excitedly and slaps her father into the face, right on his left eye, and the doctor curses.

Mycroft chuckles and Sherlock laughs. “Yes, Rosie. Your dad was a bad man. He deserves some thrashing.”

John smiles, wiping a tear from his reddened eye. “I do.”

“Yes, you do,” Mrs Hudson says when she enters with a tray.

“Help her,” Mycroft says, releasing Sherlock from his grip.

Sherlock doesn’t like to let go of him but he helps providing everybody with dishes and tea. And when he sits down close to Mycroft again, Mrs Hudson taking the chair, his hand searches for Mycroft's again.

“That will be a bit uncomfortable,” Mycroft mumbles but he smiles.

“Don't care.” He doesn’t think he will ever exchange any really intimate caresses or kisses with Mycroft when anybody else is around, no matter how supportive they are, and he sees Mrs Hudson smiling at the innocent but romantic gesture they have taken to now. But this is okay, he thinks. “You could feed me,” he lets Mycroft know.

“I could. Or you could use your other hand.”

“You're boring…” His tone doesn’t leave any doubt that he's joking.

John and Mrs Hudson laugh, and Mycroft sighs in playful exasperation. “That's what they say.”

“They're wrong.” Sherlock presses his hand and exchanges a look with his brother, and it's a look full of love.

*****

They are sitting on Mycroft's couch together, fingers linked as usual, Sherlock enjoying the closeness of his brother's body. They've had dinner which Sherlock had brought, and Mycroft has suggested watching a film. Sherlock knows his preference for black-and-white spy films since the day he and John broke into his house to manipulate one of them (an action he thoroughly regrets now) and he doesn’t really care for old films but that doesn’t matter. Mycroft likes them and he loves to be with him.

They have just spoken about their respective days like Mycroft rowing with the Foreign Minister after he had returned to his office after his visit in Baker Street and other harmless stuff. Before Mycroft grabs the remote now, he turns to him.

“Please, Sherlock. Next time someone, and especially your so-called best friend, takes to violence against you, tell me.”

“I will. But he's not going to do it again. I'm absolutely sure.”

“I can't believe I didn’t know it.”

“No cameras in this hospital, hm?”

“It's not funny,” Mycroft says sternly. “If Smith had killed you because you were too weak to fight him…”

“I didn’t,” Sherlock quietly says. “Fight back. It wasn’t because of my injuries.”

“You were willing to die? Because you had lost John?”

Sherlock can't deny it. It was a time full of pain, guilt, drugs, and desperation. Mary had requested for him to save John by forcing him to save his life. It could have gone wrong. John could have come too late. “Not only because of that. But… I'm sorry. I thought…”

“You thought nobody would miss you?”

And isn’t this true in a way? Mycroft sees it in his eyes. “My God. I've failed so badly if you really thought that. But probably my grief wouldn’t have mattered.”

“Your feelings matter now. I had a really hard time back then. Won't happen again.” Somehow he knows it's true. As long as Mycroft is all right, everything will be fine. He doesn’t see himself getting obsessed with a dangerous case anytime soon. His love for games seems to have pretty much vanished after the games his sister has forced him and his nearest and dearest to play…

“And you thought you couldn’t come to me. The thought didn’t even occur to you probably.”

“Mycroft…” Sherlock cups his face. “What is done is done. We've been estranged for ages. And that was mostly my fault. We'll do better this time. Much better. Kiss me?”

Mycroft's eyes are dark with sorrow but he bends down and presses his lips on Sherlock's. Kissing has already become something so familiar but it's still so exciting to both of them.

Sherlock opens his mouth to welcome Mycroft's tongue, and soon their kissing gets more heated. Finally Mycroft breaks away.

“You're not kissing me so I shut up, are you?”

Sherlock can't help but grin. “Maybe…”

“You're cunning.”

“I am. Kiss me again.”

Mycroft sighs playfully but he indulges Sherlock, and they kiss until Mycroft finally pulls back and starts the film. Sherlock puts his head on his shoulder and indulges Mycroft now by trying to follow the rather dull film, finding it strangely sweet that his super smart brother, who deals with spies all the time, enjoys watching this nonsense, and they are holding hands while looking at the screen, both aware of each other's warmth and affection, and when the film is finished, they soon go to bed together, cuddling up and kissing some more, and Sherlock does his best to kiss away every doubt his brother might still have that his feelings matter, and matter a lot.

