A/N: Hey everyone :) My second story in less than a week, I'm just obsessed with this fandom at the moment XD So, this is my first time writing John, and adult Mycroft and Sherlock, so naturally I'm worried about characterisation, but I hope you enjoy, and I apologise deeply for anything too out of character. Please let me know what you think :)
Where Did It Go Wrong?
There was a knock on the door downstairs. John raised his eyebrow curiously as he looked up from his paper. Mrs Hudson and Sherlock wouldn't knock, so it had to be either Mycroft or Lestrade. There was an extra sound, a light tapping along with the well fallen footsteps which John concluded could belong to a walking stick, or rather an umbrella; so it was Mycroft then.
The doctor rolled his eyes and sighed as he realised Sherlock's skills of deduction were getting to him again; he should really find a more 'normal' hobby.
As John predicted, Mycroft Holmes soon stood present at the doorway, straight posture as always with his umbrella leaning against his side and coat neatly folded across his arm.
"Good evening, John" Mycroft said in his usual dignified manner "Is my brother around?"
"No, he went to follow a lead on a case a while ago" John explained. "I suspect he'll be back soon though, he'll notice I'm not with him sooner or later"
Mycroft smirked at this. "Wishful thinking" he claimed "that boy could always talk to himself for hours before realising he was alone"
John supposed he had to agree with that one – the amount of times he'd arrived home to find Sherlock jabbering away to himself was becoming uncountable.
"Anyway, I suppose I should leave. Do tell Sherlock I stopped by, will you?" he requested before bowing out the room.
"Mycroft!" John called after him, putting his mouth before his head. Mycroft turned to look at him expectantly. "You can stay and wait for a while, if you want" John said a little hesitantly. "Mrs Hudson just made tea…"
Mycroft raised an eyebrow at the doctor, which made John feel rather uncomfortable. He could tell the older Holmes' brother was already deducing his reason for asking him to stay. The truth was the only time John and Mycroft ever spoke was when the former had essentially been 'kidnapped' by the latter. John was still unclear as to why the Holmes brothers held such a huge grudge towards each other, and he thought this might be a good opportunity to do a little investigating of his own.
"Milk, two sugars, if you please" Mycroft said, appearing to make up his mind and sitting down on the sofa. John nodded once and went to fetch their drinks.
"So, what brings you here?" John asked once he returned with the tea and took a seat. "It wouldn't be very like you to make a social visit"
"Well, I like to keep organised" Mycroft said "Keep tabs on things, one of them is Sherlock. I haven't seen him in a while, had no cases I thought would take his interest"
"You don't have to see him just because of a case, you know" John lightly pushed; to his surprise, Mycroft just smirked.
"My brother would not appreciate me just dropping by all the time" Mycroft claimed. "When we were children he made a keep out sign for his bedroom door which I knew was specifically aimed at me…I feel he's kept the same sign hanging around ever since."
John considered this a moment. "So, you didn't even get along when you were children?" he asked.
"Oh, on the contrary, we got along very well when Sherlock was young." Mycroft said.
John could see that there were certain memories replaying in the older Holmes' eyes – almost as if Mycroft were looking at ghosts, but his feelings seemed slight conflicted… strange, for someone who is self-proclaimed emotionless.
"We are not the most usual of adults, Sherlock and I, so we were by no means the most usual of children" Mycroft said by means of explanation. "Most children liked to be outside, roughhousing or playing games, but Sherlock and I much preferred learning, exploring. We still did things together all the time though"
"Like what?" John asked curiously.
"Well…I would read to Sherlock a lot" Mycroft stated. "Treasure Island was his favourite, the main reason he wanted to be a pirate." John noticed how he seemed to smile at the memory. "Of course I would tell him a pirate wasn't real job, but he was young and naïve…yes, it was a lot easier to protect him when he was like that" the older Holmes mused, appearing a little distant.
"When did you start to realise Sherlock was…well…" John struggled to think of the right word.
"Unusual?" Mycroft suggested.
"I guess" John shrugged.
"To me he always appeared quite normal" Mycroft claimed "but I suppose that was because he was similar to me; superior intellect, enjoyment in experimenting, that sort of thing. But there was one big difference between us. I had learned to let go of my emotions when I found it necessary, but Sherlock was not so trained like that when he was young. Sometimes, Sherlock's emotions would get the better of him"
John found it quite sad, the thought of Mycroft as a child thinking that emotions were an unnecessary burden, that certain attachments would just slow him down, and now Sherlock had turned out much the same. Things could have been so much different if the brothers had just opened up every once in a while.
