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Sacrifices (4/4)

BBC Sherlock

Rating 12: angst, slash, really not-good Sherlock, violence, hints of fluff

Spoilers: none

Summary: Sherlock's stolen John from Mycroft, but back at Mycroft's favourite warehouse, anything could happen...

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Bonus: fluffy epilogue - Last Christmas

It is only after Mycroft has finished his 'discussion' with Mr Mahood a few weeks later, and Anthea has taken the quivering man away in the car, that a short figure emerges from the shadows at the far corner of the warehouse. Of course, when a man has been shown all the exits from a location, he knows all the entrances as well, by definition.

"I see you're still good at menacing people," John says coolly, as he walks up to Mycroft.

I'm not the menacing one here, Mycroft thinks, wishing he had his umbrella to hand. There's a hardness to John's gaze and a grimness about his jaw that he doesn't like, and he finds himself wondering what's in the kitbag on John's shoulder. Not that John really needs any weapons, of course, when he has those strong hands...

"What are you doing here, John?" he says, and is appalled to hear a hint of desire in his own voice even now. He's being stupid. This isn't the old John, not this wary...killer. With the mark on his neck that Mycroft can't see clearly, but is almost certainly a love bite.

"I need to talk to you."

He doesn't like to imagine what the last six months in Sherlock's bed has done to John's psyche, but he knows he's still an emotional mess where John is concerned. He has to protect himself, he can't take any more humiliation. He straightens up, looking down his nose at John, and says, in his most haughty tone:

"I really don't think, Dr Watson, that there's anything to talk about. When I change my phone numbers, the locks on my doors, when I don't contact you, that's something of a hint. Now, I'm afraid you're going to need to make your own way back to 221B Baker Street, because Anthea's busy."

John's chin goes up. "I said we needed to talk. About surveillance."

"Blackmail, John? Not going to work, you're not my interest anymore. Sherlock should have realised that, before he put you up to this."

"Me coming here has nothing to do with Sherlock!"

"It has everything to do with him. It always does." It's stupid, dangerously stupid to be winding up John like this, but he can't help it. "You'd do anything for him, wouldn't you?"

"There are things I won't do, but even now I owe him something. You pulled off the surveillance from him, didn't you, when we got together? You didn't care what happened to him after that, did you, whether he was safe or not?"

"He had you. Who else did he need to protect him?"

"Then you'd better put back the surveillance," John says abruptly, "because Sherlock and I have split up." He turns, and heads rapidly for the door.

"John?" It takes an appalling long time to register, before Mycroft starts clumsily chasing after John, trying to catch up with him, talk to him. But John isn't paying attention, just keeping on going, almost out of the warehouse now. He has to stop him. He reaches out desperately, catching John's right arm, and then remembers after a split-second that you don't do that kind of thing to John. He ducks instinctively as John swivels, which means that as John's left fist comes round, the blow smacks not into Mycroft's stomach, but straight into his mouth.

***

Other than the throbbing pain spreading through most of his face, getting hit is a surprisingly effective tactic, he soon realises. Because, of course, John is constitutionally incapable of abandoning someone who's bleeding. And so they are now sitting in the office and having some of the brandy that had been in John's kitbag, in between Mycroft dabbing at his split lip.

"You were going to go and get drunk after you'd told me, were you?" Mycroft asks John, who's sitting opposite him, almost slumped in his chair.

"That was one option, yeah," John says  quietly. He just looks worn now, not grim. Too many sleepless nights, Mycroft presumes, he knows the feeling. And yet the whole thing suddenly reminds him of one of their early meetings, when he'd faced a man who no longer knew who he was, helped him mould a new identity. Maybe...no, what could he say? Dear John, how would you like to take part in sex with the Holmeses, round three?

He knows now what this encounter is. The wash-up. The day after the disaster, when you've pulled everyone alive from the wreckage that you can, and you now have to clear away the debris and see what can be salvaged. Not a time for heroism, but practicalities.

"Before we go any further, do you somewhere to stay tonight?" he asks. "If not, I can sort out a hotel, or see if someone at work could put you up."

There's a long silence.

"I haven't actually left 221B," John says at last. "When I said we'd split, it's more that Sherlock has kicked me out of bed, not the flat. I think he's fine with me staying there, so I am."

"I see," says Mycroft, wishing he does.

