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sherlock, mylock

Fic; Power Play (Mycroft vs Lady Smallwood)

Posted on 2014.04.26 at 16:19
Tags: , ,
Title: Power Play (Mycroft vs Lady Smallwood)
Characters: Mycroft, Sherlock, Lady Smallwood, Magnussen
Word Count: 1988
Summary: Episode coda for 3x03: His Last Vow. A power play.

Mycroft has been acquaintances with Lady Smallwood for decades, rivals when they were younger and allies for the past decade or so. More recently however, it has come to his attention that she’s trying to usurp his position. She has been making alliances to this end. Said alliances gave her away with a twist of a fork and twitch of a brow. He doesn’t take it personally; anyone ambitious must after all try at some point. And many do, Mycroft always ensures they fail.

Usually having people whisked away involved nothing more than a few careful machinations on his part, but this was a more delicate matter. Lady Smallwood was powerful, a most worthy adversary.

(Mycroft had thought Magnussen was smart enough to not go after anyone important. Looking over the CCTV footage of John in the Bonfire it’s clear he was wrong. He knows this is Magnussen trying to get to him. For years everyone had thought Mycroft immune to weakness. Serbia changed that. Of course Mycroft made sure as few people as possible found out that Sherlock was his one weakness. Unfortunately Magnussen had been one of the few. Now Magnussen needed to be shown what a mistake he’s made in coming after Mycroft Holmes. Perhaps he’ll start with an inquiry. Shame really, the man had his uses.)

Mycroft and Lady Smallwood sit opposite each other in a small private lounge in the Diogenes. It’s neutral territory and a regular occurrence for them. A mahogany coffee table laden with bone-china tea-cups and saucers lies between them. 

“I see I’ve been placed in charge of the Magnussen inquiry?” Lady Smallwood remarks faux casually, lifting her cup to her lips.

“Yes, I do hope there’s no problem?” Mycroft replies, not affecting false cluelessness but politely all the same.

“I suppose he will attempt to sway my decision using blackmail.”

“I expect so. Which is why I thought you best suited to the role, as I’m certain a woman of your virtue has no secrets which could cause you to compromise your position,” Mycroft states with utmost diplomacy, finally lifting his own cup of tea from the table.

“Of course.”

(Lady Smallwood had known her appointment to lead the committee, with the intent of landing her in this mess, was purposeful on Mycroft’s part. She knew the risks of moving against Mycroft and would bear this retaliation as best she could. She knew if she capitulated to Magnussen, Mycroft would ensure her corruption became public. She somehow hadn’t realised how bad it would be. Magnussen was such a vile creature: no one could take him down. She paused, the thought reconstructing itself in her mind: no one could take Magnussen down, perhaps not even Mycroft Holmes’ little brother.)

“Have a seat,” Sherlock says, gesturing to the client chair magnanimously.

The client’s lucky he hasn’t thrown her out already. He abhors when people try to hire him because he’s Mycroft’s little brother, and not because he’s Sherlock Holmes, genius detective. But he has already deduced this will be important, and he isn’t entirely uncaring for his brother’s wellbeing.

Sherlock takes his own seat, peering at her; he states simply, “Tell me what happened this evening.”

Her answer is delivered without a blink or pause of surprise, “I’m being blackmailed by Charles Augustus Magnussen. I require your services to resolve the issue.”

“And what is the nature of the blackmail?”

“My husband has in the past had some indiscretions with a young girl. I would like you to retrieve the letters between them which Magnussen has in his possession.”

“Yes, but that’s not all is it.” He knows it’s all part of a much bigger picture but doesn’t reveal it. He has been investigating John’s kidnapping and has his suspicions. This case is just the opportunity to make his move. Sherlock knows he has to convince Magnussen that he’s Mycroft’s pressure point without being obvious; if the focus is on himself then he can control the situation. He needs to be in the spotlight, at the centre of the action, that’s the most fun and useful (and if it’s better for John and Mycroft that way that’s just an added bonus).

“It does seem time that someone took him down. No one else seems to want the job.”

“I’ll take the case.”

(Mycroft doesn’t admit how much it means to him, this renewed camaraderie that brewed amidst them working together to take down Moriarty. So when Sherlock mentions Mycroft finding someone, mentions being gone for two years, he stands to supress the ridiculous sentimentality that ensues. The ache at the thought that Sherlock has been away from him for so much longer than two years, the joy that he has now returned, the relish that suddenly Sherlock cares for his loneliness; cares for him. Finally, the only person who has ever mattered, has allowed him home. He curses the stupid sentimentality. 

So when he gets the call from John, telling him about the drugs, the immediate feeling running through him is a rush of white-hot fiery agony. He doesn’t show it of course, merely makes his way to Baker street, maintaining a blank face. Determinedly not weighing the many possible outcomes, not considering how this was what tore them apart before; that Sherlock’s resentment of his brother’s attempts to save him had caused the chasm that had only just mended. The broken lonely part of Mycroft wanted to leave well enough alone, let Sherlock be and allow their newly rekindled relationship to remain intact. But no matter how much he wants to, he can’t do it, he will always save Sherlock: it’s all he could ever do. He will do what needs to be done and will destroy what he has just gotten back in the process. Caring is most definitely not an advantage.