"So, it wasn't me who first decided Sherlock was odd, but rather the other children in his class when he was about eight. I remember the first time he came home covered in cuts and bruises, crying discreetly. Of course Mummy and Father didn't notice, I don't think they much cared."
"But you did, right?" John asked a little cautiously.
Mycroft however, remained passive. "I ignored it the first few times" he said.
"What?!" John exclaimed in shock "Your little brother comes home after getting beaten up and you just…"
His ranting accusation ended when Mycroft raised a hand to silence him. John had never feared Mycroft- as much as the politician liked to believe he did – but something told the doctor he should let the older Holmes brother finish.
"It was my logic that Sherlock should learn the hard way the world is not a nice place when you don't conform to 'social norms'" Mycroft said the phrase rather sarcastically "but things turned bad when he stopped eating and wouldn't sleep. I knew I had to step in"
"I should bloody well think so" John muttered. Mycroft didn't react however.
"I went down to his school myself even though I was only fifteen at the time and not Sherlock's guardian, but I talked to the headmaster. He was useless, suggesting Sherlock was merely the boy who cried wolf."
John observed the way Mycroft gripped the handle of his umbrella a little tighter as if the anger at the memory was starting to get him, but as always the elder Holmes managed to keep up his calm and honourable composure.
"So I went and talked to the little brutes myself" Mycroft continued. "Naturally then they told their older siblings at that soon had me coming home with cuts and bruises too. Sherlock thanked me, but told me I shouldn't endanger myself for his sake. Anyway, I become much more watchful of him after that and they soon left him alone. Sherlock and I only had each other growing up. But the night I told him I was going to university was the night the sign went up on his door."
"He felt abandoned" John said with quiet realisation. "You were all he had, and he thought you were going to leave him behind. That's why he resents you"
Mycroft sighed and nodded. "And for a while, I did leave him behind. I wanted to focus on my career and forget my neglectful parents ever existed."
"That didn't mean you had to forget about Sherlock too" John said as he turned defensive again.
"I know" Mycroft said much to John's surprise; it wasn't often people like Mycroft admitted when they were wrong. "I know, and I realise that, but it's too late"
"It's never too late" John said firmly.
"I made a huge mistake leaving Sherlock alone" Mycroft said "but it's twenty years later and we still can't be in a room together without making snide remarks, but that's just the way we like it now I suppose."
"No" John said defiantly and Mycroft quirked an eyebrow at him. "I don't buy it" John said "You act like this guarded man who doesn't care, but you do, I know you do, you practically jut admitted it! The first time I met you said you worry about Sherlock. Constantly. That is what I believe, and it's not because you worry he'll ruin your reputation, it's because he's your little brother and he's the only one you have"
Mycroft – for once – appeared to be stunned into silence. He had no idea, a man whose talents lay in reading people, was himself so readable. He didn't much like the thought, and so continued to brush past John's comments as best he could.
"Well, when Sherlock started with the drugs I can back, put everything on hold, just so I could try and support him" Mycroft said, his composure back intact. "I blamed myself for Sherlock having lost his way. If I hadn't taught him about deductions and mind palaces he wouldn't have had half the problems he did. This is why now I suppose I try to keep him on high surveillance, to try and make up for it a little, even if he doesn't want me to"
John shook his head. "You're both too proud" he claimed. "You could have a good relationship with each other if the both of you weren't so stubborn…"
Mycroft smirked. "John, I wish it were that simple. What I have told you is but a fraction of the problems Sherlock and I have with each other. Do I wish things were different? Perhaps." He avoided the obvious straight answer "But at least I acknowledge that the good times happened. All the times I read to Sherlock, played pirates with him, let him stay in my bed when he was afraid of storms...no, all those times Sherlock seems to have forgotten"
"Or maybe he knows it would hurt to think about" John reasoned.
There was a silence between the two men for a while. Mycroft had not intended to come to Baker Street that day and share stories, practically wear his heart on his sleeve, but there was something about him which felt quite relieved – he knew John would be a good confidant, with an understanding of doctor- patient confidentiality and all. However, the elder Holmes was also experiencing familiar niggling sensations of regret; something he hadn't felt in a long time.
John meanwhile was left wondering whether prying into the past of the Holmes brothers had been the best thing to do, but he at least felt he understood things a little better now. He didn't at all agree with the way Mycroft seemed to initially have dismissed Sherlock, but there was a part of John which felt sorry for the older Holmes brother; Mycroft was just trying to protect Sherlock, really.
