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The sound of a violin playing echoed around the flat, the notes caressing the ears of anybody daring to listen. It was peaceful, serene, and as Sherlock slightly swayed around he heard footsteps ascend the stairs. He screeched to a stop annoyingly, it was obviously his brother. Now he has to wait for inspiration to strike him once more. 

"What do you want?" 

"Good evening to you as well, little brother."

Mycroft sat down in John's chair. Sherlock glared at his brother, willing him to go away.

"Where is Dr. Watson?" 

"Out. Your assistant kidnapped him awhile ago, as if you didn't know." he sat down his own seat while staring at his brother, something was odd.

"Yes, of course." Mycroft paused. "I have a case I would like you to decline."

"I refuse to solve your case." he said without pause.

"Good" Mycroft seemed relieved for a moment before he schooled his features once more to a smug yet bored expression. 

"What was it?"

"You refused it. It's not important."

"You didn't come here for that alone. What was it?"

Mycroft seemed to balance his options. His face was blank and he gazed at Sherlock woth cold, dead eyes before it returned to normal and his brother sighed.

"A government official has been murdered today." he said while avoiding his brother's eyes.

"Why would you like me to decline? If anything you should be begging me to take the case."

"I do not beg." Mycroft hissed as Sherlock grinned. "He's death has caused quite a ruckus upstairs."

Sherlock pretended to yawn. "Boring."

"I agree. Nothing of importance happened after all." Mycroft contemplated.

"Who was he to you?"

"Why would you assume we had relations outside or work?"

"You're uncomfortable."

Mycroft played with his umbrella for a bit before answering in a wistful voice.

"He was a colleague. One of the cleverest people I know. I dare say he is cleverer than you." Sherlock raised an eyebrow as Mycroft smiled at him teasingly. "He has a brother currently at their home trying to cope with his murder." he added as a second thought.

"You're getting sentimental."

"Middle-age, brother-mine."

"How did he die?"

"Classified. I can't give you anymore information."

"Then I'll take the case."

Mycroft raised an eyebrow at him. "You refused it two minutes ago and even said it was boring."

"It is. But you are hiding something from me, and I will find out."

"Will you never respect my wishes?"

"Of course not."

Sherlock and Mycroft paused and as they both tried to deduce the other, Sherlock couldn't get the churning of his stomach to stop.

"Sherlock?" he snapped his head back.

"Do you remember much about our childhood?"

"What brought this on?"

"Just answer it."

"Not much." In his defence he was very young and he deleted some unimportant parts of their childhood during his addiction.

"Do you remember the day I went to uni?"

Sherlock did. He was getting angry just remembering it. What was the point in all these?

"What about it?"

Mycroft smiled at him ruefully.

"I'm sorry, Sherlock. I just did what I thought was best."

Sherlock's temper flared 

"Oh, so leaving your brother alone then ignoring him in uni is for the best?"

"You needed to gain your independence."

"Independence? I suppose having your minions track my every move proves my independence, how about following me from cameras? Do those count?" 

Mycroft wanted to argue, he looked like he wanted to argue but he held his tongue. He smiled once again and Sherlock wanted to punch it out his smug face.

"I really am sorry, Sherlock." 

Sherlock didn't have a second to react to the sudden presence of his brother's arms around him. His head buried in his brother's chest. He oddly felt warm. Warm even in areas on his back where Mycroft wasn't hugging him. It was like he was being wrapped in a blanket, and as his brother tightened his hold the warmth strengthened. He felt nice. He felt safe.

Unfortunately as soon as it begun it was over.

"Sorry. I needed to- that is to say..." Mycroft was flustered, "Thank you, Sherlock."

"Oh please, it's not like you're dying or something." he rolled his eyes.

"Goodbye then." his brother said while turning away.

"Mycroft?" Sherlock called. "Thank you." he mumbled as his brother gave him another smile. A genuine smile that made his eyes twinkle and his face to light up.

He turned around and saw a black car aproach and John exited the car. He waited for his brother to appear but before he could he saw Anthea get out as well. 

He turned to greet them but stopped as John held his shoulder.

