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Scotch (1/1)

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Title - Scotch (1/1)
Author - earlgreytea68
Rating - General
Characters - Mycroft, Lestrade, John, Mrs. Hudson
Spoilers - Through "The Reichenbach Fall"
Disclaimer - I don't own them and I don't make money off of them, but I don't like to dwell on that, so let's move on.
Summary - Cleaning up.
Author's Notes - I don't even know what this is. I started writing it, and it turned out to be...this. So, yeah. I have no idea whether it will turn into more or not, so I figured I'd post it. While you don't have to have read "Everything Is Chess" to understand this, to me, the two are connected in the same 'verse in my head.
Thank you to arctacuda and the rest of the Boston support group, who just nodded supportively when I said I'd written 5,000 words of vaguely Mystrade-tinged fic on my day off...



It was a dingy office. Perfunctory. No thought given to anything about it: its architecture, its design scheme, its functionality. If Mycroft thought about such things, he would have said that he hated it, but Mycroft never devoted that much thought to something like that.

The real issue with the office was that he clearly didn't belong in it and every person in the building seemed to have come by to whisper about him as if he were an animal in a zoo. Normally Mycroft made people come to him. He hadn't realized that the general populace had become so rude.

Detective Inspector Gregory Lestrade rushed in, looking harried and quickly shrugging on a coat, as if aware that he was dreadfully underdressed for a visit from Mycroft Holmes.

"Mr. Holmes," he said. "Sorry. I wasn't expecting you."

"Clearly," clipped out Mycroft, and swung his umbrella dramatically.

Lestrade leaned over, closing blinds on the spying eyes all around them. "I wasn't expecting you, right? You get messages to me in such strange ways, I never know when I might have missed one." He finished closing the blinds and perched on the desk with an affable grin, as if this were all quite amusing.

Mycroft sat without being invited to and regarded Lestrade for a moment. "Do you really think that's wise?" he asked, finally.

Lestrade stiffened a bit, the smile fading off his face. "What?" he asked, confused, eyes darting around the office.

"Closing the blinds." Mycroft swept his umbrella toward them. "You have an office unusually prone to gossip; you are merely feeding the fires."

"All offices are prone to gossip, Mr. Holmes."

"Mine isn't."

"Yes, it is," said Lestrade, evenly, with a knowing look. Lestrade had that sort of a look sometimes, Mycroft had noticed. A directness when he knew people were lying, a subtle lift of his eyebrows that radiated skepticism. Mycroft imagined it was probably useful for interrogation. Probably had been useful with Sherlock, too, he allowed. Sherlock preferred directness. Lestrade stood up and walked behind his desk, settling into his chair. "I'm just going to tell them you're my lover."

Mycroft, who had been lost in a million different thoughts, startled. "Pardon?" he asked, politely.

"The office gossip. If they're going to gossip, better to really fuel the fires, isn't it? Amazing how people will seize onto an attractive lie like that." There was that direct gaze again.

Mycroft cleared his throat. "It has probably come to your attention that our arrangement has reached its conclusion."

"You think that's come to my attention, do you? I suppose I should be flattered at your assessment of my powers of observation."

Mycroft paused. If Mycroft thought about such things, he would have said that he hated this conversation. "I've come to, you might say, settle up." He pronounced this deliberately, pulling his briefcase closer.

"You've come here? To settle up?" Lestrade sounded disbelieving.

Mycroft glanced at him, slouched backward in his office chair, chin propped in his fist, as if this were all an interesting show. "Debts, Inspector, are a terrible thing," he announced, and rifled through his briefcase for the check.

"Your brother wasn't a fraud," Lestrade said.

Mycroft found the check. "Hmm?" He looked up at him with mild interest.

"He wasn't a fraud," Lestrade repeated, firmly. "I don't understand why you're letting this go."

"This is a curious position from a detective inspector who recently arrested Sherlock Holmes for kidnapping."

Lestrade fidgeted a bit in telltale discomfort. This man was an open book, thought Mycroft. "That was...It was mostly out of my hands. He was innocent; he would have been cleared."

"Your faith in the criminal justice system is touching."

"Look," said Lestrade, angrily, straightening in his chair, "I did what I could. This is my career. I'm under investigation as it is for being 'allied' with him." He made dramatic air quotes around the word.