*****

Mummy called me. MH

Me too. Didn’t take the call. SH

Sherlock… She wanted to apologise. MH

And you forgave her? SH

We Holmes brothers have been surprisingly forgiving lately… MH

Ouch… SH

I was talking about John, Sherlock. MH

I know. Still… Well, I'll be in the morgue later. Let's see how this goes. SH

Lady Smallwood is rather upset with me after the party… Women… MH

You can say that again. Thank God for Anthea and Mrs Hudson. SH

Amen. When will you go to Bart's? We could have lunch together outside like you suggested. It's not exactly springtime but at least it's dry. MH

Great! I'll bring pasta salad from Angelo's. It's perfect for a picnic. SH

We won't sit on a blanket on the grass, will we? MH

God forbid! Your suit could suffer! SH

I simply prefer sitting and eating like a civilised person. MH

You shall be allowed to. There will be benches, and if they are all occupied, we will glower at them until they leave. SH

Sounds like a plan. Let me know when you will be here. MH

Here as in Diogenes or Whitehall? SH

Apologies. Whitehall. MH

Fine. I won't be late. Looking forward to rolling in the grass with you. SH

If you put it like this… It sounds nice. MH

It really does. Shame we can't do it. SH

I know. You will come over to me in the evening again? MH

Bet on it. SH

Thank you. I'm smiling. MH

Gasp! The Iceman is smiling! SH

Only when nobody can see it. MH

I hope so. Your smiles belong to me. SH

They do. And more. MH

This is very nice. Texting with you like this. SH

It is. I will have to go now though. See you very soon. MH

Definitely. Have a good day until then. SH

And you. And when we meet, it will get even better. MH

Way better! SH

No doubt about it. Bye. MH

Bye, brother mine. SH

*****

“It might not have been my best idea,” Sherlock mumbles, putting his coat collar up a bit more.

Mycroft gives him his best raised eyebrows. “Because of the lovely wind or the people who recognise you?”

Pictures of them could end up online. People could find out that Mycroft is his brother even though it's not very probable. Not that it matters that much. Of course they haven't been holding hands or got even close. They have been sitting on a bench, eating their tasty lunch, some distance between them. Whenever somebody has come along who even showed a hint of interest, let alone proceeded to take a picture, Sherlock has made sure his face looks like granite, and Mycroft has done the same. They certainly don't look like lovers. Or brothers, for that matter. Mycroft has made sure to discreetly turn his head to the side so his face was partly hidden when a smartphone was directed at them.

Sherlock knows they have to get used to this. They have found incredible support in the few people who know about their developing relationship but of course nobody else is allowed to learn about it. They can never show any affection in public.

“It does suck,” Sherlock mumbles.

“It's certainly not an easy decision,” Mycroft says. “You could have someone with whom you could… be open.”

“Sure. As I'm so totally compatible with the rest of the world,” Sherlock nods. “We both know I'd never have developed such feelings for anyone else.”

“I thought you'd fallen for Irene Adler when I found out you saved her life.”

“She was fun to play games with. Intellectual games. But first, she's a woman and I'm obviously not into women. And second, if I showed up with a blackmailing prostitute, Mummy would get a heart attack.” He wonders what would have shocked his parents more – the Dominatrix at his side or his brother.

“Everybody thought it would be John.”

Sherlock snorts. “Everybody except for John and me. And Molly…” He met her in Bart's earlier. At first the atmosphere was frosty, but in the end he could see that Molly likes him way too much to really drop, let alone hate him. He wouldn’t say they are friends again but at least they are no enemies. He still needs her after all to get access to corpses and body parts and for her expertise. John needs her for Rosie. And Molly needs Rosie, too, as her goddaughter is probably the closest she will ever get to having a child. They are linked with each other, if they want it or not.

“I need to go back.” Mycroft doesn’t sound as if he likes to but it's the middle of a work day after all.

“Sure. Liked the salad?” Sherlock takes the boxes and bins them.

“It was delicious.” Mycroft smiles at him. For now they are alone.

“I wish I could hold your hand now,” Sherlock can't help but say.

The smile gets deeper. “I wish that too, little brother.”

“Mycroft…” Pale-blue eyes look at him expectantly. “I love you.”

He has finally said it. Here, in this windy park in the middle of the day where they can't touch and have to keep their distance. Perhaps it has even made it easier.

Mycroft looks at him with an indescribable expression. “I… Sherlock… This is…”

“…ghastly sentiment?” Sherlock jokes, knowing that this is not what his brother thinks.