"Do you think I'm a masochist?" John asks abruptly.

None of the FCO manuals include suitably diplomatic answers for that question. Here goes, thought Mycroft.

"No, he says, trying to sound confident, "because even if you hadn't mentioned it when we were together, I think I'd have noticed."

There's the ghost of smile on John's lips. "But you're not a sadist, Mycroft, so it wouldn't have been worth mentioning it."

"I have minions to do the sadistic stuff if necessary, which is far more effective," he replies smoothly. "That's a joke," he adds hastily, when he sees John's sudden stillness. "Not a very funny one, maybe, but I promise you it's just a joke."

"That's...OK," John says. "My fault. I'm rather out of practice with jokes."

For that statement alone, Mycroft wants to rip Sherlock's spine out and make him eat it, although that's not yet an objective, just an aspiration. But first of all he must help John.

"You're not an emotional masochist either, John," he says, trying to put into words what he instinctively knows to be true. "Because...because if you were, whatever Sherlock did to you, you'd still want to be the only one protecting him, you wouldn't be asking my men to do it for you. Whereas I suspect that you're worried that if it's just you around the next time someone tries to beat up Sherlock, that you might be tempted to let the attack carry on just a kick too long before you intervene."

"Do you worry about that too?" John asks slowly.

"Constantly. That's one of the reasons I employ minions to protect Sherlock, and don't try and do it myself."

"But I'm still involved with Sherlock, care about him, even after the way he's treated me. Doesn't that suggest there's something wrong with me?" John asks.

"My dear John, I'm not really the man to comment on that, am I?"

"You're related to him."

"DNA alone brings no emotional commitment, as I'm afraid my father showed. But I realised when Sherlock was four or five that he was this most amazing, fascinating, brilliant creature, with so much potential. Worth trying to preserve, set right, influence."

"He still is. Maybe I'm just not a good influence," John says wearily.

"I know you have been, are, if only for the improved vitamin consumption. But...it's very hard, frustrating work. You think one problem's solved and then another emerges. Sherlock's personality is rather like the Forth Bridge in that way."

"You've trained him well, Mycroft," John says, "On a lot of things at least." He grins suddenly. "Does that sound patronising?"

"Absolutely, if said to Sherlock, but to me I think it's justified. It's rather gratifying to have that aspect of my work appreciated. It's another line for the obituary I won't have. 'Prevented the second Falklands War, semi-humanized his brother, Sherlock.' "

"The second Falklands War?"

"It didn't happen, so I shouldn't have mentioned it. But it came nearer than it should have done." Mycroft pauses, because he suddenly remembers what he has next on his check-list. It's going to rip up the thin web of trust spreading between them again, but he a duty to ask about this.

"I don't know my training of Sherlock has been adequate," he says at last. "I told you once, didn't I, that I would protect Sherlock as long as he didn't turn to serious violence?"

"As long as he didn't kill anyone, at least without justification."

"Not just killing. I don't want to ask you, John, but I have to know, for people's safety, for the protection of my own surveillance team.  Do you think that Sherlock is dangerous?" The pain in his skull seems to be merging now with the pain in his jaw from the effort of saying this, of keeping some kind of control. "Did he...hurt you in any way? You have to tell me."

"And if he did, what would you do, Mycroft?" John's taut voice demands, and his fists are clenching now, the knuckles turning white. "Add a few extra notes to his file, work out a new training plan?"

"Rip his spine out and make him eat it!" Mycroft explodes. "Even if I need some bloody minions to help me do it!"

Something in John's face seems to crack open, and he starts giggling hysterically, which isn't fair, except Mycroft is suddenly half-crying with laughter as well. Because this is really not what almost being the British government is supposed to be like.

At last John's paroxysms die down, and he looks up shakily at Mycroft, his eyes suddenly sober. "If I told you it was all consensual, and almost all non-violent, would that be enough?"

"It ought to be, and I have no right to know anything more-"

"But if I don't tell you what happened, you're just going to imagine things, aren't you, have pictures in your head?"

Not just in my head, thought Mycroft, but he didn't say anything, just nodded.

"And besides," said John, smiling and shaking his head, "I have to explain what happened to someone, and you're probably the only person in the world who can understand exactly how having a gorgeous man with boundless energy desperately wanting to have sex with you could go so horribly, horribly wrong."