Mycroft regarded him for a moment. "Don't worry about the investigation."

"That's easy for you to say, with your estate in the country and..." Lestrade gestured, mainly to the umbrella. "What-have-you."

Mycroft glanced at the umbrella, then back to Lestrade. "No," he said, evenly. "I'm telling you: Don't worry about the investigation."

Lestrade stared over at him, then scoffed, "No..."

"I believe this is the amount you are owed." Mycroft handed the check over. "Do you have a different amount?"

Lestrade didn't look at the check. He kept his eyes on Mycroft. "You can't possibly...make an internal police investigation...go away. I mean, that's outside of your..."

Mycroft stood up. "Thank you, Inspector. You've been very helpful--"

"If you can do that," said Lestrade, looking up at him, "then why don't you fix the rest of this?"

Mycroft looked down at Lestrade. He gripped his umbrella in one hand and his briefcase in the other. If Mycroft thought about such things, he would have said that he hated everything. "Thank you, Inspector."

"You really think I'm taking this check?" Lestrade held it up.

Mycroft said nothing. He lifted an eyebrow.

"There are ways, you know, in which you and he were exactly alike." Lestrade tore the check in a neat half, then neat quarters, then eighths. Mycroft watched, surprised. "I was never doing it for the money." Lestrade tossed the pieces of paper in the rubbish bin and looked back at Mycroft. "I kept an eye on him. When I thought he might be in danger of getting into trouble, I called his big brother. Who, I am reliably informed, is the British government." Lestrade leaned back in his seat.

"I suppose," said Mycroft, stiffly, "that you're going to tell me you did it because you liked him."

"No," Lestrade replied. "I did it because I wanted to like him. He wasn't a fraud, Mycroft. You know that, don't you?"

Mycroft bristled, at the use of his name and the asking of the question. What a ridiculous thing to say. "Are you asking me if I believe the newspapers? Because I would never make that mistake."

Lestrade looked across at him but Mycroft couldn't interpret the look. For once, this open book of a man was unreadable to him. "I'm sorry," said Lestrade.

"For what?" asked Mycroft, annoyed that he was suddenly being inscrutable.

Lestrade looked at him as if he were daft. "For your loss," he said.

Oh. Mycroft realized. It had been weeks now of people giving him condolences, and he never got used to it, never quite knew what his reaction was supposed to be. Yes, Mycroft hated everything. "Thank you," he said. That's what he was supposed to say. Thank you. He turned, tucking his umbrella up under his arm, hand on the doorknob. He looked at his fingers over its sleek nondescriptness, and he found himself saying, "He wasn't a fraud. Not even a little bit of one. And he was right about your wife."

"What?" said Lestrade.

Mycroft glanced over his shoulder at him. "Your wife. He would have told you about that; he loved showing off. He was right about your wife."

"How do you know about my wife?"

Mycroft smiled wearily. "Inspector Lestrade. I am his older brother. Who do you think taught him?"

Lestrade paused and reached into his desk drawer. "Do you drink Scotch?" he asked.

Mycroft hesitated. He didn't want to say that he didn't drink the sort of Scotch police detectives kept in their desks.

Lestrade read his mind. "Don't worry, it was a gift from Sherlock."

Mycroft hesitated another second, watching Lestrade pour Scotch out into two coffee mugs, then decided that he deserved a drink. He resumed his seat, taking the mug Lestrade handed to him. "Sherlock gave you a gift?" he said.

"No. John gave me a gift and put Sherlock's name on it. But I assumed he spent Sherlock's money on it. Cheers." He toasted the mug briefly.

Mycroft half-heartedly lifted his own mug and took a sip. The Scotch was not the best but much better quality than Mycroft had expected from Lestrade's desk.

"So." Lestrade leaned back in his seat again, sipping his Scotch. "Maybe you want to tell me your motivation for not correcting the stories out there about Sherlock?"

This amused Mycroft. "Why would I want to do that?" He sipped his Scotch again as well.

"You know what I think?"

"Why don't you tell me?"

