He would always see him as a child. No matter how old he got he would always be a child. Sherlock would always be a little brother to Mycroft. A small crying child outside his bedroom door. Mycroft remembered sitting on his bedroom floor, surrounded by exercise books and text books. Eaton wasn't exactly a school where you could afford to get bad grades. That also meant that he no longer had time to play with his little brother. Mycroft didn't find himself caring. His Mother did though. The older boy knew this. Sherlock was the complete opposite of sociable. He had no friends and barely spoke to anyone at his school. The only friend that he had was Redbeard. Even the dog was sitting in Mycroft's room. Occasionally the 15 year old would reach out and run a hand through the soft familiar fur.
That was when he heard the knock on the door. It was a hesitant knock. Mycroft Holmes wasn't stupid. He was the complete opposite. The hesitance in the knock told him that it wasn't one of his parents. Hesitance meant reluctance. Which could only mean one thing at this time. The following voice proved him right.
"Mycroft?" The voice echoed around most of the room, despite the fact that it was spoken through wood. Mycroft heaved out an annoyed and slightly forced sigh. "What Sherlock?" He quipped, not looking up from his files. At the name of the other boy, Redbeard's ears pricked up in hope. When the older son made no move to open the door the dog groaned, resting his head back on his front paws. "C-Can you come and play with me? Father said he was busy."
"So am I." Mycroft muttered, turning the page in his book as he went to sit on his bed, taking slight comfort when his dog licked his hand. The voice was quiet. Sherlock was clearly listening to the lapping sound. "Redbeard's in there with you isn't he?"
"No." Mycroft muttered instantly. Intelligent little sod. "Go away Sherlock. You're stupid."
"Mummy says I'm clever."
"She's lying to you Sherlock. She's trying to make you feel better. I'm the clever one. You're a stupid little boy. "The silence that followed made the older boy smile triumphantly. He didn't know why he did it. But the whole idea of 'caring' was a little foreign to him.
"Redbeard's in there." The little boy's voice rang out again. "No he's not, Sherlock! Go away!" Mycroft raised his voice a little. He instantly regretted it. He heard hands being removed from being pressed against his bedroom door, and a shaky breath. The trouble with Sherlock was the fact that you could never really tell if he was really upset or not. Or whether it was all just an act.
"Every time I speak there's a resounding thumping noise. I play fetch with Redbeard. He likes me. He's wagging his tail. Which proves that he is in there, and, more importantly, that he doesn't want to be."
Mycroft let his face press in to his Politics textbook. "Don't be Sherlock, Sherlock." He moaned, sighing through his nose. Mycroft didn't have to be able to see his face to know that he was smiling. It must have been a brief one, seeing as the next time he spoke, the shaky voice was back. "Mycroft…"
"What is it Sherlock?" This time the voice was a little softer. "Please can you come and play with me?"
"I have to finish my work Sherlock."
"Can I help?"
Mycroft shook his head, before he realised that his brother could not see him. "No Sherlock. Go and play. "He mumbled. "I've been trying to do that for aaages." He whined. He knocked again. "Do you wanna play Cluedo? O-Or Pirates? Or cops and robbe—"
"No. Sherlock go away. Mum said to leave me alone when I'm working."
"Go away Sherlock!" Mycroft finally snapped. Silence rang then. Mycroft finally snapped. Silence rang then Mycroft lifted his head from his book. "Sherlock?" He asked. Redbeard grunted a little, shooting the older boy a pointed look. Mycroft rolled his eyes. "Oh don't you start."
Hours passed. They normally did when he was busy. What mattered was the fact that he had finally finished his essay. He was feeling rather proud of himself. He opened his old bedroom door and let the dog run out, down the hallway, his claws clattering on the wooden flooring of the hallway. Bed seemed like a good idea now. An idea that he would soon put in to action . Although, like every other night, he spent some time sitting on the padded window seat in his bedroom.
The small cottage that they lived in looked out over the vast and luscious Somerset fields. What he liked about that was the fact that he was always able to see the stars. He was thankful that they lived away from any airports because that meant that there were no flight paths to ruin his night sky. Sometimes it was the only thing that kept him going. He could sit on that window seat for hours. Watching the world go by under the thick blanket of night. It was then and only then that Mycroft Holmes allowed himself to think about 'boy things'. No, not Xbox or PlayStation. This was 1984. He had standards. Mycroft thought about the books he read. Spies. Government secrets…hidden feuds. Yes, that isn't exactly what normal 15 year old boys thought about, but this was Mycroft. He was just under the assumption that it was.
