Sherlock sat in Mycroft’s private office in the Diogenes Club waiting for Mycroft to finish berating someone over the phone in what Sherlock was fairly certain was a regional dialect of Dari. Mycroft finally slammed down the phone and buried his face in his hands with a groan.
“It seems impossible that the world has survived this long being run by such absolute morons.” He muttered into his hands, eliciting a smile from his little brother.
“Still, good job security for you.” Mycroft looked up and chuckled.
“Yes, I suppose it is.” Mycroft sighed, leaning back in his chair. “So, you came here for a reason. What is it?” Sherlock smiled gently, leaning towards his brother.
“I’m worried about you.”
Mycroft sighed again, and attempted to force his face into his usual impassive mask.
“Sherlock, I am…”
“Stop it, Mycroft. Just stop lying to me. Please.” Sherlock rose from his chair and leaned over the desk toward his brother. “Mycroft, you have spent my entire adult life keeping me alive, even when I didn’t want you to, even when I hated you for it. You have done everything in your power to keep me from destroying myself. You’ve never wanted anything in return, and I’ve never had anything worth giving you. Mycroft, please, let me help you. I need to do this.”
Mycroft stared at his brother coldly for a moment before something seemed to crack in his features. He looked down and blinked back tears.
“Sherlock,” he said quietly, “I don’t know how to accept help. I’ve been dealing with this alone for a long time.” Sherlock nodded, and tilted his head slightly toward his brother, raising his eyebrows.
“And how has that been going for you?” It wasn’t really a question, and Mycroft didn’t bother responding to it. “What happened with the mirror, Mycroft?” Mycroft stood, making his way to his decanter and pouring himself a generous glass of scotch. He gestured to the armchairs in front of the fire, and Sherlock joined him.
“Since I was a toddler,” Mycroft started after a long, hard moment, “family members told me how much I looked like Uncle Rudy. It was a family joke for a while, that Rudy was my actual father. No one actually thought that, but I really did look just like him. Particularly when I was...heavier.” He looked down, ashamed, and continued, “I’ve never been able to look at my face without seeing Rudy in it. For thirty years, I have avoided mirrors, because I can’t stand to see his face. I thought that when I lost the weight, I would be able to look at myself, but I still couldn’t. And then, when I told you, when I finally admitted what he did, I thought I would be able to look at myself. I stood in front of that mirror, and I forced myself to look. I wanted to see myself, for once, just once, and not Rudy. But I couldn’t. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t look.” Mycroft was crying now, and Sherlock stood and pulled his brother into his arms. Mycroft laid his head on Sherlock’s shoulder, and let his little brother be the strong one for once as he sobbed.
When Mycroft had composed himself a bit, Sherlock took his brother’s hand and pulled him into the office’s adjoining bathroom, positioning him in front of the mirror.
“Sherlock, please, I can’t do this.” Mycroft quietly begged, his eyes closed.
“Yes, you can. I’m right here. I’m with you,” Mycroft shook his head silently, eyes still shut tightly. Sherlock took his brother’s hand in his own, squeezing it tightly.
“Do you know what I see, Mycroft? Because I don’t see Uncle Rudy. I see my big brother. I see the man who picked me up and carried me, covered in sick, out of a doss house in a £2000 suit. I see the boy who sat on the edge of a river for six hours, babysitting the frogs I caught. I see the British Government, the man who can prevent wars, and save lives, and thwart terrorist attacks, without leaving his club. The one who kidnapped my flatmate just to make sure I was going to be safe, who has been holding this entire family together, despite the fact that no one seems to appreciate it. I see you, Mycroft. I see my big brother. Can you look? Can you try to see who I’m seeing?”
Mycroft trembled slightly, but holding on to his brother for dear life, he slowly opened his eyes. He looked in the mirror, trying desperately to meet his own eyes. His gaze passed over his expensive suit, his striped tie, his starched collar. Sherlock squeezed his hand encouragingly and Mycroft let his eyes fall on his face. He stared into the reflection of his own face.
The two brothers stood, side by side, for nearly a minute before Mycroft shut his eyes and buried his face in his brother’s shoulder. Sherlock turned, and allowed his brother to fall into his arms.
“That’s great, Mycroft, I’m proud of you. I know that was hard. I’ve got you.” Sherlock rubbed his brother’s back slowly. “You’re alright, My. I’ve got you and I’m so proud of you.”