"He was your little brother. Probably not an easy little brother to have. But I bet you were no picnic as a big brother, either. So you weren't close. And to make up for that you hired people to tell you the one thing you could never find out for yourself: that he was okay. And now he's not okay. He'll never be okay again. At one point, you cared enough about making sure he was okay to pay a small fortune to ensure it. You loved him. And you also failed him. So for some reason your hands must be tied against correcting the libel being done to his reputation, because you loved Sherlock Holmes and you'd never stand by and let all this happen willingly. That's what I think."

Mycroft sat stiffly, his hand frozen unnaturally around the coffee mug of Scotch, and watched Lestrade calmly sipping his across the desk from him. It was...maddening, he thought. To be told these things, out loud, so casually, by a policeman. "And?" he inquired, coolly.

Lestrade swallowed some Scotch and looked at him uncomprehendingly. "And what?"

"And?" Mycroft repeated.

"I don't follow."

"You just recited a pretty little narrative, but I'm not sure what the point was supposed to be."

"The point is that my blinds are closed, my Scotch is good, and neither of us has had a good month, for reasons that really only we understand. So." He tipped back his mug and then put it sharply down on his desk. "My point is that I'm having more. Are you?"

Mycroft considered, then tossed back his Scotch as well. "Yes."

***

That was how it began, with a Scotch in a policeman's dingy office.

The following day, Mycroft went to Sherlock's flat to see John Watson.

This was something he'd been, well, not avoiding. Not putting off. Mycroft Holmes did not avoid things.

Mycroft stood at the foot of the staircase that led to what used to be his brother's flat, hand on his umbrella, and mentally admitted that it turned out Mycroft Holmes did avoid some things, because he really had been avoiding this. Which Sherlock, damn him, had known. Which was partly why Mycroft suspected Sherlock had tasked him with this. There were other ways to get the news to John, but Sherlock had been insistent that it come from Mycroft. Sherlock had become insistent on many things. Sherlock's bright side to all this, Mycroft unerringly knew, was this new experience of having an older brother who felt guilty and so could be manipulated so much more easily. Mycroft would have thought that he needed to work on the guilt thing, except that he was guilty, and decades of forcing himself to be brutally honest with himself weren't helping him here. Mycroft half-thought Sherlock's decision that he stay disgraced was a form of payback. He, Mycroft Holmes, keeper of the family name, should be made to suffer through it while it was dragged through the mud.

Mycroft knew that's why Sherlock thought it was upsetting to him to read lies in the paper. Mycroft thought it interesting, in a detached sort of way, that it never occurred to Sherlock what Lestrade had known immediately: that the frustration was in the lies being about one's little brother, not in the lie being about one's family name.

Mycroft walked up the stairs.

The flat was still and eerily silent. It was a mess, and Mycroft knew immediately that nothing in it had been touched since the fall. Well, nothing in it belonging to Sherlock. Dust was thick on the Stradivarius. Mycroft, looking at it, couldn't quite suppress his wince.

"I don't know how to take care of an expensive violin."

Mycroft turned to face John, who had entered behind him. He was holding himself with an absent military straightness that he had started to lose over the course of being Sherlock Holmes's blogger, but, despite that, he seemed small and young in a way he never had to Mycroft before. Which rather wasn't fair, because Mycroft had never felt older than he had lately. "John," he said, in greeting, and because he didn't quite know what else to say. He, Mycroft Holmes, had come unprepared to this interview. Mostly because he hadn't known what to expect.

"You should take it with you," John said, moving into the room.

"I..." Actually, Sherlock would like to have the violin. "I will, thank you."

"Have a seat." John sat in his customary seat. "I can have Mrs. Hudson make us some tea."

Mycroft didn't want tea. He wanted to leave the suffocating grief of this flat as soon as possible. He said, "I'd love some tea, thank you."

"Mrs. Hudson!" shouted John, as Mycroft turned toward the seat opposite John. Sherlock's chair. There were pieces of sheet music scattered over it. And a random piece of chalk.

Mycroft gathered up the sheet music and the chalk, feeling John's eyes on him. He straightened it and set it carefully by the abandoned Stradivarius and then sat, as Mrs. Hudson came bustling into the room.

"Oh," she said. "Mycroft." She said it with gentle pity, the poor being implied. Mrs. Hudson had never liked him, Mycroft was well aware. She felt sorry for him now because he'd lost his little brother. Mycroft, with vicious perversion, wanted to tell her that he had caused all of this, that it was all his fault, just so she would stop talking in that intolerable tone of voice. "I'll fetch us tea." She scurried out of the room.

