So I have decided to add more Anthea and Mycroft friendship pieces to this work, and it should stay complete, as each chapter stands on its own, but I may continue to add to it.
Incompetent: Burning Out
Summary: After Sherlock is found unconscious on the floor with a large bruise on the back of his head, Mycroft blames his lack of security for the problem and begins to take out his rage on his employees. What can his PA do to calm this raging fire?
EDIT: Some spelling mistakes fixed. Thank you for pointing them out CaringIsNotAnAdvantage.
Disclaimer: I still don't own Sherlock.
"Which of you incompetent individuals placed the cameras in my brother's flat?" Mycroft asked, voice dangerously monotone. The line of people in front of him stood as still as statues, as though praying not to be the focus of his attention.
"We all did, sir." One spoke from the lines.
"How could you fail so miserably that he found all of them in 48 hours? As a result of your stupidity, he is now in the hospital unconscious with a bruise on the back of his head no indication as to who acted." His voice was bordering a snarl and the men in front of him, who had carried out his orders and were highly aware of what happened to those not in his favor, radiated fear.
"Sir, there is someone here to see you." His PA stood in the doorway. While everyone else was speaking in low, apologetic tones, hers remained neutral, with her natural inflection and the business orientation that her job demanded.
"Reschedule." He barked sharply, turning back to the fools who had failed him.
"Sir, it's important. He is in the back interview room, and could have information about Sherlock." She used the magic word, and he stalked out toward the room in the back with no cameras, no microphones, no one way mirror, and no evidence it officially existed.
His PA tripped into him as she turned to follow, likely just as nervous as the rest of them at their failure, his mind reasoned, because she was not usually clumsy.
She flashed her card in front of the lock, holding the door open for him to enter. As it swung shut, he noticed there was no one in the room but the pair of them.
"I don't know what you are trying to do here, but lying to me will not be tolerated." He glared at his PA, who in turn glared straight back.
"This, Mr Holmes, is an intervention." She answered, "Lying was necessary only to get you here."
"This is pointless. Consider yourself on probation for pulling me away from important business." He turned to leave, reaching for his ID card to unlock the door and let himself out. He frowned as he patted his pocket. It had been there as he left the room. He had felt it press into him when his klutzy PA had run into him.
He spun around, and in his eyes were oceans of anger. "You took my ID."
"Borrowed." She replied calmly, though Mycroft could see fear in her stance.
"Let me out." He commanded.
"Sir, you aren't thinking properly. If you were, you would have noticed the absence of your key card. You would have found it entirely odd that when everyone else is doing their best to stay an umbrella's length away, I ran into you." Her tone did not chide, mock, demean or in any way attempt to antagonize the angry and powerful man. She was incredibly aware that she had locked herself in a box with a raging fire; a man searching for someone to blame and destroy for the harm done to his beloved brother.
"Of course I'm not thinking properly, my brother was just attacked and I am surrounded by incompetent imbeciles who are doing nothing to repair the situation." His hands tightened into fists.
As a man who fought most of his wars with words, he had not often hit people, unless it was self-defense or exigent circumstances, and more frequently used the concealed weapon in his umbrella in those cases. That being said, he could still put force behind his fists and the fact that his controlled demeanor had become angry enough to form fists showed his PA that the fire she was dealing with could not be contained. All she could do was let it burn itself out.
"I'm so sorry for your brother, sir. How exactly did he get hurt?" She asked, though she had reported details herself, but needed to establish his views in order to determine how to handle the situation. How did he see the injury of his brother? She edged around the room to put more distance between her and the inferno.
"He lost consciousness because someone failed to do what they are paid a significant of money to do." His inflection changed as though he was talking to a child who was asking the same question over and over.
His PA nodded in agreement, "So, who didn't do what they were supposed to?" She asked, maintaining her innocent tone.
"If you give me back my card, I will go find out." Mycroft replied.
"No, Mr Holmes. This was a much bigger oversight than any of the people in your main conference room have control over."
"Oh really," Mycroft scoffed, "And how did you of all people figure that out?"
She did not let his words hurt her. He was angry, and though he would likely never say it out loud, he was scared. At this point, he would say whatever he had to in order to leave this room and end this confrontation which would force reason into his perspective. "Sir, the people in your conference room are those who set up security for your brother."
"And his lack of security is the problem." Mycroft cut her off.
She agreed with his word. "Precisely. His lack of security was the problem. His security was down for 14 hours. Those individuals who set up the security sent word that it had gone out, but could do nothing without the pieces and orders to act. So, if the fault is in security, it is someone higher up on your staff." She used the only language he spoke right now, reasoning, to begin to guide him toward a conclusion she hoped would resolve in a different conclusion; one that actually applied.