"The sex was bad, was it?" Mycroft says and then groans at the eagerness in his voice.

"The sex was wonderful at the start," John says, "And you're going to have to decide right now whether to hear the 'wonderful' or the 'at the start' in that sentence."

"What went wrong?"

"That's the right question. Sherlock was, is, rather more experienced than you'd realised, but like both of us, had never had a steady partner before. Well, maybe steady's not the right word. Someone he could experiment with, on. And he didn't find it easy to stop, put any limits on what he did."

There was a pause.

"He broke a lot of toys when he was young," Mycroft says at last. "Ones he really liked. He just couldn't stop trying to see what happened if you took things further, did things they weren't designed for."

"I always thought I was reasonably broad-minded," John replies, "but actually, I found my limits fairly soon. That I don't find pain sexy, or leather, or uniforms. That there are practical reasons why some positions are popular and some aren't, especially if you're not a contortionist. And, and Sherlock started getting bored. Because it was never really about me, it was about the sensations, the possession. Did you know that all along? That my only real appeal for Sherlock was that I had been yours?"

"Some of your appeal, yes, but it wasn't just that. He is capable of sharing now, even with me, except for something, someone he really values."

"He has a funny way of showing it. Mycroft, why is Sherlock the way he is?"

"Even if I knew, I'm not sure it would help. Does knowing 4000 years of history make you able to solve the problem of the Middle East? Sherlock gets bored easily, he craves novelty. That is a fact, you have to live with it."

"As is the fact that role-play with a would-be method actor is really not a good idea. And that Sherlock got pissed off because I wouldn't agree to a threesome..." John's voice drains away.

No, thinks Mycroft, no, no, no, no.

"Don't freak out! It didn't happen, I said 'no'."

"But he wanted it!"

"Not the way you think. Do you know who the threesome was going to be? X, Y and Z. Because it was all about bloody geometry for him, not actual people."

"I'm sorry," Mycroft says eventually.

"Not your fault."

"I saved Sherlock from drowning in 1981. It was probably a mistake."

"I'm sure it was the correct decision on utilitarian grounds," John says. "And if he'd drowned your mother would have been upset."

Mycroft nods. "So then," he says, because he suddenly knows what came next, "Sherlock got bored with sex at 221B and switched to more exciting locations."

"How much do you know?" John asks.

"Not much. And not what it was like for you, which is the only really important thing."

"Sherlock may not get embarrassed easily, but I do," John says, and Mycroft sees he's flexing his fingers in the way he does when he thinks his hand is about to start shaking.

"You can only feel embarrassed in the presence of people whose opinion you respect. Sherlock has occasionally been embarrassed in front of you."

"I suppose so," says John, "And I haven't got a criminal record yet, which I presume is down to you, and I never want to travel by Ryanair again anyhow. But it's not just the embarrassment, it was bloody uncomfortable. Sand on your skin, in your hair, everywhere, isn't enjoyable. And nor are thistles or brick walls. Clean sheets, hot water, dry clothes may be boring, but that doesn't stop me liking them. You spoiled me for pleasure, Mycroft, and it's been hard to give that up."

"Did he feed you peaches, John?"

"No, we didn't have time for things like that. We never had enough time. There was always somewhere else to go, something else to try. And, and I'm nearly forty, and I've never been quite the same since Afghanistan, and with this on top of the cases I couldn't keep up. I was getting tired, sick, picking up injuries."

Then at last, Mycroft dares to get up, go round the table, stand beside John, look at the mark on his neck.

"I'm no expert, but are love bites supposed to suppurate?"

"Sherlock's insistence on mouth pipetting, and his grossly inadequate standards of hygiene. It looks worse than it is."

Mycroft finally remembers what he should have realised long ago. John hadn't been leaving the warehouse fast enough, had he? Mycroft shouldn't have been able to catch him up.

"Is your leg hurt as well?" he asks.

"Right knee ligaments strained. Again, not serious, but it was the last straw, because Sherlock had seen something on a website..."

"Is there any permanent damage?"

"No. Except, I suppose you could count the tattoo." John unbuttons his left cuff, rolling up the sleeve. The slightly uneven letters across his inner arm read SHERL.

"Did he get bored with how long it was taking," Mycroft asks, "because it's a longer name than John?"