Mycroft smiles and his features relax. “No. Not ghastly at all. So do I. Love you.”

“The cold, rational Holmes brothers.” He wishes they could kiss very badly now. But somehow the pain he feels about not being allowed to is a sweet one. Their love is a secret. Forbidden. Scandalous. And it only makes it more special.

The older man nods. “Hopelessly in love.”

“I can't wait to see you tonight,” Sherlock whispers, and there is a certain hope expressed in his voice. He will never push his brother. It has only been a few days. But he hopes they can take things a step further now. Even if it's just a baby step.

Mycroft understands at once and nods. “Neither can I, little brother.”

Five minutes later they part and they go their separate ways – Mycroft back into the office for another meeting, Sherlock back to Baker Street. They don’t kiss. They only shake hands briefly. But their eyes say it all.

*****

There is no denying that the atmosphere has changed. Cautious affection and brotherly care have turned into sizzling tension. The moment has come.

They are sitting on the couch after dinner, both a glass of whiskey on the table in front of them. Sherlock is still unsure if he's allowed to make the first step. He doesn’t want his brother to be thrown back into the horrific scene in Sherrinford like it happened with their first kiss.

He doesn’t have to ponder for long. In the end it's Mycroft who pulls him in for a deep kiss that delivers all the promises. The older man might still be feeling guilty and troubled but for now he has chosen to ignore it, and Sherlock will make sure he has no reason to regret it. He sighs in relief and anticipation when Mycroft pulls his shirt out of his trousers and strokes his bare back. He mimics the action and soon they are unbuttoning each other's shirt. Mycroft has foregone wearing a waistcoat or a tie in the first place, which has been promising in itself.

“Do you want to go upstairs?” Mycroft asks him and Sherlock shoots up from the couch, making him chuckle. “I take that as a yes.”

“Absolutely. My phone is off. Yours?”

Mycroft nods and takes it from the table to follow his example. Sherlock thinks he probably never does that usually, and it says a lot about his will to make things work between them.

Sherlock is well aware of all the obstacles that will always weigh down on their changed relationship but they wouldn’t be the Holmes brothers if they weren't able to deal with them. A picture of them on the bench indeed appeared in the comments of John's blog today. Mycroft is not even remotely recognisable, at least not for anyone who doesn’t know him and their relation well enough, and the person who posted the picture just asked if it was a secret client. They have played cool very well obviously. Well, now it's certainly not the time to play cool. Quite the opposite, actually…

They walk upstairs hand in hand, and Sherlock does feel nervous. He doesn’t want to overwhelm his brother. He knows he has to watch him very carefully and he will let him lead the way. “We won't do anything you're not a hundred percent comfortable with,” he tells him when they are standing next to Mycroft's large bed, their shoes taken off and put aside.

“Well, the same goes for you. One step at a time sounds like a good idea.”

“Definitely.”

They sit down on the bed and Mycroft lets himself fall backwards, crawling up on the bed until his head rests on one of the fluffy pillows. Sherlock follows him and is immediately pulled over his brother. They still wear their trousers. It is still all very innocent.

And Sherlock is determined to change this. Mycroft has just clearly shown him he wants that and Sherlock is very much ready as well.

His lips start exploring his brother's face. He kisses his forehead, the soft spot between his eyes, his closed eyelids, the tip of his nose, which makes Mycroft smile. Sherlock smiles, too, and kisses the smile from his brother's lips. They let their tongues dance for a long while, and Sherlock enjoys Mycroft's hands sliding up and down his sensitive sides. It tickles a bit but Sherlock can refrain from twitching too badly.

Eventually he moves southwards, with his body and his lips. He licks and nibbles Mycroft's throat, pulls at his earlobes with his teeth. His tongue laps at his collarbones and he nuzzles his face into the fur on Mycroft's chest before he sucks his stiff nipples, feeling Mycroft's breath getting faster. He stays there for a long while as Mycroft clearly enjoys this. He enjoys all of his efforts, clearly. There is nothing forced about this. There is no reason for guilt. They want it both and laws don't matter to them. They have been made to protect minors and unborn children. They are two grown men who are very well capable of deciding whom they love and it's nobody's business.

He eventually licks a trace to Mycroft's navel and plays with it thoroughly, from time to time licking the fine line of black hair trailing down to his trousers. Mycroft is hard, his trousers tenting, and Sherlock craves for exploring what they are hiding. His cock is throbbing as well but he pays it no heed for now. He doesn’t know if he should go further. He doesn’t want to destroy anything.