"So, Sherlock was afraid of storms?" John said, not wanting to leave things on such a sour note. "Didn't know that, I thought he was fearless…he just seems a bit oblivious when it comes to things which should be feared"
Mycroft smiled lightly. "Yes, it was quite crippling when he was young. He couldn't stand thunder and lightning at all. He'd come scuttling into my room and ask if he could stay. I'd say yes every time. He'd always sleep right against my chest, and I had to promise him the east wind wouldn't take him away." John smiled at this story of brotherly sentiment, but Mycroft realised his hard exterior was slipping once more. "Of course Sherlock has at least one fear; fear is one of the things that make us human"
"If that's true then what do you fear?" John challenged.
Mycroft paused for a moment. He looked down at his hands clutching his umbrella and then looked back at John.
"Losing Sherlock for good" he said simply, a sad smile tugging at his lips.
John was surprisingly less taken aback by this than he thought he would be. He opened his mouth to respond, but at that exact moment the door flung open and Sherlock came storming in.
"John! I would really appreciate it if you would start to inform me when you are not going to come with me" he said as he unravelled his scarf and threw it on his chair.
"How do you expect me to do that when you don't listen to me anyway" John said with a roll of his eyes.
"Well I solved it without your help, just so you know" Sherlock said smugly, and once he turned around he stopped to acknowledge their visitor. "What are you doing here?" he asked his brother accusingly.
Mycroft rose from his seat "Nothing much, brother mine, just to remind you Aunt Sophia is expecting you to go visit her for her birthday this weekend"
Sherlock rolled his eyes "Just perfect, as if I don't have more important things to do!" he said throwing his arms up in exasperation and then collapsing back in his chair. He flexed his fingers together in thought "It seems a rather menial message, you couldn't have just called or texted?" he asked.
Mycroft shrugged. "It is a nice evening, and I could have done with the walk" he tried to reason.
"Yes, with the diet failing I think the extra exercise is very necessary "Sherlock sniped.
Mycroft just rolled his eyes. "Making fun of my weight, how very original" he mumbled sarcastically. "I suppose I should be off, thank you for accommodating me, John" he said and the doctor stood so they could shake hands. "Nice to see you as always, brother" he said with a leer towards Sherlock.
"Can't really say the feeling is mutual" Sherlock said as he took up his violin and started to play.
John thought he saw a flicker of sadness in Mycroft's eyes after Sherlock said this, but as always it was brushed off and ignored.
"Goodnight" Mycroft said as a final word before heading out the door. John closed it behind him.
"Why do always have to do that?" the doctor asked Sherlock.
Sherlock ceased the music. "Do what?" he asked with a frown.
John just sighed "Nothing"
"Can't have been nothing, or else you wouldn't have brought it up" Sherlock said. "What were the two of you talking about anyway?" he asked. "And don't say he'd only just arrived, I can clearly see you had time to drink tea"
John shrugged "We didn't talk about anything, really. Just chit-chat"
Sherlock scoffed "My brother does not do chit-chat" he mimicked. "Since the only interesting thing the two of you have in common is me, I can assume I was the main subject of conversation" he stated.
"Whatever, I don't have time for this" John said as he grabbed his jacket, trying to swiftly get out of another awkward conversation. "I have a date to go to…."
"Again? How mundane" Sherlock commented before starting to play his violin once more.
"Yes, so I'm afraid you'll have to entertain yourself tonight" John said with an amused grin.
"Alright, I can function without you" Sherlock retorted.
"Only just" John mumbled as he picked up his keys. "Right, see you later"
"Bye" Sherlock replied but didn't look up from his violin.
After that, the consulting detective slinked around the room as he plucked at the strings of his violin. He gazed out at the grey skies for a while – even the simplest of minds could deduce it was going to rain, very heavily. Sherlock started to wonder towards the kitchen, still playing, when suddenly there was a crash of thunder which startled him, and the music came to a halt with an abrupt screech.
He hurried back over to the window, and the sound of the pounding rain signalled the storm was only just getting started. Tapping the bow against his leg, Sherlock started to pace more quickly up and down the room. He didn't want to admit defeat, no he'd never do that, it was just that storms were the one time Sherlock did not like being alone.
Sherlock placed his violin down and took his phone out of his pocket. He tapped the top edge against his lips for a moment as he thought, before deciding to the bite the bullet. He texted his brother:
I'm coming over – SH
There was no need to ask first; Mycroft would say yes, he always had done when they were children. Sherlock grabbed his coat and scarf before heading out the apartment and immediately hauling a cab. There was one thing Sherlock knew for certain about his brother; he would never turn Sherlock away, and for that, the younger Holmes was silently grateful.
Sherlock's phone buzzed when he was in the back of the cab. He pulled it out to read the message:
Your room is already prepared – MH
Sherlock couldn't help the way the corner of his lips twitched upwards in a nostalgic smile.