"No, he decided he didn't like the font style, and thought Times New Roman would look more stylish."

"I've got people who can remove that kind of thing," Mycroft says, reaching out and absent-mindedly tracing the line of the tattoo. "And the skin's not damaged." His brain belatedly catches up with his finger-tips. Oh help, he thinks, inappropriate fondling of a war hero again.

"Are you going to kiss my palms as well?" John asks, looking up at him, and it's not just a question, but an invitation.

"Of course," Mycroft says and then hesitates. "Except if I do, am I going to start my lip bleeding again?"

"Quite possibly, and blood isn't sexy. So hold out your hands, please, both of them, Mr Holmes, and I'll kiss you."

John swivels round in his chair and reaches up for Mycroft's hands, rather than standing up, which suggests his knee really is hurting him. His lips are gentle, barely brushing Mycroft's skin, but still finding every nerve end, and it's wonderful. And tomorrow he's going to have to get fruit - not peaches, not in season, have to be satsumas -  and they can eat them messily together, because that's sugar and vitamin C and thus surely OK for both of them. But now, now, this is all he wants.

"Your hands are shaking," John says eventually.

"I'm not a brave man."

"But a stupid one, maybe. Taking me back, after what I've done."

"After what I've done to you, John, I wonder you're back. After I pushed you away."

"Well if I ever start thinking about Sherlock's body again, hold me close, because it'll be a nightmare." John pauses. "There's no chance Sherlock will change his mind, is there?"

"What were his precise words?"

" 'I wouldn't have sex with you again, John, if you were the last man in the solar system'. I mean, obviously, there was a lot more than that, but that was the key sentence."

"He's... stubborn when he's made his mind up about something. I told you once about how my father tried to make him eat something and he wouldn't, didn't I?"

"Lettuce, fish, no, it was sausages, wasn't it? And he ended up in hospital. Yeah, that's stubborn."

"I didn't tell you the sequel. When he got back from hospital, he rooted around in the dustbin and found the sausages. And stuck them in some kind of preserving fluid-"

"And they're still in a specimen jar in the flat right now. I've never dared ask what they were, and I wish you hadn't told me." John pauses, and then asks, "Do you really not mind me staying there?"

"If you're still helping with the cases, you need to be on hand, and it means there's a vague chance of Sherlock getting a balanced diet. And frankly, the CIA will be happier if you're not officially based in Richmond. Though I'm not entering a bedroom in 221B unless I've been assured that it's been deep cleaned and that Sherlock is on a different continent."

"Are you sure it's OK that I'm involved with Sherlock at all?"

"He's my brother, if you're with me you can't avoid being involved with him in some way. It's the way things are, and we have to work with that. I'm sure there are times Mexico thinks it would be nice to relocate. And I, I pushed you into the relationship with Sherlock, after all, didn't I?"

"Yeah, I realised that eventually. Was it a mind-blowingly clever plan all along, or just complete self-sacrificing idiocy?"

"Pure idiotic utilitarianism."

"You've got to stop following Jeremy Bentham's advice on your love life," John says, sounding completely drunk on something that definitely wasn't the brandy. "Because he didn't know shit about sex."

"How can you be sure?"

"I've seen his mummified body at UCL and he clearly wasn't getting laid even when he was alive."

They both collapse into giggles again. God, I want to kiss him, Mycroft thinks, but he settles for stroking John's hair, as John leans his head against Mycroft's stomach.

"What now?" John says at last. "You're the organised one."

"I hate to spoil the atmosphere," Mycroft says, "But as always, the first question has to be, where is Sherlock and is he going to cause trouble?"

"I think he's still out experimenting."

"Chemicals or sex?"

"Sex. He's started working his way through the Pink Paper's listings. Comparative studies, I suppose."

"I'll put the surveillance teams on him tomorrow," Mycroft says. "For tonight, he's a big boy now and he can look after himself."

"And if he gets mugged in a toilet in Soho, that'd be tragic, wouldn't it?" says John with entirely inappropriate glee.

"It'd be a learning experience," says Mycroft blandly, "Sherlock needs those. But the first thing to do is to get you to a doctor, check you are really are OK, before we take things any further."

"I am a doctor," John says. "I brought supplies." Suddenly he's rummaging in his kitbag, dragging out objects: condoms, lubricant, a small case he opens that has a syringe inside.