And then it's Mycroft who takes the hand that has been caressing the side of Sherlock's face or tousling his curls to his groin and opens the zipper.

Sherlock looks up and gazes into his eyes. 'Are you sure?' he silently asks, and Mycroft gives him a smile and a nod, and Sherlock frees his erection, staring at it reverently before wrapping his fingers around it. It is big and hard and silky and there is wetness on the tip, and Sherlock can't help but lapping at it.

Mycroft throws his head into the pillow and moans. “God, Sherlock…”

“May I?”

“Oh, please. I'm yours.”

And isn’t it as simple as this? Mycroft is his, and he is Mycroft's. He looks up again. “If you don't like it, just tell me to stop and I will.”

“As long as you don't plan to bite it off, that's not going to happen.”

Sherlock smiles, glad that Mycroft turns this into a tease even though he knows very well that Sherlock is deadly serious. “I love you,” he says again.

“I know. And I trust you.”

“Still. If it makes you feel bad, make me stop.”

“I certainly won't, but I appreciate your care. I appreciate it very much. And now suck me, please.”

Sherlock gasps and laughs, and then he engulfs Mycroft's hardness with his lips.

*****

It doesn’t happen. Mycroft is not being thrown back into the first time they have been intimate. And why should he? This is so different. It's happening in a room he feels very comfortable in. Nobody is watching or ordering them to do this. They do this because they want to and so there isn't even a hint of guilt even though he has expected this. When he started to desire his brother, he wasn't of age. Now he is a man approaching forty. A man who always does what he wants. If Mycroft still felt as if this was wrong because of Sherlock, he would be a fool. And he can't find it in himself to worry about laws. They are not hurting anyone with this, not each other and definitely nobody else. As far as Mycroft is concerned, this law is not valid for them and therefore it can just leave them alone. And he knows Sherlock couldn’t care less about it.

It feels incredible, bottom line. Sherlock is doing this for the first time, so inevitably there is a hint of teeth in the beginning as his brother has the theoretical knowledge but not the practice but as with everything else, Sherlock learns very quickly and soon there is nothing but moist softness, the pressure of an experimenting tongue and probing suction movements when Sherlock takes him deeper and deeper into his mouth. Mycroft doesn’t move, letting him set the pace and the angle. He does gag eventually when Mycroft's cock hits the back of his throat but he very quickly masters this, too. He's not deep-throating him but he takes more than half of his considerable length into his throat and it looks fantastic.

“I'll come very soon now,” Mycroft warns him. Surely Sherlock will not do this till the end at the first try?

But he should have known his brother better. He nods but even increases his sucking efforts, and when Mycroft comes apart, spilling into his mouth, he does cough and drool and his eyes water, but he manages to swallow his semen and he doesn’t look disgusted when he pulls  back, wiping his mouth. “That was intense.”

Mycroft, his head still spinning, grins. “You can say that again. Thank you, little brother. This was amazing. Allow me to reciprocate?”

“You don't have to.”

“But I want to.”

“Well, next time. This time it's too late for it.” He lies down next to him and Mycroft sees what he means. There is a big damp spot on the front of the trousers he still hasn't taken off.

“Oh. I didn’t even notice it!”

“Well, I did…” Sherlock grins. “But living with a flatmate has taught me to come quietly.”

“You don't have to though. I'd love to hear you.”

“You didn’t exactly scream the house down, either,” Sherlock teases him, snuggling against him.

“True. We'll get there. There is so much we could do with each other. Things I've never done with anyone else.” Sherlock swallows and Mycroft knows what he's thinking. He cups his cheek. “Yes. You were the first to penetrate me. And I'm glad you were.”

“Not this way,” Sherlock mumbles. “Will you let me do it again one day? Letting me do it right?”

They can never erase the memory of the day that has hurt Mycroft so much - and that he is still in a way grateful for because without it, they would not be together like this now. But they can create another, better memory, many memories actually. “Yes, of course.”

Sherlock gives him a grateful smile. “But first I want it to be the other way around. I want to have you in me. Tomorrow?”

“If you want. Tomorrow.” They share a kiss and it's strange to taste himself on Sherlock's tongue but it's more exciting than appalling. “I do think we should take a shower now.”

“What about a bath? Together?”

Mycroft smiles. “Even better. Thank you, little brother. For being here and for making me so happy.”

