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John returned home after dropping Rosie off at preschool the next morning and sunk heavily into his chair. It had been a hard night for everyone, and neither Sherlock nor John had gotten much sleep after Mycroft had left. Sherlock was so keyed up, furious at himself that he had never noticed his brother’s agony, and furious at the uncle who had caused it. He had spent much of the night pacing the living room, plucking dischordently at his violin. John had tried his best to get some sleep, but the sound of Sherlock’s pacing kept him awake. 

 

Sherlock was sitting at the table, his face buried in his microscope. He was pointedly ignoring the fact that his phone was pinging incessantly, signalling the receipt of a series of texts in rapid succession. 

 

“So I’ll just check those then?” John asked, irritation rising in his voice. 

 

“If you feel you must.” John grabbed the phone roughly, examining the notifications. 

 

Annie: 8 missed messages

 

“Someone named Annie desperately wants to get in contact with you, client?” Sherlock finally looked up from the microscope with a scowl. 

 

“Annie is my brother’s housekeeper. Clearly Mycroft has instructed her to annoy me. Or he’s dead. Either way…” Sherlock trailed off, his face panicked as the events of the night before shook him from his usual tirade. He grabbed his coat and scarf, and was already out the door when John realized what was happening and rushed to follow him. 

 

In the cab, Sherlock took his phone from John and started reading the texts. 

 

Sherlock, I don’t want to bother you, but I’m worried about Mycroft. 

 

Did something happen at your flat last night?

 

There’s a broken mirror in his bathroom, blood on the floor, and he’s refusing to tell me what’s going on. 

 

Sherlock, I know you’re getting these. 

 

Sherlock Holmes, if you did something stupid so help me God I will never allow you near him again. 

 

Sherlock, you need to answer me. 

 

Young man, I swear to you I will call your mother. 

 

I will give you five minutes to call me. After that, I will be calling your mother. 

 

Sherlock groaned as John read the texts over his shoulder. 

 

“She certainly knows how to get to you, huh?” John found himself smiling in spite of the rush of panic that the texts had caused in him. 

 

“Best call her, she’s not kidding about calling Mummy, she’s done it before.” Sherlock groaned, and dialed the phone, conversing in rapid fire French when the woman answered. John didn’t understand a word of it but the tone of Sherlock’s voice concerned him greatly. John was still watching his flatmate nervously when they pulled up in front of a gorgeous manor, with perfectly manicured lawns and gargoyles on the turrets, exactly the sort of place John would have guessed Mycroft Holmes would live. 

 

The cab had barely begun to stop when Sherlock tossed a few crumpled bills at the driver and leapt out, rushing up the walkway to the front door, which he unlocked and let himself into with a call of “come on, John.” John sighed, muttered an apology to the driver, and followed his mad flatmate into the house. 

 

Following the trail of destruction Sherlock had left in his wake, a toppled umbrella stand, a flung open door, a few portraits knocked off center, John made his way down a flight of stairs finding himself in what could only be described as a bunker where he was met by the confused face of Mycroft’s P.A.. 

 

“Is everything okay?” She asked, “Sherlock doesn’t usually come here willingly.” John stared at her for a long moment, unsure how to answer the question. She picked up on his discomfort and with a small smile gestured towards the door. 

 

“They’re just through there.” John nodded solemnly and moved towards the door, stopped by a small sound from Anthea. He turned, and found her watching him intently, nervously. “I notice more than he thinks I do,” she admitted quietly, “if there’s anything I can do…” 

John nodded again, and reached out hesitantly to pat her on the arm. Then he turned, and entered the office. Anthea sighed and sat down heavily in her chair. 

 

Inside the office Sherlock was sitting in front of Mycroft’s desk, looking almost nonchalant.  Mycroft was seated behind the desk pointedly not looking at his brother, his right hand wrapped in gauze. 

 

“Would you like to lie to John about what happened to your hand, or would you like to just let him take a look?” Sherlock regarded his brother sharply, the older man not bothering to look up from the file he was reading. 

 

“As I told you, brother mine, it was an accident and I am perfectly capable of bandaging a scrape.” John started to take a step forward, but was cut off by Sherlock suddenly leaping to his feet, and grabbing his brother’s hand roughly. Mycroft gasped in pain as his brother pushed his thumb down on the gauze, causing a fresh burst of blood to color the gauze. 

 

“Scrapes don’t do that, brother mine. Please let John take a look. And while he’s doing that, would you like to tell me what happened last night?” 

 

“No.” Mycroft snapped, but he held out his hand for John to inspect with a sigh. “It really was nothing, Sherlock, the mirror broke, I cut my hand on a shard.” 

 

“Did the mirror break before or after you punched it?” Sherlock asked, “Annie told me what it looked like.” 

 

“Dear God above, I will fire that woman.” 

 

“No you won’t.” 

 

“This is going to need a couple of stitches,” John cut in. “If I had my kit I could do it, but…” John was cut off by the sound of a desk drawer opening, and Mycroft placed an extraordinarily well stocked first aid kit in front of him. 

 

“I like to be prepared.” Mycroft said with a shrug at the baffled look John gave him. John rolled his eyes, and pushing up the sleeves of his jumper, began stitching. 

 

“Mycroft, what we talked about last night, I know that was hard for you. I don’t want us to go back to hating each other. Please.” Sherlock had moved to stand directly in front of his brother. He reached out and placed his hand on the side of Mycroft’s face, but was met with a sharp intake of breath and violent flinch. Sherlock put his hands up in a gesture of surrender. 

 

“Okay, okay, that’s okay,” Sherlock said soothingly. “I won’t touch you. That’s okay. But I’m right here, Mycroft. You don’t have to do this alone. I’m here, I’m staying right here.”