"What's that?" Mycroft says warily.

"Local anaesthetic. Once I put it in my knee, I won't feel anything much for the next few hours. If that's what you want." John looks up at Mycroft calmly, awaiting his response.

He's been with Sherlock for far too long, hasn't he, Mycroft thinks, and he blurts out: "Why are you so stupidly bloody brave?"

"British army, I'm afraid. Just the way it is."

 "You came prepared, didn't you?" Mycroft says. "The brandy as well. You were coming to try and get me back, weren't you?"

"Nicest times I've ever had have been with you," John says simply. "As soon as I could see a way back, I came."

"You have a hopeless seduction technique, though, rushing off like that."

"I lost my nerve!" John almost wails. "The way you looked at me like I was a stray paper-clip. And I didn't know what to say."

"I do," says Mycroft, "and I'm also very easily seduced. So put away the syringe, because it may numb the pain now, but I'm sure it can't be good for you long-term. I'm a patient man, and I'm prepared to wait. The first thing, then, isn't a doctor, but some food and rest for you. And...I hate to mention this, John, but when did you last have a shower, or wash your hair?"

"I've been staking out the warehouse for days," John says, starting to blush.

"You are really, really hopeless at seduction, aren't you? But I'm not. So you will come back to Richmond and have a bath, and sleep for a week if you need it, and get yourself fit, while I sort out David and Nick and Ed and all the rest of them, and tell them to behave responsibly for a few days. And then I get Sherlock put in a police cell, or at least somewhere with no mobile phone signal. And then I come home, and cook us a meal, and we eat and talk, and go upstairs to my bedroom, and have boring, middle-aged, safe, comfortable, enjoyable sex. Because I am a man of conservative tastes and mundane is all I am good for."

"Mundane is good," says John, "mundane is wonderful." He pauses, and then asks: "Are you sure you're OK to wait?"

"We have all the time in the world. Well, half of all the time in the world, at least." Mycroft reaches down and carefully takes John's right hand, because the left one must still be sore after that punch. "Come with me, John, and let's grow old together."

Comments

( 27 comments — Leave a comment )
fengirl88
Nov. 7th, 2010 08:04 pm (UTC)
I was really hoping this might appear today and I'm delighted it did. really not easy to work things out between these two but every step was believable and right.

how sex went wrong with this particular Sherlock made complete sense. also that John is finally able to pursue happiness and healing rather than destruction (even if he is still going about it in a dangerous way). very glad to see Mycroft showing a bit of fight for once (about time!) and Jeremy Bentham being put in his place as a dispenser of advice on dating.
marysutherland
Nov. 8th, 2010 09:36 am (UTC)
Glad you liked the end result – I knew the overall shape of the outcome from the start, but it was hard getting the detail of the final scene right.

As for your wish for Mycroft showing more fight earlier, I did rig the Social Darwinism/Benthamite face-off in part 2 with malice aforethought so that he couldn't win at that point. What scuppers Mycroft finally isn't that Sherlock might kill himself, but his belief that John won't be able to cope with Sherlock's suicide, especially given the potential guilt and anger around the fact that that both he and Mycroft sometimes want Sherlock dead. So there's no other obvious option than the break-up, and even after it Mycroft can't make a move until either Sherlock's feelings or John's change, or the whole emotional blackmail routine may just start up again. Or can you think of a better tactic he could have used?
fengirl88
Nov. 8th, 2010 07:56 pm (UTC)
I really don't think it could have worked out differently from how it did - given what you'd set up it was quite a feat to make it work out at all! it occurred to me belatedly after part 3 of Sacrifices that Mycroft's agonizing attempts to behave well might leave John very little idea how M really felt about him - that J might think M didn't care that much or didn't feel J was worth fighting for. possibly even more so by comparison with S's emotional blackmail. so the "spine-ripping" outburst in this part felt right and necessary.
marysutherland
Nov. 9th, 2010 05:06 pm (UTC)
It was actually quite easy to set the end up, because like most of my plots, this got written and rewritten from several different points within the story. (Although I often post stories in several sections, I've almost always got the whole story written in draft before I post anything, because it's only in that way that I can get the whole thing tied together properly, and put in the connections that run through the story – I'd never have hacked it as one of these Victorian serial writers).