“I haven’t even started to make you happy.”

“That sounds like a threat.”

“It is.”

They both chuckle and then get up to take their mutual bath. And Mycroft is already very happy and he can feel that Sherlock is, too, and he considers this a huge success.

*****

“You know you can go home. It's late enough. I'm going to work for another hour maybe and then leave as well,” Mycroft tells Anthea. Pale, suffering Anthea.

“I want to finish this first,” she says stubbornly.

Probably she would say that if she was close to falling off her chair, Mycroft thinks. As it is, it's the usual suffering she has to go through each and every month. Very rarely she has given in and indeed gone home, but now she seems determined to prepare the papers for the meeting with the Home Secretary before finally leaving, probably for an evening with a hot water bottle and hectolitres of tea, and if it's the last thing she does.

“I'm fine,” she assures him in a rather pissed-off voice, and he knows she is as far from being 'fine' as he is from knowing which kind of pain women have to go through every damn month.

Of course they have never spoken about it and he doesn’t note it in his calendar but he is not completely ignorant.

He gives her a stern look. “You will leave if it's unbearable.”

“Of course, sir.” Even the respectful addressing sounds a tad insolent today.

He sighs and proceeds to go back into his own office. “You are most stubborn.”

“And busy.”

“It could wait until tomorrow.”

Now she sighs and he gives up for now. She is a grown woman after all. She should know best what she can deal with.

He closes the door between them and sits down. Before he turns back to his computer, he allows himself to think about the last evening and the one ahead of him. Sherlock. Getting tactile and tender with his Sherlock. Will he really make love to him tonight? As Sherlock requested? Well, probably yes. Sherlock will in all probability not change his mind. He wants him inside. And Mycroft blushes when his cock fills out at the prospect. Hastily he opens a file and starts to read. There is a time and a place for these feelings and that's not it.

He startles when he hears a knock at the door about ten minutes later, and then he sighs. The PM has long gone home, Sir Edwin is on a business trip. He can easily guess who it is. “Yes,” he says in a rather resigned tone.

The door opens and his suspicion is confirmed. “Am I disturbing you?”

He wishes he could cruelly say 'yes' and tell her to go away. He doesn’t. “No, of course not. Come in, Lady Smallwood.” She has left for a long meeting out of the house hours ago and he couldn’t be sure if she would return to the office. Well, there she is…

She opens the door wider and he can see Anthea is not sitting at her desk. Great… Probably she has really gone home now and nobody will save him from his colleague's advances. Well, he is a big boy after all. But he opens the intercom, just in case Anthea returns.

The head of the MI6 stalks into his office on her usual high heels. Obviously she is not angry at him anymore for fleeing the party and escaping her. Her lips are very red and her entire appearance screams 'seduction'. She has even changed clothes since she had left the office earlier, changing into a red dress with a black jacket over it. He knows he will have to finally tell her he's off limits someday soon. But he doesn’t know how to do that without burning bridges he still needs. It's not that much different than Sherlock's relationship with the longing Molly Hooper…

He offers her the visitor's chair and she sits down with a smile she probably thinks is seductive. Her makeup is very thick and there is lipstick on her teeth, and he shudders. Mustering a mask of indifference, he asks her, “What can I do for you, Lady Smallwood?” He thinks she will tell him again to call her Elizabeth but she lets it slide.

“I just wondered if we could go out together tonight,” she bluntly says.

He clears his throat. “Um. I'm very busy I'm afraid.”

“But not too busy having long lunch breaks with your brother.”

He winces at her tone. It has not only been colder than usual. It has been suggestive. “We discussed a case,” he says in a tone that is too defensive. Has she figured it out? What will he do then? He tries not to show his concern. “If you excuse me now…”

“Oh, how impolite, dear brother.”

Mycroft needs a second to realise what she has said and how her voice has suddenly changed. His mouth opens in shock when he does.

The woman who is not Lady Smallwood smiles at him, and it looks incredibly creepy with the redness on her teeth, and he realises that she did that on purpose. The teeth would have given away that Eurus is more than twenty years younger than the lady. Apart from this, the masquerade is perfect. They even have exactly the same height.

His pulse is racing now. And his fingers clamp into the armrests of his chair when he thinks, 'Where is Anthea?!' Has she really left? Or is she lying on the floor of her office with her dead eyes open?

