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It was his first day back in the office after the Christmas holiday and the extra week Anthea forced him to take off, and by half noon Mycroft was just about ready to set a match to the entirety of Whitehall. Anthea slipped into the office holding a stack of files, and was given a look that could blister paint. 

 

“Don’t give me that look, you’re the one who decided to be emotionally unstable.” Anthea dropped the files on his desk and sunk into the chair in front of it. 

 

“And you’re the one who decided that meant I had to take time off.” Anthea smiled sadly at her boss.  

 

“Stop whining, you haven’t taken more than a day off since I started working here. And you’ve had a pretty shit couple of months.” She leaned back in the chair and regarded her boss warmly. “Are you alright, boss? Really?” 

 

Mycroft paused for a long moment. He rested his chin on his steepled fingers and smiled sadly at Anthea. 

 

“No, I’m really not.”

 

“Good,” Anthea smiled as her boss raised his eyebrows with a smirk. “You’ve never admitted it before. That’s the first step, you have to admit that you have a problem.”

 

~~~

Greg, Sherlock, and John were sitting in Greg’s office during his lunch break. The three men were silent, Greg picking at a sandwich in front of him, John sitting in intense study of the carpet, and Sherlock standing, leaning against the wall of the office. No one was willing to break the uncomfortable silence. Greg took a long drink of his coffee and sighed.

 

 “So are you planning on talking me out of it, or are you planning on offering to help?” The flatmates looked at each other, and then back at the officer. 

 

“Greg,” John said slowly, “I understand the impulse, but…” He was cut off by a scoff from Sherlock. 

 

“We’re here to offer our help.” Sherlock said resolutely, earning himself an exasperated glare from his flatmate, “but I think you know if we get caught, my brother will never forgive us.” 

 

“He’ll also get the charges dropped,” John muttered. 

 

“He will, but he will be furious. And you are the one who stands to lose the most if Mycroft suddenly decides to hate you. So not only do we need to ensure that the actual police don’t catch us, which should be easy, given how idiotic the police in this city are,” Greg grunted and glared, but Sherlock didn’t seem to notice, “but we also need to make sure that the practically omniscient king of CCTV doesn’t figure out what we’re doing.” 

 

“Yeah,” Greg said with a dry chuckle, “that shouldn’t be much of a problem.” 

Chapter Text

Anthea stared at the text her boss’ boyfriend had sent her. 

 

Are you able to keep secrets from Mycroft at all? GL

 

It was a difficult question to answer. Of course she was able to keep secrets from Mycroft, though she couldn’t lie to him without getting caught. And she certainly didn’t make a habit of keeping secrets from him. And given how poorly he had been holding up the last couple of months, she was not going to be a part of anything that had a chance of hurting him.

 

He can tell when I’m lying. As long as he doesn’t ask me a direct question I can keep a secret. But if whatever you’re planning is going to hurt him, at all, in any way, you won’t have to worry about what I tell him, because I will kill you. 

 

Do you have time this afternoon to meet me for a cup of coffee? GL  

 

Anthea pressed her lips into a fine line and took a breath. 

 

4PM, Cafe next to the Yard. And I’m not kidding, if you’re planning anything that will hurt him, we are going to have a fucking problem.


~~~

 

When Anthea arrived at the cafe,  she was surprised to find Greg waiting for her along with Sherlock and John. She inspected the faces of the three men carefully as she sat in the free chair and took the cup of tea Sherlock offered her. 

 

“Is this an intervention?” Anthea asked idly, taking a long sip of her tea, which she was pleased to find had been made properly. 

 

“We need your help with something,” the DI said quietly. “We need to do something without Mycroft finding out, which would require some...editing...of the CCTV footage.” Anthea studied Greg’s face, reading the nervousness there, but also the resolve. 

 

Anthea glanced around the cafe. It had been a good choice of location for this chat. The tables were far apart, and the music would prevent anyone overhearing the conversation. She nodded finally. 

 

“You intend to murder Rudy then? That’s what this is all about? And you want me to ensure that Mycroft doesn’t find out you did it?” Sherlock nodded at her. 

 

“You all realize, of course, that he is very clever.” Greg nodded at her, a little sheepishly. 

 

“And you expect me to help you. Why would I? I think you all know where my loyalties lie.” John nodded now, looking a little smug, as though he had made all of the same points. 

 

“Of course we know all of that,” Sherlock said gently, “but I think you want the same thing we do.” Anthea pressed her lips together tightly and sighed. 

 

“So long as you idiots make it look like natural causes, I can keep him in the dark without a problem.”