"You didn't tell her," Mycroft said to John.

"Tell her what?"

Mycroft looked across at John.

John sighed. "What good would that do?" John sighed and scrubbed his hands over his face. "Anyway, you weren't the one who called my mobile, announced that Sherlock Holmes was a fraud, and then leaped to his death. So, I can't quite blame you for that, can I?"

Well, yes, you can, thought Mycroft. But he didn't want to say that, so he regarded very carefully the tip of his umbrella and John stared at nothing and they sat in silence until Mrs. Hudson returned with tea.

"It was a lovely funeral, Mycroft," Mrs. Hudson told him, kindly.

"Really? I thought he would have hated it," Mycroft said, dryly, because Sherlock had hated it.

"He would have," John agreed.

Mrs. Hudson looked as if she didn't know quite what to do, which she always did when social niceties didn't go exactly as planned. "Still. It was nice." She flurried out of the room.

Mycroft looked at the tea tray. "Shall I pour?"

John made a careless gesture with his hand that Mycroft interpreted as Who cares? He leaned forward and poured out the tea. Mycroft liked pouring out tea. He actually didn't even care for the taste of tea, he just liked the act of making tea. For some reason, this had always irritated Sherlock. Mycroft had never been successful in figuring out exactly why.

He handed a cup across to John. The teacup looked lost and unfamiliar in John's hand. He held it awkwardly.

Mycroft's eyes sharpened on that. "Have you been eating?"

John looked startled. "What?"

Mycroft kept his eyes sharp. "You haven't been, have you?"

John sipped his tea. "Why are you here?" he asked, pointedly.

Mycroft looked across at him for a moment. Then he said, "Sherlock didn't have a will."

"I would say that was careless of him except that he thought he was a god and I never heard of a god having a will."

Mycroft smiled despite himself. The thing about John Watson was he had always understood why Sherlock liked him, because he'd always liked him, too. "True. Anyway, there were two sources of Sherlock's funds. There was family money, and that has come to me. And then there was a not inconsiderable amount of income from the...detecting."

"Right," said John, slowly.

"The detecting money should be yours. In fact, it is yours. I'm giving it to you."

John stiffened. "I don't want--"

"It isn't charity, John. In fact, give it to charity, if you like. That money shouldn't be mine, he'd want you to have it, it was always half yours."

"He already gave me half. More than half, I think."

"I know. But now you can have the rest. He'd want you to have it," he repeated. He wanted to add, I have it on the best authority. "I'll have it deposited in your account."

John looked as if he were too exhausted to argue with him. "Fine," he sighed.

"Have you been sleeping, Doctor?"

"I'm fine."

"You're not. You've resumed therapy."

John started laughing suddenly. Mycroft's eyes widened in surprise. "It's just," said John, around his amusement, "I think I've forgotten how to have conversations with people who aren't always coming out with your darkest secrets."

Mycroft sipped his tea. "Be that as it may. I've never thought much of your therapist, you know. You should get a new one."

"Why don't you send me some recommendations? Write their names down in the next package of crisps I buy at the shop. I'm going to miss that, you know. Little messages from Mycroft Holmes, in mysterious ringing phones and sentient cash machines. All those sleek black cars all over the place. I'll miss that." The amusement died out of his voice at the last three words. He looked about the flat with obvious sadness.

Mycroft shifted a bit uncomfortably. "I can keep sending cars for you, if you like."

"Please don't." John met his gaze directly. "Please don't...follow me around, checking up on me. Please don't."

Talk to Sherlock about that, Mycroft wanted to say. "Will you stay here?" he asked instead.

"God, no. Oh, God, no. In fact, I meant to say...What should we do with...everything?"

"I'll take the violin. You should keep the rest."

"I don't want the rest."

Mycroft stood up. "You don't think you want it now. You'll want it later." He picked up the Stradivarius and laid it carefully in its case, then snapped it closed.

"Is that it then?" John asked him.

"Unless you have anything else you wish to discuss?"

"Yes, I've got things I wish to discuss. The news stories--"

"I can't do anything about the news stories."

"You can't do anything about the news stories?" His incredulity was obvious.

"I have my limits, John," he snapped, suddenly. "Isn't that the lesson we've learned from all this?"