So, almost from the start, I had the idea of Sherlock getting bored in a sexual relationship with John (which was a theme I'd already played with in a different way in Experimentation). Once I'd stuck that together with Mycroft as middle-aged Romeo, and set up John as inexperienced with relationships, there's an obvious plot there about John's choice between Richmond and rooftops. I then just had to make the option of Mycroft look both appealing and different from Sherlock.

I'm glad you liked the spine ripping comment. I enjoyed making Mycroft lose his temper now and then, because you can get the nice contrast of his absolutely genuine reaction and his immediate consciousness of its inappropriateness. But it's only at that point that he finally says out loud that John means more to him than Sherlock does (having hashed that statement up in Sacrifices part 2, when he accidentally ends up warning John not to kill people). And again, Mycroft's being let down by his own good behaviour, because I deliberately set up him up as, for once, behaving scrupulously. So as soon as he realises John's emotionally messed up about sex, he is absolutely resolved not to manipulate him, that for once he's going to do things right. And while from the start he offers John everything (other than violence and toilets), he always also provides an escape route, from his first post-sex text onwards. Which is admirable, but does risk making him look less than fully committed to the relationship. (I don't think that's true, but some people are obviously reading it that way, which is interesting). Added to that the fact that he's not good at expressing his more passionate feelings (the Austen quote rewrites, the lurid dreams), and his own version of keeping cool under fire, and it's not surprising he ends up seeming a cold fish at crucial moments.

As for the better utilitarian response, I've finally worked it out. Mycroft should have got Sherlock locked up (secure mental ward or prison) for several years, while he and John got partnered, and only let him out when it was too late for him to interfere successfully. (The worrying thing about Mycroft is he could probably arrange that, and after all, there's surely a utilitarian argument to be made that a few years in an Algerian jail would benefit Sherlock, if only by curing his fussy eating habits once and for all). Unfortunately, John would object, and it would almost certainly involve misusing government property, so Mycroft is foiled again.
ginbitch
Nov. 7th, 2010 10:24 pm (UTC)
YAY!!!!

Normally, I'm a total J/S shipper but in this verse... let's just say you made an eloquent and persuasive case!

I loved this fic so much - I love the weirdness, the brokenness of them all and the ways in which John's sanity and self-preservation ultimately cuts through the crap. And lines like this are an absolute delight:

"The second Falklands War?"

"It didn't happen, so I shouldn't have mentioned it."

Wonderful, wonderful writing! Thank you!

<3 <3 <3
marysutherland
Nov. 8th, 2010 09:39 am (UTC)
Most of the weirdness and brokenness is there already in the scripts (although admittedly not my peculiar belief that a romantic end to a story is two rather grubby and battered men in a warehouse having hysterics over Jeremy Bentham). But Sherlock as adult-sized toddler, and John's contradictory urges towards the mundane and the dangerous, and the self-destructive possibilities of both of them, are all outlined in the TV series. And it was only while editing the emotional blackmail scene that it fully dawned on me that we know not just that John's been responsible for people's deaths, but that Sherlock has (Mr Hudson at minimum), and that Mycroft's almost certainly made decisions that have got people killed as well. They're all dangerous men in their different ways.

After this I'm largely back to S/J, which is my main focus too. I was inspired to try John/ Mycroft fic by Calicokat's Sexual Needs, but it took a bit of thought as to how to get Mycroft right. It was only when it dawned on me that he could be done as Sir Humphrey Appleby rather than Henry Kissinger, as a man who's manipulating others in order to prevent them doing really stupid things, that I could make him sympathetic. Especially given the possibility of Sir Humphrey being a closeted gay (as Nigel Hawthorne, who played him, was), and the peculiar embarrassment of being hopelessly in love and over 40...
ginbitch
Nov. 8th, 2010 10:54 am (UTC)
Absolutely to the danger! And to the brokenness. One of the things I love about the show is the way Sherlock's impatient disregard for convention tips over into ruthlessness, incomprehension and near-creulty. I say near-creulty because as a viewer,there is the sense that we know him better than that, but Donovans assessment is equally valid (as a great Donovan-centric fic pointed out this week).

