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According to his experience, there are just two kinds of people who walk this Earth. Those afraid to die - and those who know that there are things far, far worse that could happen to them.

In his case, his brother ready to blow his brains off is a very close impersonation of such a thing.

Mycroft Holmes, the man, is expendable. Even to those few close to him, he would be missed - but they can continue their lives without him. He is not angry with them for this. He knows his place. He is actually kind of weirdly, cynically glad that his brother would not break out of grief in case one of the occasional assassination attempts was successful.

He was assured that his brother is alive and unharmed. That Doctor Watson, even Eurus survived this ordeal. An assurance from the agents that found him, and later a much more honest attempt to calm him by giving him more details of what happened by Lestrade will have to suffice. He is not expecting Sherlock to call - it is not like him.

He is sure that even though he feels wretched, even though he knows that all physical and mental power residing in his body is drained, he will not sleep today. He's too raw, the events too alive in his mind, merging with every nightmare he ever had, every nightmare he ever lived through.

Ordinarily, he can work through bad things happening. Sift through his thoughts one after another, carefully weigh them, analyze them for their usefulness and then either discard them to the dark recesses of his mind or put them into the more forefront, more orderly part of his brain for further inspection.

This, however, is not an ordinarily bad thing. People died because of his mistake, unexpectedly, uselessly. Just so his little sister could play. Sherlock could have died. Sherlock could have lost his best friend - again.

A helicopter transported him from the island and a black car transported him to his place. He could see now how much his grand, mostly empty house begged to be a part of a horror story. It was crazy of Sherlock to actually do so, of course.

The thing is - it is empty. The security was reinstalled and reactivated, of course. Paintings taken away for repairs. The projector replaced. But it is not home. It never was, nothing ever was, not after the fire...

Stop! Do not do that now, you do not have strength. It was just a very bad day, indeed.

And it shames him to realize that there is still another victim of Eurus' game. Someone no one really paid any attention yet.

There are days that do not bring much good. She can deal with that, after all, she works in the mortuary. All the good she can bring to the people is to assure them that yes, the cause of death was correct and they can now bury their loved one.

But than there are days like shit.

She rarely felt so hollow as this. She got used to break ups, and tears, and heartbreaks. Her latest relationship lasted three months. It must be a record. But Toby, her only faithful companion, deserved better than to be found stiff next to the back door, already cold.

Yeah, he was kind of old, for a cat. But still, he was always the same active, arrogant, furry ball of dirt as the day she got him. There was no warning. He just died.

And then, Sherlock called.

She though she was over it, that she can live with the knowledge that it is just as it is and Sherlock is never going to be the kind of sassy boyfriend full of dark humor from her dreams. She is an adult, she can deal with her crushes.

But the idiot must have had such a terrible, cruel request! What was it even all for? Just to mock her?

Let's just say she might have cried on her kitchen floor for a long time.

Then she thought of having a shower and watching some super silly movie. But there was nothing silly enough on TV. So, she basically sat on her couch in her pajamas and contemplated her sorry life. She will not get much sleep tonight, she was sure. Too many emotions whirling in her head, and not at all pleasant ones.

This might be a bad idea. Perhaps Sherlock already called her and apologized. Or not. Probably not.

He knew that Sherlock would want to apologize in person. The outburst in Sherrinford was enough of a proof that he did not take his friendship with Doctor Hooper granted. But Sherlock was still out of London, in a little country hotel, because it would be silly to hurry to London at night when 221B was in shambles.

He had no doubt that when Sherlock actually talk to Doctor Hooper, he would find much better words than Mycroft ever could to express his regrets. But Mycroft remembered the video feed, and how upset the woman was even before the call. In his opinion, this situation required at least some intervention right now.

Damage control. That is one of the things he is good at. And this is just another sort of damage control. Making sure that if he cannot actually make the situation immediately better, he could at least nudge those involved to a path of eventual healing. Or something like that.

Emotions. Messy, muddy, human emotions. And he is not that good with humans. But he knows that unfortunately, with Mrs Hudson in hospital, there is currently no one better to calm the upset Molly Hooper. Especially as he, unfortunately, knows exactly what happened.

He sifts through the information he knows about the pathologist. Not much. Sherlock trust her with his life. She is surprisingly good at keeping secrets, and surprisingly bad at keeping boyfriends. Has a cat, and a frankly disgusting blog full of information on said cat.