John's eyes were accusing. "In the end, you know, he wouldn't go to you for help. I don't think he thought you would help. All of that idiotic sibling rivalry...And now I think maybe he was right, you wouldn't have helped. Would you have? If he'd called, would you have helped?"

I did. "Good day, Dr. Watson," Mycroft said, with a tight little smile. "I'll have the money put into your account." He walked out of the room, then hesitated and turned back. "You have my number," he said. John looked up from his contemplation of the fireplace, clearly surprised to find he'd returned. "If you ever have need of anything, you should call. I would help."

John blinked, processing. Then he said, "If I ever have need of anything, Mycroft, I expect you to know before I call."

Mycroft chuckled. "Yes. Well. Good-bye." Mycroft walked down the stairs, encountering Mrs. Hudson standing by the door, reading a piece of mail and looking fretful.

"It says my mortgage had just been paid off," she told Mycroft in bewilderment.

"Does it?" responded Mycroft, and stepped out the door.

The day was irritatingly bright. The car pulled up for him immediately. He got into it with his umbrella and his briefcase and Sherlock's Stradivarius. It was cool and dim in the car and Mycroft had a million things he had to deal with that were not his dead-and-alive brother. What he wanted to do--and this was uncharacteristic and he could never remember feeling this way ever before--was to just put his head down and sleep.

"Messages?" he asked the assistant who'd waited for him while he'd attended to his errand. He never knew their names, just their faces. Anonymity was better. They knew he was Mycroft Holmes, but he also suspected half of them thought he'd made that name up.

She went through a litany of e-mails she'd received while he'd been inside, but Mycroft didn't listen. He said, "Where's Inspector Lestrade now?"

"Sir?"

"Inspector Lestrade. Ascertain where he is, and then bring me there."

She looked annoyed at the request, but she figured it out for him. Where Lestrade was was a rundown set of flats in a dodgy part of London, and Mycroft stepped out of the car and leaned against his umbrella and regarded the busy maneuverings of the police outside the flats, lights flashing over them, tape around to protect them. They moved with self-importance, secure that they were doing vital things. Mycroft, watching, had solved the crime in under a minute. How had Sherlock done this, time and again? How did he not find it deadly dull?

He picked Donovan and Anderson out of the crowd, and his hand twitched. If he leaned over and opened the door, said the word to his assistant, Donovan and Anderson would be brought down before they knew what had hit them. This was Mycroft's instinct. He had not discussed it with Sherlock. He wasn't sure if Sherlock would agree or not. He preferred not to know. He'd eventually make up his mind about it.

Lestrade walked out of the flats, turning his coat up against the chill of the descending twilight, and spotted him immediately, pausing on the top step. Then he half-jogged down the steps and ducked underneath the police lines, heading toward him. He moved with too much energy to be purposeful in what he was doing, half of every movement was wasted, thought Mycroft.

"Mr. Holmes," he said, when he got close enough. "I thought this was a fairly open-and-shut domestic, but now I'm concerned it has national security implications."

"It doesn't. You're right. It's open-and-shut. But you know it was the husband's brother and not the husband, right?"

"How do you--"

"Can you send Donovan to do your paperwork?"

"Of course," he drawled, sarcastically. "I'm pretty much Donovan's favorite person right now. Our working relationship is stellar."

"Don't worry about that."

"Are you going to have her killed?"

Mycroft opened his car door. "I haven't decided."

"Wait, seriously?"

"Can you send her to do your paperwork, Inspector?"

Lestrade let it drop. "I guess. Why?"

"Because I know a place with better Scotch than your office."

Lestrade considered, then turned away slightly and shouted, "Sergeant Donovan! Go to the office and take care of the paperwork!"

"What?" She looked furious. "Why?"

"Because I'm going off to have a chat with this bloke about possibly having you killed," replied Lestrade, and then ducked into the car.

***

They were silent in the car. For Mycroft, it was because he much preferred silence. He knew that Lestrade did not prefer silence, Lestrade, in his experience, never stopped talking for very long. But Lestrade was busy being made uncomfortable by the presence of the assistant, and that kept Lestrade quiet as the car pulled up to the club. He stayed quiet as he followed Mycroft out of the car and into the building and into the Talking Room, where Mycroft walked over to the bar and pulled out the Scotch.