“This woman has a ghastly taste. In clothes and makeup, not men,” Eurus states in a casual tone. “But dammit. Never thought I had played matchmaker for you and Sherlock. Oh, Sherlock tried hard to look as if you just have a harmless conversation. But you can't fool me.”

There is no alarm button in his office. No defence weapon. Why ever not? Because it's the Cabinet Office, the safest place in England. But not for someone who is able to impersonate someone who works here and who has a key card that lets her enter and leave whenever she wants to, never being searched for weapons.

“What do you want?” he croaks, wondering if he will ever get to make love to his brother now, apart from the blowjob Sherlock has given him. He wishes he hadn't been so shy before. He wishes they could have been intimately connected with each other in a loving way just once.

“Oh, play a game with you of course,” Eurus says in a surprised tone. “Ready?”

He just stares at her, wondering how it is possible to love one sibling so much and hate the other one in equal measure.

“The rules are very easy.” Eurus opens her purse, well, Lady Smallwood's purse, and for the first time he briefly wonders what she has done with his colleague, and then Eurus pulls out a long, sharp knife. “You can choose between being cut in two by this, or having our dear old parents watch a lovely video, you know, the one of you and Sherlock being naughty with each other.”

He should have known she was lying when she said she wasn't filming the forced sex in Sherrinford. Then he remembers the non-existent bombs in Molly Hooper's house and the plane that wasn’t really up there. “You're bluffing.”

“Oh, am I? Allow me?” She takes out a phone without breaking eye-contact and starts a video without even looking.

He can see that she is, in fact, not bluffing. He closes his eyes.

“Of course, I will also show it to your awesome Prime Minister. Put it in the internet for everybody's amusement actually. This ghastly woman was not amused when I played it for her.” Eurus tuts. “Well, it was a bit nasty of me to make it the last thing she saw in her miserable life.”

Mycroft still doesn’t answer. His brain has stopped functioning. Now he is being thrown back into the horrible situation he and Sherlock have gone through. How naïve to believe they could overcome it, to cover it with love and devotion. He can only erase it by paying with his life. And not even then he can be sure. “You will still show it to the world even if I let you kill me,” he rasps out. After all there is still Sherlock whom she can destroy. Sherlock… What if she has gone to him first? Given him the same choice? He feels like fainting.

Eurus watches him with an expression of absolute delight. “Nah. I'm not that evil. If you die, I'll delete it. And I haven’t and won't harm Sherlock. I don't have to, do I? Now that he loves you so much… It should be bad enough for him. So… What do you choose of these two wonderful alternatives?”

“There is a third one.”

Mycroft snaps back into reality at these words, spoken with the coldest voice he has ever heard from a woman.

Eurus turns around like a flash and gets up from the chair. “Who the hell are you? Oh. The tea-lady.” Her voice is dripping with contempt.

Anthea is standing in the door, her arms hanging to her sides. She is pale and looks as miserable as before, but now her eyes are like blades. She looks royally upset. “The other possibility is that you will leave this office with your feet first.”

Eurus laughs. “What you're going to do? Throw a teapot at me?”

Anthea raises her right hand. “Not quite.”

Mycroft stares at the small gun she is pointing at his sister. He has never seen his PA with a gun before. But he doesn’t doubt she can handle it. Anthea is an agent after all.

“Fuck,” Eurus mumbles, obviously to herself.

Anthea shrugs. “I had a bad feeling since it happened. I didn’t think you'd run away, hiding under a rock forever. I feared you would come back like every piece of shit always comes back.”

Eurus makes a step towards her, still holding the knife. “You won't shoot me,” she says with a laugh, but Mycroft can hear that she is completely surprised and rather terrified about these developments. He can almost hear her thinking, 'This is unfair! This was not my plan!'

Anthea wasn't in her office when she arrived. Probably she was in the bathroom, refreshing herself; Mycroft can see that her hair is damp over her forehead. She had taken her purse with her so Eurus thought his assistant had left and they would be undisturbed.

And now Eurus is facing two enemies, one behind her, one in front of her. Mycroft wonders if Anthea has contacted the guards but he guesses she has not. She has wanted to surprise the intruder, not warn her so she would harm him or really send this video around the world after hearing noises from the corridor. After all Anthea must have heard every word that was spoken in his office.

“Okay, you win.” Eurus types on her phone, showing it to him, and he can see the question 'Are you sure you want to delete this file?' Then the video disappears. Eurus shows the small screen to Anthea as well. “I will go now and our two lovebirds can savour their incestuous affair as much as they want to.”

