It Started to Rain
Chapter One: "Brother, If You Have The Chance"
A/N: God help me, I started another one. It's a good thing I have the social life of a rock. This should be a pretty long story, if I'm correct, as I'm starting everyone out as really young and plan to take it into adulthood, so the lead-in to the real Johnlock will be slow (we don't even meet John until the next chapter). Sorry. I'm looking at about ninety chapters, but it's impossible for that to be certain this early on. You never know, really.
Also, the chapter title comes from "Brother" by Gerard Way (aka the Sherlock and Mycroft song, oops).
Disclaimer: I don't own Sherlock, obviously.
Sherlock knew something was wrong as soon as he walked through the door.
It wasn't even one of those gut instinct feelings, like when you're being followed or watched; he just knew. He always knew, no matter what other people thought about his annoying little habit of just knowing things the way he did. Maybe they were jealous. But probably not. Not very many people appreciated what he could do.
The morning had been normal. Well, whatever "normal" meant for the Holmes family. They were a family who believed in communication through fridge and door notes, or passing along the word through nannies, which was now becoming less favored than the other option, as Mycroft now vehemently insisted that he didn't need a nanny. Ever since he became an official teenager, he thinks he's an adult who can take care of himself and Sherlock without any help. Not that he didn't do that when he was twelve and under, though. He probably came out of the womb and started bossing the nurses around, claiming that their lack of a work ethic was going to ruin his upcoming life just because they weren't holding him exactly right.
Mr. and Mrs. Holmes tried to be involved parents, but whenever one of them got the bright idea to do something together as a family, something work-related (so they claimed) would come up. Sherlock didn't mind. It would have ended badly, anyway. Two people were bound to start fighting.
Seeing who it would be was the fun part. Sherlock had calculated, and there were six ways it could go. But it usually wasn't him. Most of the time, it was their parents, because for Mycroft to argue with his parents—or any adult, for that matter—he had to be very passionate about whatever it was, and he didn't feel that way about many things. When it happened, Mycroft would keep his head ducked and concentrated on his shoes, and Sherlock picked a side and joined, usually resulting in him being ignored.
That was the difference between Sherlock and Mycroft: Mycroft knew how to keep his mouth shut.
Sherlock's parents weren't home, which usually wouldn't be very surprising, as they were almost never home when Sherlock was, but that triggered the feeling that loomed over him and raised several instant red flags.
First, the solemn smiles he received from various workers around the house. They usually avoided Sherlock at all costs and didn't even look up at the six-year-old when he walked by, out of fear of his curiosity and intelligence, because he said anything that came to his mind, socially acceptable or not. Needless to say, they didn't like him, and they wouldn't be smiling if something weren't wrong. He didn't smile back.
Second, the house wasn't spotless. Mrs. Holmes threw a fit if a single thing sat out of its place and took it out on everyone else, and the whole house worked together to avoid it. But it looked as though the maids hadn't touched the house since Sherlock left for school that morning, like there had been some sort of panic that interrupted everyone's day.
Third, Mycroft was sitting on the couch, still dressed in his school uniform, waiting nervously for Sherlock. He even offered a tiny smile when Sherlock walked in, a weak, toothy grin that was obviously forced. It was strange that he had arrived home already, as if he had been pulled out early just to talk to Sherlock about whatever it was.
Usually when Mycroft got home, he changed into his own clothes and sat on the couch like a normal human being, not like the perfectly-raised, good-boy machine act he was forced to do when someone else was at the manor. He was expected to be dressed in a suit that was completely free of wrinkles, dust, or anything that could make his parents look bad. He had to sit up back-breakingly straight until he was at the point where he could barely breathe, and had to paint on a smile that looked like he was holding it there with invisible clothespins. This always made Sherlock dread becoming a teenager.
"What's going on?" Sherlock asked hesitantly.
"Well, sit down, Lockie, I'll tell you everything."
He only ever called Sherlock that before he knew that he was going to have to tell him something that was sure to break his heart. The elder Holmeses always relied on Mycroft to tell Sherlock the bad stuff. But still he pushed out another smile and folded his hands in his lap.
Although Sherlock would never hurt him with the fact, Mycroft looked more like his father every day. He had a more adult-like bone structure coming in, and he was getting taller and slimmer, not gangly and bony like Sherlock, but a nice, slender shape.
Also, now whenever Sherlock walked close enough to him, he smelled cologne. Father's cologne. His parents refused to let him have his own yet, as he was still "too young", according to their mother, who desperately tried to hold onto her sons' childhood. Sherlock pulled some strings and got Mycroft his own bottle, which smelled very different from Father's. And if you caught him early enough in the morning, you could see some rust-colored shadows below his chin that crept slightly over his upper jaw, which actually suited him nicely, until Mummy told him to shave it off.
Hesitantly, Sherlock sat, staying on the edge and letting the tips of his toes touch the floor, while the rest of his foot formed an uncomfortable arch.
"Okay. Tell me."