Mycroft listened to Lestrade's assessing silence as he poured out the Scotches, and then handed Lestrade one.

"So..." Lestrade said, as he accepted the Scotch, and then trailed off.

"I wish you hadn't told Sergeant Donovan I was considering having her killed," remarked Mycroft. "In front of all those witnesses. Makes it so much more difficult to actually pull it off."

"Oh, come off it, you love a challenge," said Lestrade with a grin. "So, are you allowed to sit down in this place?"

"Oh. Yes. Please do." Mycroft indicated the chair politely, and Lestrade sank onto it.

"You know, you shouldn't blame Donovan," he remarked, as Mycroft took his own seat.

"Shouldn't I?"

"It wasn't her fault."

"Whose fault was it?"

"No one person's." Lestrade sipped his Scotch. "That isn't how it works. Moriarty's fault, I suppose, more than anybody's."

No, it was Mycroft's fault more than anybody's, but Mycroft wasn't about to say that. He sipped his Scotch thoughtfully. "Did you believe her?"

"Sally?"

"When she was amassing her evidence against the great Sherlock Holmes, did you believe her?"

Lestrade looked off at the books lining the shelves. Unusual, because Lestrade usually preferred to make use of his direct gaze. "You know, all the evidence said that her theory made perfect sense. And I didn't believe her. I never believed her."

"Why?" asked Mycroft. "You've had it from Sherlock's mouth himself. That he's a fraud."

Lestrade met his gaze again. "You mean when he told John? Yeah, that's not what was going on there."

"No? What was going on there?"

"John was in danger. Somehow, John was in danger. Unless Sherlock Holmes disgraced himself and jumped. That's why you haven't cleaned up the stories in the papers. That's why your hands are tied. John was in danger. John still is in danger. And Sherlock called you and made you promise that you'd protect John for him. That's what happened, isn't it?"

Mycroft didn't say anything. He kept his eyes passively on Lestrade's and sipped his Scotch.

"The thing about your brother was that he wasn't an easy may to believe in. Those of us who had faith in him, it was hard-won, hard-won in arguments with ourselves. It's hard to break faith like that."

"That's where he underestimated all of you. Loyalty. He would never have expected such loyalty." Mycroft sighed and swirled the Scotch around in its glass. "Sherlock knew everything he had to know about why a human being would commit a crime. He was less good at understanding the rest of it. If you'd shot Sally out of loyalty to Sherlock, that he would have understood. But just the idea of loyalty, in the abstract...That was possibly the last lesson he learned."

"And what about you?"

Mycroft swallowed a sip of Scotch. "What about me?"

"Sherlock knew everything he had to know about why a human being would commit a crime. What do you know everything about?"

Mycroft leaned over and put his empty glass down. "Have you heard about the investigation yet?"

"What investigation?"

"The investigation into you, of course. They've cleared you of all wrongdoing, your position is safe. In fact, they're considering your for a promotion."

Lestrade's mobile rang while he was studying Mycroft in the wake of this statement, clearly trying to determine what to say next.

"You should get that," Mycroft told him.

"It'll just be Sally complaining about the paperwork."

"No, it won't."

Lestrade, still puzzling him out, reached for his mobile and expressed surprise at the caller ID flashing at him. "Lestrade," he answered, and, listening, "Oh...Oh...Oh...Good...Yes." He hung up the mobile. "That was my DCI. I've been cleared of all wrongdoing, my position is safe. In fact, they're considering me for a promotion."

"God works in mysterious ways," commented Mycroft.

"God and the Holmes brothers."

"You should celebrate. More Scotch?" Mycroft stood with his own glass.

Lestrade shrugged and finished what was remaining in his glass, handing it over to Mycroft for a re-fill. "What are we doing here? What's this all about?"

Mycroft filled the glasses. "I went to see John."

"Oh. That explains the Scotch then. How is he?"

Mycroft shrugged as he carried the glasses back over to Lestrade. "I don't know."

"Well, didn't you ask him?"

"What would have been the point of that?" Mycroft sat back down. "He would have just said he was fine. He isn't sleeping and he isn't eating and he's resumed therapy."