"What's wrong?"

He looked at Anthea and deduced that beneath her jacket lay bloodstains. Her face had a few cuts and she obviously received a few bruises on her arms.

"What happened?" he asked.

"Sit down, Mr. Holmes."

"I prefer to stand."

Anthea looked exhausted and John led her down to his chair. He stood next to his friend and looked disturbed.

"It's about your brother." she started.

"What about him? He was jus-"

"He's dead."

Sherlock blinked. How could he be dead? He was just here a few minutes ago. How could he die? Did he fell down the stairs and hit his head? Did he get assasinated on his way to the car? He needed to check.

As he was about to sprint down, John held his shoulder and dragged him to sit down.

"How?" was the only word he could utter out.

Anthea looked at John and he nodded. "He was abducted yesterday at 08:38 hours. Our men recued him this morning at 02:26 and immediately rushed him to the nearest medical facility. Half an hour later an-"

"Why was I not informed? I am his next of kin!?"

"We tried contacting you but you didn't answer. I was about to send a car for you but Mr. Holmes stopped me."

That was right. He had his phone somewhere in the flat, probably dead, since it was a busy day. He probably threw it somewhere. Can he really be dead?

"Why did he stop you?" Anthea bit her lip. John sighed and he felt frustrated more than ever.

"He said that it was not important. He would die with or without your presence. He wanted to spare you his death." 

It was wrong. He wasn't spared from his br- from his death. If anything it felt worse. Was he going insane? Did he experience a hallucination earlier? Hiw coukd his brother be dead?

"Idiot.".He muttered." How could that kill him? He was held captive longer than that and he only came out with dehydration." his brother was faking his death. That's the answer.

"He was tortured. He was beaten. He was not meant to escape nor survive."

"Why did they take him" it didn't make any sense, none of it did.

"Information. Mr. Holmes gave them nothing thus his injuries." Anthea looked away from Sherlock. His brother's PA bit her lip. "He survived the transport. He was rushed into surgery immidiately. That's when we tried to contact you first but Mr. Holmes specifically said that no one would inform you until everything is settled."

"Why was I not informed sooner." 

"The doctors managed to stabilize him. Just barely. That's when I tried to call you, in his insistance. After the fifteenth call, I wanted to send a car for you but... He stopped me." Anthea looked dazed. She remembered the blood of her employer cover her clothes as she tried to stem the bleeding during their ride in the helicopter with some medics. She recalled his pain-filled screams as their constant movong jostled his injuries. Most of all, Anthea would forever be haunted by his look of pain and acceptance as he smiled at her sadly while stopping her from collecting his brother.

"Why didn't you fight him?" Sherlock was angry, hurt, and currently a whirlwind of emotion.

"Sherlock" John warned him.

"I couldn't." she said sadly as she willed the tears away. She remembered her training and successfully pulled of a stoic face.

"He's my brother! I deserve to-"

"To what? Insult him one last time? Make him guiltier than he already was? I may not know much about you Holmses but I do know that it would have caused him more pain if he knew that he let you see your brother die."

Anthea yelled as she fought to keep the tears at bah.

Sherlock was a loss for words. The shock, the pain, didn't release him from their grasp but he managed a little self-control.

If Mycroft was dead, who was he talking to?

They never believed supernatural garbage when they were children despite Mycroft's passion for horror films. 

 "I need to see him."


 

He gazed at his brother's corpse and felt surreal. He discreetly pinched himself every five minutes, hoping to wake up from this nightmare. Mycroft's face was littered with cuts and bruises. He was pale and his lips has turned into an odd shade of blue. 

"I want to know his injuries." Anthea looked at John. The doctor cleared his throat and with his best medic voice he reported the injuries that the minor official sustained.

"He lost three fingers. Two on his left hand, one on his right. He was beaten repeatedly by  two men according to the reports of the rescue team where he sustained six broken ribs. He was burned in several areas. He had a concussion which he received as his assailants repeatedly banged his head on the wall. He was whipped approximately ten times on the back before..." John paused as he read the line on the clipboard again.