As he said nothing, indicating his agreement more than anything, his PA continued, "Sir, is there someone on your staff who is responsible for managing your personal life and connections? Someone who you pay to run your life from the shadows, always watching and working to run his life in the background?"
His eyes narrowed in annoyance. She knew he could see where she was going.
"If security is the problem, than that person is the incompetent individual and should be the one who receives your wrath; not those people out there." Her shoulders squared as she prepared for the worst. "I believe I am that individual. Go ahead. I made the security mistake. Do what you think ought to be done."
Mycroft's tense fists relaxed, and with them, so did his PA. "You aren't the problem. It has to be one of them out there. They are the ones who are incompetent and did not do their jobs. They are the ones who didn't do what they ought to."
She watched as began to get himself riled up with misallocated anger, again. She could see from the tenseness of his posture and the furrowing of his brow that this line of reasoning was not going to work for her employer. He was trapped in the loop that he had already established, the loop that connected Sherlock's injuries to the people in the conference room. To get him out of that loop and functioning again, he would need to be pushed and forced to recognize the other emotions at play.
"I'm sorry, sir." She apologized before crossing the room and smacking him across the face, "Use that brain of yours Mycroft Holmes. You believe it was not my fault, yet you must acknowledge that if the fault was security it was mine; not anyone else. What you refuse to consider is that the fault is not your own but the fault of your brilliant but unoccupied brother."
He looked stunned at her forward manor, but she knew this was the only opportunity to save the jobs of her capable team. Her voice dropped, a soft apologetic tone taking its place, "Your brother is a grown man. You can protect him from as much as possible, but he will make his own decisions and you cannot protect him from himself."
The caring brother's mask of anger fell away, revealing a scared man who feared for his brother. "He's in the hospital, and I don't even know what happened. I'm one of the most powerful men in this country, and I couldn't even protect my own brother."
"Even if you were the most powerful man in the world, Sherlock would still find a way to cause harm. That's the way he is." The PA answered, gently rubbing his shoulder, the maximum comfort she could ever provide to her employer and friend.
She watched as the man pulled himself together, wrapping and compartmentalizing his emotions until they were stored away; lost behind walls and years of practice, left to gather dust as she doubted he ever would attempt to open the boxes of pain he concealed.
Her hand dropped to her side and she handed back the ID card of her employer who straightened his tie and smoothed his suit jacket, "You are right, as usual. I should not keep you from your job, which is to find out what happened to my brother. Let me know as soon as there are any developments."
"Sir, there is one development." The PA replied, professional tone reestablished.
Mycroft raised his eyebrows expectantly.
"Your brother is unconscious with a bruise on the back of his head. There appears to be a correlation, however there is one other detail not widely noticed. There is a needle mark. I believe he injected himself with a compound and didn't anticipate it's strong effects, thus the bruise on the back of his head resulted from his collapse to the ground. This has not been confirmed by a doctor yet, but I know from personal experience that having a needle mark as clean as the one inside his arm is difficult to leave if the drugs are inserted by force." She answered. She had not told him this earlier because it was still unknown, but to ensure his reasoning would stay intact, she told him now.
Mycroft sighed, forced to stay in the bounds of the reasoning already presented to him, "So it's likely he did this to himself."
"Yes, Mr Holmes."
"What am I going to do with him?" Mycroft groaned, "I suppose keeping him in here is out of the question." His use of rare humor told his PA he was mostly back to his normal self, and the rest would take time after the trauma of his brother's unexpected injury.
"That could be advantageous to keeping him safe, sir." She replied, a hint of sarcasm in her voice.
They exited the room that didn't exist, leaving the emotions and pain behind. Mycroft left, control intact once again, and his PA exited with her job and the jobs of her employees. The only indication of the change was a slight puffiness on Mycroft's cheek, left by the woman who did what she had to in order to burn the fire out.
Mycroft did not return to the conference room, but went to his office where he worked on what he should have done that morning.
His phone buzzed and on it was a text.
Sherlock awake and on his feet, confirmed my diagnosis, and is leaving, likely to do something similar and end up here next week. You can protect him from many things, but not himself.
He tapped out a reply I can always try.
And you always will. Just be sure you don't let him destroy you.
Mycroft frowned. She was probably right, as usual. There was a fine line between loving his brother and destroying his life by responding to the whims and risks that his brother took. This was the line that Mycroft clung to, and he could only hope that he could stay on it without falling to his destruction. When it came to his brother, he could just as easily throw himself off the cliff as stand on its border. What was to keep him maintain his stance?
How? He replied.
I won't let him destroy you.
He felt relief at her answer. She would keep him on that line and pull him away if he tried to throw himself into the brink. It was neither an easy nor safe job, but he was happy he had someone to do it, and could only hope Sherlock would find someone willing to keep him grounded someday.
A/N: I hope you enjoyed this. Thank you CaringIsNotAnAdvantage for editing. Review if you want to make my day. :)