"Bloody hell, your brother..." sighed Lestrade, into his Scotch. And then, "I should go see John. I've been meaning to go see him. But I didn't know if it would make it worse that I..."

"You should go see him." Mycroft thought of John in that lonely flat. He had lived with Sherlock. Sherlock was like living with fifty squabbling children. All the energy in a place--all the air in a place--went to his care and comfort. Losing a presence like Sherlock in a flat would make it feel...cavernous. "I think he would like that. I think he feels...alone."

"I can imagine. But I didn't...I mean, Sherlock and I didn't part on the best of...John and I didn't part on the best of..."

"He doesn't blame you," Mycroft said, before he stopped himself. "He blames me."

Lestrade looked at him quizzically. "Blames you?"

Mycroft finished his Scotch in a huge and ill-advised gulp. "Doesn't matter," he said, and stood up. "You should go see him. Thank you for coming for the drink."

Lestrade bewilderedly glanced at his mostly full second glass. "But I haven't finished mine."

"A car will pick you up," Mycroft told him. "Stay as long as you like." He walked swiftly toward the door.

Lestrade recovered from his surprise enough to call out, "Hey, thanks for the thing with the investigation. Seriously. You didn't have to..."

Mycroft paused by the door and looked back at him. "I can't fix my brother's reputation. He didn't say anything about everyone else's. And it's chess."

"What?" asked Lestrade.

"You asked what I know everything about. It's chess."

Next
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On January 16th, 2012 11:20 pm (UTC), Lindsay Slater commented:
This is awesome! I've loved all your DW fanfic, and I'm pleased you've forayed into Sherlock. I haven't commented before, but I've finally caved and decided to allow LJ access to my FB.
I would be very happy if you continued to write about what else happens after Reichenbach! Thanks for all your stories. :)
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On January 19th, 2012 03:35 am (UTC), earlgreytea68 replied:
Awww, thank you! And thank you so much for commenting! I'm glad you enjoyed this!
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On January 16th, 2012 11:28 pm (UTC), stalinglim commented:
Oh... Mycroft. for some reason, this fic really reminds me of the song "Eleanor Rigby". Just the feel of it, I think.

and of course Mycroft knows all about chess.
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On January 18th, 2012 06:18 pm (UTC), amanuensis1 replied:
Oh, that's an observation I'm not going to be able to shake, now. I'll have Eleanor Rigby playing in my head every time I watch Mycroft.
— On January 19th, 2012 03:48 am (UTC), stalinglim posted a reply · Expand
— On January 19th, 2012 03:44 am (UTC), earlgreytea68 posted a reply · Expand
— On January 19th, 2012 03:48 am (UTC), stalinglim posted a reply · Expand
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On January 16th, 2012 11:33 pm (UTC), starjenni commented:
Oh my God. This is amazing . I adore your Mycroft. The rest of the characters are spot on too. And some of the ideas, such as John thinking Sherlock didn't go to Mycroft because he didn't think he would help him whereas in actuality he did . Ugh, heart-wrenching. What a wonderful theory. Poor Mycroft - he is getting so much stick at the moment and I don't doubt that he was feeling the worst off as well! Your dialogue is perfect and your writing style fluid and suspenseful. I love it! Now I shall scurry off to read more by you :p. And possibly read this again. Several times.
Thanks for the fic!
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On January 19th, 2012 03:45 am (UTC), earlgreytea68 replied:
Awww, thank you! This was so much fun to write. It turned out once I started to write in Mycroft's head, I really couldn't stop, and I really did feel sorry for him in the story I constructed in my mind. Glad you enjoyed this!
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On January 16th, 2012 11:41 pm (UTC), rosa_acicularis commented:
Oh my god, I love this. Your Lestrade is brilliant.
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On January 19th, 2012 03:45 am (UTC), earlgreytea68 replied:
Coming from the person who wrote my favorite Sherlock fic ever? I am leaping around in delight.

Thank you! I love Lestrade, he's the best!
— On January 22nd, 2012 01:47 pm (UTC), lostmoon71 posted a reply · Expand
— On January 24th, 2012 04:56 am (UTC), earlgreytea68 posted a reply · Expand
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On January 16th, 2012 11:53 pm (UTC), lawless523 commented:
This is wonderful and highly plausible. *applauds*
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On January 19th, 2012 03:45 am (UTC), earlgreytea68 replied:
Thank you!
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On January 17th, 2012 12:21 am (UTC), alocin42 commented:
This is so very. Very. Very. Nice.