I love the different varieties of Mycroft that are possible in this 'verse and Appleby is one of my favourites - Appleby but with black ops... But your representation of him suddenly, absurdly (to his mind), completely falling in love in middle age was one of the great joys of this fic for me. His 'sacrifice' of John makes sense in this context -the fear of looking foolish and unease feeding into the self-destruction. And it also makes such sense of the attraction - Mycroft is urbane but John is honest - with himself (ultimately) and others. In Mycroft's convoluted world of appearances that must be appealing. Your resolution works so well in drawing all this together - they don't have the idealism of young love or any illusions about the fact that it may be difficult, but ultimately they will be happiest together.

In short, bravo! And if Bentham is rotating in his cupboard at the idea that his dating advice might go awry, I'm sure the pragmatists are rejoicing!
et_cetera55
Nov. 8th, 2010 07:19 am (UTC)
Oh I'm so pleased that John came back to Mycroft but so sad this story is over. It has been wonderful throughout, most especially with the little throwaway lines like
while I sort out David and Nick and Ed and all the rest of them, and tell them to behave responsibly for a few days

An absolutely wonderful story
marysutherland
Nov. 8th, 2010 09:40 am (UTC)
Glad you enjoyed it, but I think I have to end it now. Having finally managed to get John and Mycroft back together, I'm not sure I could cope with any more attempts to separate them. As for the political side, someone, somewhere, at some point has to write about Mycroft encountering Sarah Palin, but my pen freezes in my hand at the prospect.
theatervine
Nov. 23rd, 2010 01:22 am (UTC)
This is wonderful and well written and brutal and very, very upsetting but I'm glad they got a somewhat happy ending.
marysutherland
Nov. 23rd, 2010 01:54 pm (UTC)
Glad you enjoyed it, or some of it (I did deliberately put in the extreme angst warnings on some parts). But I think Mycroft and John's prospects together are good now that the menace that is Sherlock has been diverted.
theatervine
Nov. 25th, 2010 05:47 am (UTC)
Hee, the menace that is Sherlock. While I adore him that sounds about right!
And I enjoyed all of it, I like my fics layered.
ungalad
Nov. 27th, 2010 01:10 am (UTC)
OH YES! Happy ending! :D I loved it. This fic (the 3 of them together, that is) is a bit melodramatic--two brothers fighting for the same guy, one of them truly loves him and the other is just a brat and a villain. And after much angst we get our happy ending! :3 I loved it, really, because you made it amazing and very enjoyable. You used the characters and developed them in a way that was believable for the story, while keeping them IC (canon-wise) and coherent. It was wonderful. It made me squee with glee and nearly cry. Your style is great, you chose the words and expressions well, and all this babbling of mine is to try to explain why I liked it and enjoyed it so, so, so much. Great fic, definitely one of my favorites in this fandom. Thanks for sharing! ♥
marysutherland
Nov. 27th, 2010 11:37 am (UTC)
I'm glad you enjoyed it - it was fun, if sometimes rather painful fun to write. As Moffat and Gatiss show, you can get an awful lot of mileage out of repressed Englishmen put in melodramatic situations, and left emotionally tangled as they try to stick to their own codes of conduct. Because, yes, Mycroft could run off with John (or get Sherlock locked up in an Algerian jail), but he wouldn't still be Mycroft if he did, just as John can't let a friend kill himself, if there's any way he can stop it.

But I'm happy I didn't lead you to damage your computer in the end!
ungalad
Nov. 27th, 2010 05:56 pm (UTC)
Repressed Englishmen? Why do I find that so interesting and exciting? xD It must be my inner Austen, heh. But yes, it could've not happened any other way, neither of them would've done anything that could potentially harm Sherlock, and that's why the bastard took advantage. x( Not so repressed, that one, uh? Ah seriously, what a great, great fic. :D I think I'll go re-read my favourite parts!
ungalad
Nov. 27th, 2010 05:56 pm (UTC)
Repressed Englishmen? Why do I find that so interesting and exciting? xD It must be my inner Austen, heh. But yes, it could've not happened any other way, neither of them would've done anything that could potentially harm Sherlock, and that's why the bastard took advantage. x( Not so repressed, that one, uh? Ah seriously, what a great, great fic. :D I think I'll go re-read my favourite parts!
darthhellokitty
Nov. 27th, 2010 09:38 am (UTC)
Oh - thank god Mycroft and John are finally together - but at such a cost to the three of them. The two of them deserve each other, in the very best sense.