Sherlock looked tense and John felt like he knew what he was about to say. He gulped before continuing.

"He was sexually abused. There is evidence that show that the abuse happened repeatedly with different men."

"That's all?" John looked at Anthea this time. The woman ndded and John continued.

"After the rescue team arrived, the kidnappers panicked. Shots were fired and Mycroft was shot in his left shoulder."

Anthea recalled a man getting killed while protecting their employer. If it wasn't for his sacrifice, Mycroft wouldn't make it to the helicopter. She remembered trying to keep him awake during the transport, she tried telling him their past escapades to distract him from the pain, she tried telling horrible jokes everytime he cried out. 

"While in the surgery his heart stopped but the doctors managed to Bring him back." 

"Three hours after surgery he woke up. After half an hour he went into cardiac arrest where the doctors couldn't bring him back."

Sherlock could see it on his mind. How his brother was tortured, how the doctor tried to revive him.

He didn't get to say goodbye. "Leave." he commanded them. Anthea left without hesitation. John wanted to comfort Sherlock but decided against it.

As the door shut in the morgue, he stared at his brother.

"Mycroft." he begun. "You are such an idiot. Spare me from your death!? What were you thinking? On second thought, what were you thinking while hiring your security? Such incompitent men could lead to your death-" he caught himself. He tried to calm himself. He took a deep breath and looked away from the body "Too soon?" he asked jestingly towards the body on the slab. "You didn't even let me say goodbye." he said in a small voice. 

Despite popular belief he did care about his brother. They were not gushingly sentimental and if he was informed of his brother's impending death, he may have sat there not knowing what to say. 

He took his phone out. It had fourteen percent of battery left. He saw a text, after the fifteenth missed call. 

"I love you, brother dear -M"

It was sent ten minutes before the time of death. Sherlock nearly fell with the realization that Mycroft waited for him. He fought death itself to buy himself more time for his brother, he endured pain to give Sherlock a chance to say goodbye. Mycroft didn't force him to do anything, And when Shelrock didn't answer, he accepted it and let go. It wasn't Mycroft's fault.


It was three days before Mycroft left for uni. Sherlock was ignoring him and he was deeply hurt.

"Sherlock please let me talk to you." he pleaded to his brother. Sherlock ignored him. He stayed in his room and ignored his brother's knocks.

The night before he left, Mycroft stormed in his room while Sherlock screamed his head off. He kept saying that he hated his brother, that he was abandoning him and that he woukd be deleted in his mind palace. Mycroft just hugged him tight as Sherlock tried to pound his fist on his chest, as he tried to wriggle out of Mycroft's arms, as he yelled in his ear as he stomped around. Mycroft didn't let go, he tightened his hold until Sherlock quieted and his yells turned into sobs until he was crying and clinging to Mycroft.

Mycroft tried to explain everything but Sherlock wasn't listening. They argued for a bit. That night Mycroft read Sherlock his favorite book.

Thr next morning he was gone. He left a note saying that goodbyes would just hurt more and that caring was not an advantage. Sherlock often wondered if that night was a dream.

'He didn't even let me say goodbye." he ripped the letter to shreds and thus begun their resentment.


"Mycroft. I am sorry."

Sherlock said as he gazed at his brother's body. He lowered the blanket further to expose his brother's chest and stomach. It was black and blue and he partially saw what Mycroft suffered. He grabbed his right hand and winced as he saw that his brother lost his index finger. He squeezed his hand and only now did he realized he was crying. He saw a tear fell on his brother's arm as he bent over while stiffling a sob. He suddenly wasn't the famous detective capable of solving crimes with one look, he was the angry nine year old who was upset because he was denied a goodbye by his brother.

Only now, he wasn't angry at Mycroft. He was angry at himself. His brother might have abandoned him for uni, he might have denied Sherlock a proper goodbye during their childhood but he fought death and pain to give Sherlock a chance to say goodbye. But Sherlock didn't know. 

"You should have sent for me immediately you twat!" he snarled.

"All lives end, all hearts are broken-"

He heard his brother's words in his head as if it were said aloud.