It was touching at first and then you had me snorting with laughter at: "He didn't want to say that he didn't drink the sort of Scotch police detectives kept in their desks." and then it got touching and funny alternately throughout the whole thing and it was lovely!

*happy sigh*

Thank you for writing and posting this.
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On January 19th, 2012 03:47 am (UTC), earlgreytea68 replied:
Touching and funny was what I was going for, so it delights me to hear that it worked for you! And hey, the sort of Scotch police detectives keep in their desks usually isn't Holmesian in standards!
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On January 17th, 2012 12:23 am (UTC), morganstuart commented:
Oh, well done indeed. Excellent!!!
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On January 19th, 2012 03:54 am (UTC), earlgreytea68 replied:
Thank you! I'm so happy you liked it!
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On January 17th, 2012 12:35 am (UTC), smiley_nat commented:
"The thing about your brother was that he wasn't an easy may to believe in. Those of us who had faith in him, it was hard-won, hard-won in arguments with ourselves. It's hard to break faith like that."

That is seriously so gorgeous that it made me tear up. The entire fic was wonderful, but that bit was just... perfect.
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On January 19th, 2012 03:55 am (UTC), earlgreytea68 replied:
Awwww. ::offers you tissues:: I'm so happy you liked this!
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On January 17th, 2012 12:36 am (UTC), rosalind_wang commented:
oh, this is fantastic. As the comment above said, I'd love to read more about your take on what happened after The Fall. I'm still shocked after the episode, so this is helping my recovery. :)

Thanks for sharing.
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On January 19th, 2012 03:55 am (UTC), earlgreytea68 replied:
Thanks! There may be more coming... :-)
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On January 17th, 2012 12:40 am (UTC), krossero commented:
Oh, I love this. And I would love to see more, from Mycroft's point of view; he's a favorite of mine, and you've done very well by him, I think. Thanks for this!
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On January 19th, 2012 03:55 am (UTC), earlgreytea68 replied:
He's a favorite of mine, too, I couldn't resist writing him!
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On January 17th, 2012 12:46 am (UTC), jan_rea commented:
This is gorgeous. Just the perfect follow-up to the episode. ♥
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On January 19th, 2012 03:56 am (UTC), earlgreytea68 replied:
Aww, thank you! Glad you liked it!
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On January 17th, 2012 01:05 am (UTC), fishface44 commented:
You are frighteningly good at this. The voices are perfect!
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On January 19th, 2012 03:56 am (UTC), earlgreytea68 replied:
::blushes:: Thank you so much!
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On January 17th, 2012 01:18 am (UTC), dark_aegis commented:
I adore this. Wonderful Mycroft, and I loved the conversation with John. Great work.
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On January 19th, 2012 03:57 am (UTC), earlgreytea68 replied:
Thank you! Writing Mycroft was so much fun. (And maybe also slightly stressful!)
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On January 17th, 2012 01:27 am (UTC), glorious_clio commented:
oh wow. I... oh wow. So you think Mycroft knows that Sherlock isn't dead? I hadn't thought of that scenario, but of course he must.

This was so poignant, in a clinical, Holmes sort of way. And sometimes, with biting humor. Loved it. Thank you for sharing!
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On January 19th, 2012 03:58 am (UTC), earlgreytea68 replied:
In canon, Mycroft is basically the only person who knows that Sherlock faked his death. So I kind of assumed Mycroft in "Sherlock" must also know. I'm not sure if they'll go the canon route or not, but I wrote it that way and it made sense to me.

I loved you saying it was poignant in a clinical sort of way, because that is *so* the definition of Holmesian. And I think Mycroft has a very dry sense of humor, so I tried to capture that.
— On January 19th, 2012 12:18 pm (UTC), glorious_clio posted a reply · Expand
— On January 23rd, 2012 03:52 am (UTC), earlgreytea68 posted a reply · Expand
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On January 17th, 2012 01:30 am (UTC), hurry_sundown commented:
Brilliant, my dear.

*salutes you*
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On January 19th, 2012 04:07 am (UTC), earlgreytea68 replied:
Thank you! Glad you liked it!
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