Anthea huffs out a laugh. “Yeah, right. And in a few days or weeks you'll come back and haunt them again.”

“I swear I won't.”

“True. You won't.”

And then a shot fires through the room and Mycroft's ears start ringing. All the strength seems to leave his body and he collapses on his chair.

A moment later Anthea is next to him and takes his hand. “Are you okay?”

He gapes at her, his mouth dry. She puts her hand onto his forehead and then there are steps and screams and his office is suddenly full of people. He gets up on shaking legs, assisted by Anthea, as he has to see for himself.

Eurus is lying on her back, a small, round spot right between her open eyes, a puddle of blood under her head. The knife is lying next to her. She has played her last game, and she has lost.

“Damn, that's Lady Smallwood!” he hears someone say. His ears have started functioning again. “What the fuck happened here?”

“I shot her and you will find out that this is, in fact, not Smallwood,” Anthea says, and Mycroft fleetingly wonders if she had secretly dreamt of doing the same thing with the real Lady Smallwood.

He drops into his chair again, taking out his phone after a moment of dazed stillness. And while Anthea is explaining everything – of course leaving out some details – Mycroft calls Sherlock, and when his brother answers, he almost drops the phone in relief.

*****

It's almost midnight when the two brothers enter Mycroft's house. Sherlock feels both tired and completely wired.

This was a nightmare. When Mycroft had called him and told him what had happened, he had almost passed out from shock. John had insisted on coming with him, speaking out what Sherlock was thinking: 'I wish I had got her first', and in this moment Sherlock knew that nothing will destroy their friendship again.

Flashes of the events of this evening light up in his brain. How pale Mycroft was, answering questions to the police. Anthea with a face like granite. It had been self-defence of course. Eurus had been armed with an extremely sharp knife which she could have easily thrown at her. Or at Mycroft…

Sherlock felt completely terrified, seeing his brother that shaken again, not being able to do more than press his shoulder and quietly talk to him. He did embrace Anthea though, expressing his gratitude without words. He called their parents, informing them, hearing Mummy cry in shock.

This time they weren't able to hide it from the press. A murderer in the Cabinet Office, having killed the head of MI6 to gain access to her key card, being able to enter with a deadly weapon in a simple purse she had stolen from her victim. Sherlock and John met Lestrade in Smallwood's house. The lady had been cut to pieces, obviously with the knife Eurus had brought to Whitehall.

He doubts they will ever find out where Eurus was hiding since escaping from Sherrinford. Why did she come back? Well, obviously to take revenge.

Mycroft hangs up his coat. “She saw the picture of us under John's blog. She knew she had failed at destroying me. In fact she even made us get together. Of course she couldn’t let this slide.”

They didn’t have a chance to talk about what exactly happened in his office. But Sherlock has a suspicion. “She let you choose?”

“Yes. She did make a video of us in Sherrinford.”

“Fuck.” He did suspect that, didn’t he?

Mycroft nods. “Give me your coat, Sherlock. And yes. She threatened to publish it and show it to our parents.”

Sherlock closes his eyes. “Dear God… We owe Anthea so much…”

“I know. She wouldn’t have had to kill her, you know. She did still have the knife but I suppose she didn’t even think of it at this point; she was too shocked that my PA dared spoil her game. Anthea could have shot her arm or her shoulder instead of her head.” He doesn’t sound as if he would have preferred this solution.

Neither would Sherlock. “I'm bloody glad she shot her anyway!” She seemed okay when she went to her car to drive home. She oozed grim satisfaction, and Sherlock is sure she won’t have a sleepless night because she killed his lunatic of a sister. She has done the world a huge favour, and the hugest to him and Mycroft. Even their parents seemed rather relieved than sad that they would never see their daughter as an adult now, not outside of a coffin…

Mycroft sighs. “So am I. And of course I told the police that she didn’t have a choice.”

“Of course you did. There could be copies, you know, of the video? She could have given them to someone. To publish them if anything happens to her…” It is not very probable. Eurus wouldn’t have thought she could lose.

“I know. I don't think so but we can't rule it out.”

They are still standing in the corridor. “What then? What will you do if it comes out?” It would destroy them both, profession-wise. A video of him showing raping his brother. Mycroft desperate, crying, giving in. It would end the lives they are used to lead for sure.

“Do you really have to ask?” Mycroft cups his cheeks. “If that happens, we'll leave it all behind, go underground. If you were willing to, that is.”

