Mycroft sat in the soft leather seat, pursing his lips and attempting to hold back the tears that were still threatening to fall. He inhaled sharply and with a determined wipe of his hands over his face, banished the emotions that he was irritatingly hardly capable of controlling at the moment.
He didn't care. Caring was not an advantage. He could see people suffer, could even give the order to make people suffer without the blink of an eye. He had once been called the "Iceman" by that Adler-woman and she had been right, he was even a little proud of that reputation. It was always good in his job not to be emotionally vulnerable. As it wasn't just a job like an eight-hour office job but one that took his full attention all through the day, week, month, year and most likely entire life, he always had to be composed and attentive, ready to make the most important decisions. He had to be emotionally cold.
However, Adler had been the only person in the world who had brought him to the edge of crying after his childhood days when he had had to realize that the work of years and years of planning and organizing had been destroyed within seconds because his brother had been driven by a strange fascination he had felt for that woman. He never admitted to that, but it had been obvious that that had been the closest to love Sherlock would ever get. Back then, Mycroft had felt as if somebody had pulled the rug from under his feet – and it had all been his own fault as he had initiated the contact between Irene Adler and Sherlock. Making a mistake that affected entire nations was a reason to shed a tear, nothing else, though, should be one.
This, however, was completely different. Sherlock was, apart from their mother, the only person he really cared for. All the times he had had to help rescue him from whatever he had got himself into, had cut him to the quick, although he would never confess that openly. Apart from their natural inherited aloofness, the Holmes children had been taught quite forcefully, by their father mainly, that caring was a weakness.
He really wanted to help Sherlock this time, but he couldn't. It wasn't just the bloody oath that he had sworn to himself that he wouldn't speak about the events ever again, it was something that his friend Tobias had said to him when they had been about to access Sherlock's mind palace.
"Never, ever tell him anything. Deleting memories is like hiding bodies in the cellar. They are zombies that must never be released from their incarceration or they will haunt you and kill you."
Those had been the exact words his friend had used. Mycroft had been about to laugh at the warning of his friend until he had looked him in the eye and had seen that there was nothing funny about it. He had meant it.
Tobias had explained to him that this was all about cutting synaptic connections off, manipulating the flow of the neurotransmitters; it was like learning, just the other way round. The memories, however, were not really deleted, just inaccessible. In the construction of a mind palace the cellar was the place to put those memories that were no longer needed. Access to that space in the mind, however, was very difficult for an outside person as it were, so to say, the foundations of the entire construction. They had only been able to delete the memories, because Tobias had taught Sherlock how to create that mind palace, and, therefore, knew some of the keys to access it. He had been aware of the fact, that their work under such circumstances couldn't be as meticulous as it should have been, but they had had to try since there had been Sherlock's life at stake. As they had known that there might be a little hole in the concrete of the cellar ceiling because of that, they had to be careful with what Sherlock would get to know, because a tiny detail could function as an explosive to the whole ceiling and everything would come back instantly, causing uncontrolled release of neurotransmitters, faulty connections of synapses, which could result in cramps at best and insanity or the loss of vital functions if the worst came to the worst.
Sherlock had been in immediate danger far too often and Mycroft had condemned himself innumerable times that he had given in to telling his brother about his abduction at all. If only John hadn't been so admittedly clever as to make copies of the documents he had obtained from his German friend, which had shown the family coat of arms of the Holmes family and, therefore, revealed the connection between the Tabun poisoning and the Holmes. However, he wouldn't put Sherlock in real danger intentionally by telling him what had happened and possibly trigger a break-down of his mind-palace.
He desperately wanted to help his little brother, thus he had talked to a couple of people about what possibilities they had or which treatment would apply. The answers he had got, however, had been unsatisfying, sometimes rather annoyingly ignorant. Either the supposed specialists hadn't known anything about memorizing techniques and the consequences the deletion of memories might have, or they had suggested very long psychiatric rehabilitation, which was simply impossible to impose on Sherlock. They had tried it numerous times and the outcome had always been far from being successful.
Mycroft had tried to hide his helplessness in front of his brother by behaving just as he usually would, although it had cost him a lot of strength and he had finally laid himself bare as much as Sherlock had. When he had seen the dressing on Sherlock's wrist, he had felt as if his heart had been torn apart. Sherlock had a history of drug abuse and self-harm, but he had never tried to slash his wrists. Mycroft had known instantly that the bandage wasn't covering just the result of a silly accident that had happened during one of Sherlock's experiments. There had been something about Sherlock's posture, something in his eyes that had instantly told him that John had been right about his brother's impending mental meltdown. Although, he hadn't expected to find it had already taken place. Apparently, John had been there just in time. There had been a dressing to only one of Sherlock's wrists, so maybe the ex-army man had found him like that upon returning from the Diogenes Club.
Mycroft had to admit to himself that, although there still was some hostility in their dealings with each other, he and John had been pulling in the same direction. Although he had once doubted John's intentions and the reasons why the ex-army doctor put up with his difficult brother, he was grateful now that the persistent little man was so loyal and a very skilled doctor.
In the backseat of the car that glided through the London streets, the fading daylight being replaced by uncountable street lights and adverts that let the city never get fully dark, Mycroft made a decision: He had to find Tobias. They hadn't been in contact for more than 20 years, but for him, with all the access to any data he needed, it shouldn't be such a big task to find his former friend and seek advice from him. He was a genius himself, although without the sociopathic tendencies Sherlock displayed and he had already been very professional in the field of memory saving strategies at the age of 17. It was likely that he could help them.
The personified British Government took a deep breath, straightened his shoulders and raised his chin a bit. He had to compose himself as urgent business was waiting. However, what more urgent business could there be as the life and mental condition of his little brother?