As he is walking through the silent streets, not far from where Doctor Hooper lives now, he takes out his phone - he is planning to skim through the blog anyway, in a desperate attempt to find something, anything he is going to actually do once he gets there.

Oh. Her cat has died. Well, it was quite an old cat.

That is what made her upset. Now, she doesn't even have the cat. She must feel alone.

Well, she has friends. But not many. Not that kind that would give their life for her. Just normal, casual friendships with nice, pleasant people.

But that cat, it must have been always there.

And then Sherlock unwillingly opened the old wounds and added to her insecurities... This whole debacle was a mess. And he was the one responsible for it.

What does Molly Hooper do to lessen the pain? He supposes that his secret recipe of a lot of high quality alcohol might not be the thing.

He really did not know much about what women did in their lives. Not that he knew that much more about what normal men did, but he desperately tried to search at least something.

His mother baked. Oh yes, when his mother was upset, she made cakes. That's why he was so fat when they were still living at Musgrave.... well, stop that now! Molly Hooper.

Does the pathologist bake when she needs to calm down? Is it a normal thing? It has certainly some calming qualities - you have to focus, he supposes, and follow the instructions, and if you just do that right, it will have the expected outcome. Also, the end product is sweet - and sugar in itself helps humans feel better, doesn't it? It will have to do.

It is actually quite late when the doorbell rings, but she realizes that only after opening the door and seeing the dark and deserted street. And, of course, surprisingly disheveled Mycroft Holmes... with a bag out of the local shop? The one opened 24/7?

"Doctor Hooper," he greets silently, as if afraid to wake the neighbors.

"Mr Holmes? Is Sherlock OK?" She is angry with the detective, but that doesn't mean she is not worried.

He looks uncertainly inside the house.

"Would you mind if I come in? I know it is late, but we need to talk."

"Yeah. Yeah, come in."

He cleans his shoes carefully on the mat and proceeds to the kitchen, putting the bags on the counter. He seems to check the kitchen a bit too much for Molly's liking.

"Pricing the kitchen equipment?" she says bitingly, arms crossed on her pajama clad chest.

"Actually, just wanted to know if you had a functioning oven."


"We are going to make brownies." He declares awkwardly.

"I don't have things for brownies," she says stupidly. Why would she be making brownies, damn it!

"Your cat died. I am sorry." He continues, and from his unusually expressive face she can see how it pains him to continue this conversation.

"His name was Toby. He was not just a cat."

He continues to look highly uncomfortable. "I'm sorry," he mumbles automatically. "I'm sorry," he repeats. "It seems we started this conversation on the wrong foot."

"What do you even want?" She was done with the Holmes, and she allowed this feeling to creep into her voice.

"I wanted to apologize. For the phone call. From Sherlock."

"So, you have my phone tapped, now?" she declared angrily.

"No! I mean... I heard what you said... But it wasn't like that!"

"How so?!"

"Today, I and Sherlock and John... we were imprisoned and she threatened to kill you unless you said those words!"


"Her name is Eurus, and she is probably the most dangerous woman in the world."

"And why did Sherlock send you to apologize instead of coming himself?"

 "You don't believe me, do you?" he sighed. "Look, I'm not good at this. So excuse my impertinence, but I know just a moment ago you were sitting there with just your black thoughts for company. I also know that I am at least partially responsible for said thoughts. So, if you would be so kind, I would die for a cup of tea. And then we are going to bake. Make brownies. And, if you want to, I will start this story from the very beginning."

"What is it with you and brownies of all things?"

Suddenly, he looked shy. "It's just a thing my mother did. When she was worried. Or sad. Or... I just thought it might be a nice thing to do instead of not sleeping on a couch."

Then, Molly Hooper maybe, just maybe, started to make a little bit of sense out of this situation. "Is this," she waved her hand in the general direction of her flat and her life, "a thing you do because you would be 'not sleeping on a couch'?"

"More of an armchair, actually. But I suppose it is," he admitted.

"All right. How do you take your tea, Mr Holmes?"

"Light. No milk, no sugar." After a second of hesitation, he added: "And you could probably call me Mycroft."

"I'm Molly. Nice to meet you, Mycroft."