“Course I would be. I've faked my death before.” It means so much to him to hear this. He wouldn’t ask him for that otherwise. He is fine with hiding their love and living it in the safety of this house. But it's very good to hear that when push comes to shove, they have this option.

They share a long look and Sherlock can see the tension finally leaving his brother's body. And then they finally kiss, and what starts as a comforting caress turns heated within a minute. Sherlock melts into the tight embrace and the longing kiss and he mumbles a protest when Mycroft pulls away.

“I wanted this evening to be so special,” Mycroft says quietly. “I wanted us to have a good dinner and candles and romance. It's too late now for all this. But if you still want me to, I'd die for making love to you.”

“Nobody dies here tonight anymore, Mycroft!”

“Apologies…”

“And of course I still want that. Come…”

And Mycroft smiles and lets himself be dragged to the stairs by the hand. “So eager, little brother.”

“We won, brother mine,” Sherlock says. “And now we'll fucking celebrate.”

“Quite literally…”

Sherlock laughs, and Mycroft falls in, and then they hurry upstairs.

*****

It feels like magic. The thought should be completely foreign to him but it isn’t. Love is magic in a way, and what he sees in Sherlock's eyes when he is sliding into him is pure love and gratitude and reverence.

He has taken his time with preparing him after taking a quick shower together. He has even licked him to open him up, and Sherlock almost came while he was doing it, and he has mumbled curses Mycroft didn’t even know existed out of pure pleasure. At first he covered his little brother in kisses, just like Sherlock did for him the night before, savouring and memorising every sweet inch of skin, every gasp, every whispered word of encouragement, and the way Sherlock said his name like praise.

Now Sherlock's arms are wrapped around his neck, his heels stroking over his calves, while he is taking him, sealing their love that was born out of the darkest day of his life, of hurt and humiliation, to become everything he's ever longed for.

He will never forget what Anthea did for him today. Not only did she save his life, and God knows Eurus could have turned and thrown the knife into his heart even though he doesn’t think she had thought of that, being too surprised someone completely unexpected was raining on her parade. She has also freed him and Sherlock from the fear that she might come back and try to destroy what they have now. He doubts there are copies of the film. Eurus didn’t trust anyone. She might have been able to manipulate people the way she wanted, but she didn’t have any friends. And her revenge on him was something so personal that she wouldn’t have involved anyone else. They are free of her. She died in the knowledge that instead of crushing him, she had given him what he desired most, and it is deeply satisfying.

But now he's about to reach and deliver another and much more positive kind of satisfaction. Sherlock's has responded so heftily to his oral and manual preparations, and his cock, trapped between their bodies, is hard and hot against Mycroft's stomach, and he can feel sticky fluid being smeared over his skin while he is now slowly pumping into his brother. Their eyes are locked and he would see any kind of discomfort, but there is none. He bends down to kiss his brother when he has found a steady rhythm, and Sherlock's breath is hot against his lips and tongue.

Sherlock is mumbling incoherent words now, sweat has appeared on his forehead. He is very close and so is Mycroft. He slightly changes the angle of his strokes and Sherlock starts growling deep in his throat, his eyes open wide – and then he spills between their bodies, his muscles convulsing fiercely around Mycroft's member. He comes with Sherlock's name on his lips and collapses on him, his brother's arms firmly around him.

It has begun with horrors, guilt and shame. Now all that's left is love, trust and the will to maintain and develop a love that isn’t allowed to be lived openly but that will thrive nonetheless. It has been worth every pain, and as long as Sherlock wants him, he will hold onto it.

“I adore you,” Sherlock mumbles against his lips.

Mycroft smiles and kisses him and then gently disentangles from him so he can roll onto the side. Sherlock protests but Mycroft urges him to lie across his chest. “I adore you, too, little brother. There is nothing I wouldn’t do for you.”

Sherlock looks at him with so much affection that his heart clenches. “Next time I want to save you,” he mumbles.

Mycroft grins. “Anthea will be faster, sorry.”

“Damn…”

“I love you, little brother.”

“I love you, too. When can we do it again?”

Mycroft laughs. “Oh dear.”

“Yep. Anthea won't save you from me.”

“I hope not, my dear boy. I really hope not.”

And they kiss once more and Sherlock's right hand searches for his left one, and they both drift to sleep with their fingers entwined, the happy Holmes boys that have proven that sentiment is not a chemical defect after all and that love can come out of darkness and hurt. Miracles do happen.

The End