Mycroft poured himself a glass of brandy and sat down. It hadn't been an especially taxing day, but there were complications. The painting. That had been an unexpected complication. One he trusted his brother would solve.
Sherlock. He hoped his brother wasn't becoming another complication. According to John he was ill, but Mycroft couldn't remember Sherlock ever falling ill. He doubted his brother would allow it. He wasn't sure what reason John would have to make excuses for him.
He took a drink and then gazed into the crackling flames of the fire dancing in the fireplace. A heavy weight settled on his shoulders. He thought his brother's miraculous return from the dead would've alleviated the strain between them, but their relationship remained the same.
Sherlock could be so childish. Holding onto grudges like a schoolboy. He liked to think of himself as one who didn't cater to silly human emotions, as if he was above all that, but when it came down to it he was just as bad as all the rest. He might not allow it to be shown, but, in his own way, he cared for John and Mrs. Hudson while harboring resentment for his elder brother. Of course, he'd never admit to any of that.
Mycroft swirled his brandy, staring into the brown liquid without seeing it, debating his own humanity. He glimpsed it after his brother's death, after what he believed to be his brother's death. Caring is not an advantage, Sherlock. The problem was, for all his talk, he couldn't help the emotional connection he had with his younger brother.
There were siblings who despised each other and, in a way, they despised each other, but he always tried to look out for Sherlock. Keep an eye on him. Something that started long ago, but it was difficult to get past that wall between them. When he learned of his brother's death that wall no longer mattered and all their arguments seemed trivial.
His phone chimed. He pulled his mobile out of his pocket. A picture. He opened the picture and almost dropped his brandy. His brother, who was supposedly in bed with an illness, was sitting in a restaurant, but that wasn't what surprised Mycroft. It was the blonde.
Sherlock and the blonde were sharing a corner table. He was sitting on her left, gazing at her. She was smiling and offering him a chip. He appeared to be on a date and, under normal circumstances most brothers would be happy, but there wasn't anything normal about Sherlock on a date. It just didn't happen.
Who was she? Rose. Was this the Rose John told him about? Was she John's friend? No, the way he'd spoken of her told him that Sherlock's flatmate didn't know her very well. The only other woman who'd become close to his brother nearly bankrupted the country. He couldn't let that happen again. He would find out who she was and put an end to her game.
He typed a message into his phone.
Find out who she is.
Then he attached the picture and hit send. He should have his answer by morning.
On the other side of London another man was looking at a similar picture.
"Oh, Sherlock, I am disappointed."
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