I love this story, and the way you write the characters and their motivations - all well within canon, and believable.

John's reason for Sherlock breaking up with him - and the fact that John wouldn't leave him despite what was going on between them - is awful and heartbreaking. However, I have to admit that I giggled a little at the problem with the font.

I wish it *weren't* so easy for me to see this version of Sherlock, basically a complete selfish bastard, dangerous because he is such a very shiny one - I'm going to have to go read someone else's happy J/S fluff someplace before I go to bed so I can remember this isn't definitive, if that makes sense!

This has been a fantastic series, and it's kept me utterly rapt for hours despite cats fighting in my lap, my husband's playing a loud zombie game on his iPad beside me, and just me being hungry for the last hour or so!
marysutherland
Nov. 27th, 2010 12:01 pm (UTC)
I'm so pleased I managed to suck you in and disrupt your life, because other people need to be as hypnotised by Sherlock fanfic as I currently am.

I play round with all kinds of variant characters for John and Sherlock and Mycroft in my fics, so there are several other Sherlocks if you prefer. I've not written much fluff so far (and any fluff with Sherlock in gets somewhat peculiar), but Experimentation is probably the fluffiest I've done, while running with the same idea of Sherlock getting bored with ordinary sex. And there's a certain touching weirdness I find in him in R v Holmes, where he gets into trouble for discussing bats. I even get Sherlock quite sympathetic in Impure genius, though that is horrendously long.

I think John in this fic is quite emotionally vulnerable, especially given his tendency to feel that once he's made a commitment, he mustn't back down on it. The Charge of the Light Brigade is not actually a good model for relationships. But I think Mycroft will look after John properly now, and as a team they may be able to control Sherlock's behaviour a little more effectively (or jointly decide that he can face the consequences of his own actions rather more often).
darthhellokitty
Nov. 27th, 2010 06:49 pm (UTC)
One of the things I love in this fandom is that there are so many plausible versions of Sherlock! I've read Experimentation, but I'm going to have to go look at the others. Thank god I'm unemployed (this is the single benefit of it - that I can read so much).

Yes, I was thinking of The Charge of the Light Brigade. Which is a terrible model for relationships! XD John's going to have to read some more Jane Austen, which I hope the general atmosphere of his life will more closely resemble, with Mycroft looking after him.
warriorbot
Dec. 8th, 2010 03:45 pm (UTC)
'"My fault. I'm rather out of practice with jokes."

'For that statement alone, Mycroft wants to rip Sherlock's spine out and make him eat it,'

You actually made me actually cry - you know that? Not wibble - actually full on, viscerally cry. And then again at Mycroft's reaction to John offering to Novocaine himself so they can have sex.

It's all so exquisitely observed, and the characters are so utterly alive. Which is how you broke my heart and why I love it anyway...
tiwtin
Dec. 19th, 2010 12:09 am (UTC)
This was astonishingly awesome,and I'm now intrigued as to your other writing...
marysutherland
Dec. 19th, 2010 08:47 pm (UTC)
Glad you enjoyed it. There is a brief fluffy sequel to Sacrifices here, otherwise it's largely Sherlock/John stuff, although this week I am mostly writing femslash.
shezan
Jan. 7th, 2011 03:54 am (UTC)
I wouldn't have thought I'd like a fic in which Sherlock is actively malevolent - in this terrifyingly believable selfish child incarnation - but this is absolutely LOVELY, and the restrained way you portray Mycroft's grief is heartbreaking. I plan now to read EVERYTHING by you I can get my grubby paws on.
marysutherland
Jan. 7th, 2011 08:41 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you enjoyed it (if enjoy is the right word). I haven't done much Mycroft stuff, but all of the fanfic I've done is accessible via this journal, and there's a lot more angst and jokes in those (though not much explicit sex).
opusnone
Mar. 29th, 2011 10:49 pm (UTC)
Fascinating, and fascinatingly well written, series. I was particularly captivated by your portrayal of Mycroft and the manner in which he sacrifices and carries on.
marysutherland
Mar. 30th, 2011 09:12 pm (UTC)
Glad you enjoyed it. I am currently working on a different Mycroft/John fic, though not quite so traumatic.
zauzat
Feb. 6th, 2012 07:34 am (UTC)
Very enjoyable and a fascinating take on each of the characters.
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