As soon as the name is mentioned, it all swiftly lies out in front of him, smooth lines, not collaged chaos like his brother’s thought processes. Mycroft didn’t know it was possible to feel such a wealth of relief and terror simultaneously. Sherlock’s recent dalliances had actually been, at least in part, for a case (Lady Smallwood’s he deduced. Of course she would retaliate in this manner; it was a serious misstep to think she knew nothing of his weakness). There would be no need to put him away again. (Sherlock using the drugs to create a fake pressure point on himself for Magnussen to exploit is the obvious answer, so it’s not that. No, this is about convincing Magnussen of Mycroft’s pressure point being his junkie little brother.) On the other hand, Magnussen was not someone he wanted his brother (his reckless, impulsive baby brother with little survival instinct when it came to running headfirst into danger) messing with. Even though logically he knows Sherlock is already involved anyway, this is so much worse.

Charles Augustus Magnussen. )

They have tea in the private lounge as usual.

“I do hope my hiring your brother hasn’t caused any inconvenience, I know how you care for him so,” Lady Smallwood states, no hint of mockery showing in her voice. 

“Of course not,” Mycroft’s tone lacks any tenseness, he is calm and in control, as always. The jibe may be of a more personal nature, but staying indifferent whilst up against someone he would very much like to shoot is part of his daily milieu.

“Good, I’m pleased.”

“I have merely been doing my duty to him as an elder brother.”

“Yes, and knowing you, like most have, I too assumed it was just that, duty.”

“May I ask what caused you to change your mind?” Mycroft inquires, already knowing the answer.




“I was a tad rash with that unfortunate situation wasn’t I.”

“Just a tad. The most powerful man in the country running off to do undercover grunt work in the middle of nowhere. People talk.”

“No one is talking.”

“Because they know they would end up working in Serbia.”

“Never,” Mycroft answers faux-dramatically, continuing, “I wouldn’t pass up on the opportunity to send them to Alaska merely for poetry.”   

(Mycroft only hears of the shooting after his brother has already been stabilised (the tardiness of information will have consequences for someone) but his deep concern and upset are somewhat mitigated by the knowledge that Sherlock is recovering well. He still curses his brother’s involvement in the whole Magnussen affair. Sherlock’s his unique weakness and he’s resigned to the idea that the reverse isn’t true. Therefore upon hearing that Sherlock has escaped the hospital, he knows there’s only one logical conclusion to be drawn. He makes a mental note to have words with Mary. As his brother seems so keen to protect her, he will let her be. But he does intend to impress on her that people do not simply shoot Sherlock Holmes, that she will be allowed to continue her quaint little life but only because Mycroft grants her leave to do so.)

“Condolences. I am truly sorry for your loss,” Mycroft says with complete sincerity. 

“Thank you.”

“If there’s anything at all you need, you will let me know.”

“Yes. One thing, I do find it curious that Magnussen leaked the story on my husband, especially as the inquiry is currently on hold and the report is still pending.”

“I agree it is unlike him to be so rash when the material could still be of use to him. But I know of no one else who could’ve let slip as it were.”

“I know of one. But of course you would never take such a crude action would you?”

“My mind would have to forgo all rationale and order. And we both know how unlikely that is.”

“Rare indeed.”

“Though I must confess to a mild bout of temporary senselessness after my brother was shot, only a momentary lapse, but loved ones do sometimes provoke undesirable reactions don’t they?”

(Mycroft’s estimation of Magnussen’s intellect has lowered massively. The lack of redundancy in his system makes him wonder how the man survived this long. And only an idiot would dismiss the notion that Sherlock might shoot him when Mycroft (Sherlock’s brother and a man who has known him his entire life) is the one implying he would. The shot rings loud through the darkness. Mycroft’s entire being fills with cold. Clamping down on the terror echoing through him as much as he can, he loudly issues the command that needs to be given. His mind automatically calculating twenty steps ahead in all possible outcomes. For the first time in an age a wracking sob wrenches from his throat. He knows they’re both doomed.)

“Are you ready for the meeting this afternoon?” Lady Smallwood asks.

“Yes. I see you have managed to become head of this committee too.”

“Well, this isn’t just any meeting.”


“You are already aware of your options.”

“Yes, very aware.”

“Have you come to a decision?” 

“Yes. I will let you take my place. And you will do as I ask with regards to Sherlock.”

“Agreed. I’m so pleased this all worked out.”

(“There is no prison in which we could incarcerate Sherlock without causing a riot on a daily basis. The alternative however,” Mycroft says, turning towards Lady Smallwood before continuing, “would require your approval.”
“Hardly merciful, Mr Holmes,” Lady Smallwood says, as though it wasn’t her machinations that brought this.
“Regrettably Lady Smallwood, my brother is a murderer.” He does not let on that he’s upset with her; he would never be so crude in his intents; that does tend to scupper plans.)

Mycroft picks up his ringing phone, “Hello Lady Smallwood.”

“It seems Moriarty is back.”

“Hmm. It seems we will need Sherlock here after all.”

“How convenient.”

“Indeed. I’m not quite done with this battle yet.”

“Of course Mycroft, I knew when I took your position that the war was only just beginning.”

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