Title: Bread and Circuses
Fandom: BBC Sherlock
Characters: Mycroft, 'Anthea', gen
Word count: 800
A/N: Written for sherlockbbc's Summer 2012 Commfest. My giftee asked for a humourous outing to the 2012 London Olympics. Title is a reference to Juvenal's Tenth Satire: "The People who once upon a time handed out military command, high civil office, legions - everything, now restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things: bread and circuses." Originally posted here.
Summary: In which Sherlock goes undercover at the Olympics and the British government runs interference.
Mycroft approved of efficiency. When one was the prime mover behind the British government, one required an efficient system to ensure that the complex apparatus of ruling functioned smoothly, unhampered by the rather bombastic attempts of various politicians and bureaucrats to muddy the waters with their misguided belief that they knew what was best for the country.
The London 2012 Olympics meant many things for England, not the least of which was the logistical nightmare of preparing, executing and turning a profit from the games. Not even Mycroft could ensure that an event of such scale came off without a hitch but his system was more than adequate for dealing with the occasional spanner in the works.
Nine days into the festivities, Mycroft was pleased to see that, aside from that dreadful gaff with the Korean flags and the expected allegations of cheating and steroid usage, things were proceeding well within tolerable parameters. Which meant that it was an unfortunate, but generally unsurprising, turn of events that Sherlock decided to get himself involved.
After all, he did make such an excellent spanner.
Mycroft's afternoon was interrupted by a knock on his office door. An unscheduled visitor was generally a sign of trouble needing to be managed, so Mycroft set aside his work and sat back in his chair.
"Enter," he said and his assistant appeared in the doorway with a folder tucked under one arm and her Blackberry conspicuously absent.
"Sir," she said as she approached. "We've had reports that your brother has been spotted in the competitors' section of the North Greenwich Arena, disguised as an English athlete."
Of course they had. Mycroft set down his teacup with a tidy little clink. "For a private client, presumably? I should hate to think that the Yard is involving itself in government matters."
His assistant nodded. "A Miss Janet Parr enlisted his services in regards to an embezzlement case." She set the folder with the relevant information on the immaculate surface of Mycroft's desk.
Mycroft nodded his thanks for her thoroughness and made no move to look at the file. He would peruse it later, but there was no need to do so at present; rechecking Sherlock's conclusions would be redundant in the extreme and Mycroft had no patience for redundancy. "His target?"
His assistant told him and it was the work of a matter of moments to connect the name to one of the athletes competing in the male pommel horse later today. Not an Englishman, sadly, which made things rather more complicated.
Mycroft did not sigh. He'd given up sighing over Sherlock's antics the third time Sherlock had been evicted from a flat for setting it temporarily on fire; Sherlock really was inordinately fond of taking the path of most resistance.
"How unfortunate. And where is Doctor Watson in all of this?"
"Posing as an on-site physical therapist."
Mycroft felt the uncommon urge to chuckle at that. How like both Sherlock and John to have secured such a position for his cover. No doubt the good doctor was actually treating people while he awaited Sherlock's signal; his pathological need to be useful really was quite remarkable.
"Well," Mycroft said, with a thin smile that all of those under his employ were well acquainted with. "Let's keep the pair of them from causing an international incident, shall we? Detain Sherlock while our embezzler is waiting his turn to compete," he ordered. "Let him perform, but alter the judges' scores if need be to keep him out of the top three; we can't have him making it to the podium. Sherlock can indulge in his love of theatrical justice out of the public eye."
His assistant was already on her mobile, tapping out instructions that his people would be carrying out even as Mycroft spoke. Mycroft expected no less.
"Have a team on hand to deal with the extraction to get them off-site, I don't care how much Sherlock complains. Keep me up to date with both Sherlock and Doctor Watson's movements."
"Understood." She glanced up from her mobile. "Anything else?"
"Yes." Mycroft tapped his chin thoughtfully, considering the best option. "Send two Olympic t-shirts in the appropriate sizes to 221B Baker Street, along with a check made payable to Doctor Watson for his work today with the emergency medical services. One should always reward service to the crown."
She nodded. "Yes, sir."
Her heels clicked across the floor as she left and Mycroft allowed himself a rare thirty seconds after the door shut behind her to be quietly amused by the whole situation. Then he picked up his cooling cup of tea, took a welcome sip and returned his attention to the small matter of the upcoming Montenegro elections. The whole process would be so dreadfully inefficient without him.