"Caring is not an advantage." he whispered as he heard his name being uttered by the man in the metal table. He squeezed his brother's hands again.

"I love you, My."


"You okay?" John asked as they sat outside the morgue. He knew that they were close. You don't need to be a Holmes to make that deduction. They were together for almost every hour of everyday, how could anyone not get close to someone you are constantly with? 

"I'll be fine." she said curtly.

"It's alright, you know, you could cry." he encouraged her as she gave a wry smile.

"I was there." She sighed.

"I was there when the rescue stormed the warehouse. I saw everything. I saw him get r-" her voiced choked as she remembered his screams of protest, the taunting of the man above Mycrfot. She was the first to fire a shot.

"I tried to keep him awake. The medics and I rushed him to the copter while trying to stop the bleeding."

A part of her wanted to stop. She wanted to remain stoic and unfeeling but John Watson is a pool of understanding and patience. He could keep a secret and carry it to his grave.

"It's alright." he said as he rubbed her back. Tears spilled over her eyes.

"After the surgery, I saw him. He was barely consciouss and he immediately asked for his brother.I tried to call him but he wouldn't pick up. After the fifteenth time I was about to call the driver but he stopped me. He asked for his phone and-" she let out a sob. "He said that it was okay. I was apologizong to him. If only we found him sooner, if we heightened his security further and he- he smiled at me."

"I knew he was in pain, he bloody lowered the morphine drip so he could remain lucid longer. His eyes, John." 

John realized it was the first time he was addressed by his first name by the woman.

"It was filled with pain, so much pain but he accepted his fate. I saw him trying to type a text and I offered to do it. The stubborn bastard won't give it to me."

"He sent me to inform you first. Fifteen minutes after that I received word that he went into cardiac arrest and that they weren't able to bring him back"

She said. Tears fell once again and John enveloped her in his arms as she cried her heart out. She didn't just lost her boss, she lost a friend, a confidante, a mentor. Everything.


The funeral was attended by a lot of people. Foreign dignitaries, politicians John also spotted some heavily guarded individuals he suspected as Mycroft's very old friend and their family. The rain couldn't stop one from giving their respect to onw of the most powerful man they knew.

Despite his being called the ice man, Mycroft was a well-known and respected figure. The site was filled with acquantances, they didn't know Mycroft the way his friends did.

John stood in the middle of Anthea and Sherlock. Mrs. Hudson was crying in the end of the second row and Lestrade stood at the end while wearing a face filled with sadness.

Sherlock hasn't spoken since his visit and Anthea hasn't showed any signs of emotion after her breakdown.

This would usually earn him a call from Mycroft to inform him to stay with Sherlock but he realized that he will never be kidnapped again by Mycroft. He won't be getting any messages from ATM's anymore and he won't have cameras track his movements.

As the funeral ended Sherlock left John and Anthea said goodbye without pause. He was left alone and stood in front of the tombstone.

"I know that we barely knew each other. Well, you know a lot about me." He began.

"I know you think that Sherlock hates your guts but he doesn't. He cares about you, I can tell. He hasn't spoken a word since, you know.He's been playing his violin in the middle of the night. I thought you'd like to know that he hasn't touched any drugs yet and I'm hoping that he won't."

"You know, Mycroft, despite all your 'Caring is not an advantage' bullshit. Many people care for you. Sherlock, Mrs. Hudson, Anthea, hell I care about you. And I know that you do as well. Anthea and Sherlock are a wreck. We're going to find whoever ordered your kidnapping and we will bring him to justice."

With that, John grabbed the umbrella, neatly placed beside the tombstone. He opened it and replaced it next to the tombstone to protect it from the rain.


 

"Will you look at that?" the figure stared at the tombstone in the rain. "Who would have thought so much people cared for you?"

He grabbed his phone and dialed a familiar number. "Hey, it's me. Mission accomplished, we could move to phase two now."

He grinned at the phone as he walked away. He listened for awhile then turned it off. He gazed back at thr grave one more time before he chuckled. "Mycroft Holmes is dead."  he cackled before leaving entirely.

"Now, let's begin our game, Iceman"