His politics school master had always told him that he had faith that he would go far. Mycroft had taken that knowledge a little too far. He was working on extra papers whenever he wasn't at school or sleeping. Playing with his six year old little brother wasn't an option. Or at least it wasn't to him.. Sherlock would understand. Of course he would understand. He was Sherlock. The problem with the boy was that he understood too much. All this thinking and staring Mycroft had been doing was taking up more time than it should done. He was about to get in to bed, when he heard the lock click. It had been locked. From the inside. He knew that because he had done it himself. Mycroft had no idea how his little brother had unlocked his door with what appeared to be one of their Mother's hair pins and an old shoe, but he wasn't about to ask. That would show that he was interested.
Neither boy spoke. Mycroft didn't ask and Sherlock didn't answer. But Mycroft watched. He was good at that. His little brother could be as annoying as he wanted to be, as whiny and whingey as he could get…but that didn't meant Mycroft would stop watching him. It was because of all this watching that Mycroft knew. He knew exactly what was wrong with his younger brother. Sherlock had been having nightmares for a while now. He had heard him telling their Mother about it a few mornings ago. Mycroft had never asked what they had been about but he had a vague idea. Redbeard was getting ill. He was an old boy, seeing as the dog was a puppy when Mycroft himself was Sherlock's age. The sad fact was, Sherlock didn't have any other friends apart from that dog. Any one's that weren't in his mind anyway.. Sherlock was crying, small tears rolling down his chubby cheeks as his breath hitched every now and then. Mycroft knew this wasn't an act. It was too realistic to be an act. Even for him. He sighed, and shifted in his seat. "Oh little brother" He said softly. "What have you done to yourself now?"
It was because of the pale face, and the tugging of his pyjama sleeve that Mycroft allowed him to climb on to the window seat next to him. It was a squeeze, but neither of them seemed to mind. Sherlock was a small boy. Built like their Father. Whereas Mycroft was more like their Mother. Tall, yes, but slightly…squishy. That was the word he preferred. He was squishy. Not chubby. Which, according to his younger brother, appeared to make him an excellent pillow. Mycroft heaved out a small sigh, letting his hand hang down, smiling at the wet nose that was pushed in to his palm. "Sherlock?"
"Hmm?" The little boy mumbled tiredly, looking out at the stars too. "He's right here you know." Mycroft began, as he swallowed thickly. "Redbeard's right here."
"Mummy said we might have to put him down." Sherlock said, in a voice a little too serious for a six year old. Mycroft sighed a little, opening his mouth to speak; but Sherlock got there first.
"Is he in pain, Mycroft?" He asked quietly, bluey eyes peering down at the dog, curled up against the window seat. "Is he hurting?"
"He's old, Sherlock." Mycroft said quietly. "A veteran." He said with a soft chuckle, patting the dog's head. "Don't be stupid Mycroft." Sherlock said through a yawn. "Redbeard wasn't in any wars."
A small smile tugged at his lips. Only you, little brother, would know what a veteran is at the age of six. His smile seemed to soften a little as he got an idea. "Oh, I don't think you're quite right there, little brother. " He said, the smile slowly splitting in to a rare grin. Sherlock tilted his head ever so slightly at that. "What do you mean?" He asked. For once he was the one confused. Mycroft would have relished in it if he wasn't so lost in this idea.
"You don't know?"
Sherlock was looking a little impatient now, though excitement shone in his eyes. "Tell me!"
"Redbeard!" Mycroft was on his feet. "Why, he was only the most dreaded mutt to ever sail the Seven Seas! Commodores and Kingsmen would cower in his path! "He jumped on to his bed. "No trap could contain him and no plot could foil him!"
Sherlock giggled, getting to his own feet, standing on the windowsill. "Redbeard! Redbeard!" The dog in question wagged his tail, giving a little bark at his boys, before he rested his head back on his front paws once more.
Something odd happened then. Something that gave Mrs Holmes a slightly pleasant surprise when she was roused from her sleep by the sound of laughing. Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes…
"Do not fire! Do not fire on Sherlock Holmes! Do not fire!" Mycroft could barely make his voice sound clam enough when he barked out his order from the helicopter. Oh god what has he done? What has he done now? We've only just got the stupid idiot back.
He had been drugged. Drugged and stolen from by his own brother and yet he still had to keep him safe. It was teeth gritting-ly annoying but it was true. Sherlock would always be a child to him. It was a child that he saw now. That same face, arms held up in surrender. Eyes wide with fear, fat tears rolling down chubby cheeks. Mycroft couldn't look. He couldn't bring himself too. He just lowered the radio microphone, and rested his head in his hands.
"Oh little brother…" He whispered to himself. "…What have you done to yourself now?"