over his forehead in a messy cascade of curls, and his pale skin had become somewhat
blotchy from the lack of proper circulation. The garment‟s uncomfortable warmth had
created a thin layer of sweat across his face and neck. Dark circles of sleeplessness lay below his heavy-lidded eyes. Mycroft stopped walking and stood several feet away from him. He blinked.
“Sherlock,” he said in a soft yet stern voice. “At no point will I tolerate the
insinuation that you killed a man on my orders, or even at my suggestion. This was by
your hand and your hand only, and I had no connection to that action. I won‟t stand for it. I will not.”
“Oh, come now. I didn‟t kill a
,” Sherlock corrected him. The energetic tone of his brother„s voice, so different than the monosyllab
empty voice which he‟d used since being taken into custody, gave Mycroft mild relief, and he let his tense facial expression relaxed a bit. By contrast, Sherlock„s face took on
an angrier, more determined look.
“I killed the lowest life form that this planet has to offer,” he corrected him. “I
took the life of a creature that used a mind greater than my own to corrupt and to kill, using nothing more than rumor and suspicion. Charles Augustus Magnussen will cause no more harm now. And yes, you are off the hook. What I did, I did of my own free
will.” Sherlock let out a slight chuckle. “There. That should be enough of a legal statement to include in my case. I do hope you write it down on my behalf.” He squirmed slightly. “I‟d do it for you, but I‟m a bit engaged at the moment.”
Mycroft gave a sharp shake of his head. “You have crossed a line. This is no
time to be funny. Can you, for one moment, recognize the serious consequences of your
“If anything, I could use a good joke right about now.” Sherlock sighed. “You speak as if I don‟t fully understand the nature of my crime,” he admonished his brother. “I do. In fact, I have sacrificed everything that I have ever worked for, every
relationship that I have ever engaged myself in, and all that I was taught about right and wrong. All to do what had to be done, and what no one else had the reserve to do. Not
even you.” He paused, then glared at Mycroft with flat gray eyes and suddenly leaned
forward with a jerk.
he hissed in a loud, vicious manner, his mouth an ugly,
downturned slash. It took all of Mycroft‟s reserve not to flinch as Sherlock fell his knees
on the floor, narrowing the distance between the two of them. But they did not touch. The word echoed cruelly off the harsh walls of the cell, and then silence
descended on the room. Mycroft shuddered again in a delayed reaction. Sherlock‟s
face cleared, to be replaced by an expression of satisfaction as he struggled to regain his seat.
“You felt fear there, didn‟t you?” he inquired.
“I did,” Mycroft replied with obvious discomfort. “Perhaps you can try and stop believing the cruel rumors of others, then. You are
not without emotion. This latest event with Magnussen should have proved that quite soundly.
I would be dead now, had you not given the order not to shoot.”
He drew one unsteady hand across his forehead and cleared his throat. “You