"This is what I was told me to tell you," he introduced. This is what Mycroft usually did: let Sherlock know that these were not his words, in case he got blamed for them. Now that Sherlock saw him talk about the subject at hand, Sherlock could see definite sadness and worry in his face, and his eyes looked like he had been crying. Concerning. Mycroft didn't cry; Sherlock had never even seen him close to crying before. "Mummy was diagnosed with breast cancer today. That's all anyone will tell me. I begged Father to tell me more, but he wouldn't tell me anything else. I don't know how bad it is, or what stage it's at, or . . ." Mycroft was now biting his lip lightly as his little brother had tears stinging his eyes.
"Have you spoken to her?" Sherlock asked with a wavering voice, rising to his feet.
"No, not since this morning." He ran a hand through his soft auburn hair and sighed. "But she's probably had her suspicions for a while now. She has been acting rather strange lately. I can't believe I didn't notice."
And by strange, he meant motherly. For a few months now, she had been saying good night every night and kissing both of their cheeks when they left for school.
Sherlock took a half-step towards Mycroft and fidgeted with his hands, tugging on his fingers on one hand with the other. "If Father won't tell you anything, it can't be good. Mycroft, what if—"
"Sherlock, no. None of that," he said, cutting him off in an uncharacteristically soft, gentle voice. "The most we can do is be positive."
Those were words Sherlock had never expected to hear from him. Neither of them knew anything about positivity, it seemed, as Sherlock just saw things for what they were, and Mycroft always found things to worry about, no matter what it was. But now they didn't have much of a choice. Mycroft was right when he said that it was the most they could do.
"But she's our mother," Sherlock squeaked. "How could we not worry?"
He differed from the other children who thought they were older than they really were in the aspect that recognized the fact that he was just a child and did not have much responsibility and needed someone to take care of him. Father couldn't and wouldn't do it alone, and although Mycroft was protective enough, he was just a kid, too.
"I know. I'm not saying for you not to worry—please, don't do that too much, though, because it's not good for you—but we can't dwell on the thought of . . . you know."
Sherlock switched from fidgeting his hands to having his arms crossed with his fingers tightly constricted around his upper arms, rapidly tapping. "I can't help it. Neither can you, I can tell. Why else would you have been crying?" He held a slight scowl at his brother for not caring.
"I'm not arguing with you today, Sherlock. Of all days." He finally gave in and let himself sit back against the couch for support and cradled his face with his hand, breathing steadily and staying silent.
"I'm sorry," Sherlock mumbled. He wasn't very familiar with this choice of words, and he rarely ever said it. This was a necessary exception.
Mycroft sighed again, an exhausted sigh instead of an annoyed one, and lowered his hand, now resting his chin on his knuckles and gazing off, not in the direction of Sherlock or anything else worth looking at.
"No, it's alright. You're only young, after all. It's natural for you to think about these things, I guess, especially at your level of understanding and intelligence." Now his voice was eerily calm and basically void of all emotion.
Then he did something even more out of his element: he held his arms out.
He still stared indirectly at Sherlock from the corner of his eyes, and his face was still toneless. But there he was, offering Sherlock something that he had never done before, and honestly, it was a big deal to Sherlock, all things considered. Sure, he had been held as a baby, but once he grew up (basically just after he learned how to walk and talk), people stopped and held back, throwing their hands up in surrender and walking out. He figured that he didn't like or need affection, anyway. He was wrong, apparently.
Betrayed by his heart, Sherlock all but ran into Mycroft's arms, and he collapsed onto him, holding his shoulders tightly and crying. Before, he secretly hated the cologne he wore, even though he bought it, because it meant that he was growing up, and Sherlock wasn't. But now he found it comforting for some reason, and it relieved him that he got him his own in the first place.
He hadn't noticed the tears until he felt one brush against his skin, and he profusely tried to stop the tears for a few minutes, but eventually gave up on it. It's okay to cry right now, that's what Mycroft kept whispering. These words only made the tears worse, and Sherlock was unsure why. Just the sound of Mycroft's voice was enough to get him started again.
Really, it was multiple reasons why he couldn't seem to stop crying, when he, like Mycroft, hadn't cried since he was an infant. One: he was being shown affection. Two: it was Mycroft who was showing him affection. Three, the obvious one: Mummy.
Mycroft soothingly twirled some of Sherlock's black curls around his fingers as he tried to comfort him by saying, "I'm sure everything will be alright."
Sherlock turned his head that had been buried in his brother's neck and freed his mouth to speak clearly, thankful they couldn't see each other's face. "And what if it's not?"
It worried him and made him feel like he was just an inconvenience to everyone. Sherlock didn't want Mycroft to be impelled to surrender whatever remained of his childhood just to raise his brother. Mycroft could learn to resent him if that happened.
"The only way it won't be okay is if you let it be that way. I'll be home for another five years before I go to university, and by that time, you'll almost be my age, and I can take care of myself, and so will you."
In all honesty, Sherlock believed that Mycroft had actually grown up far faster than he perhaps should have, and really, so had he. But Mycroft was practically grown already. Sherlock wasn't like him. He wasn't as smart or handsome or as well-mannered as he was, and everyone knew it. Even Mycroft apologized to Sherlock after family holidays for all of the people comparing the two.
Maybe Mycroft could teach him to be like him. Sherlock knew what other people thought and what they did, but he usually had to stare for a while before he got it. For Mycroft, on the other hand, it only took a single look, and he was more experienced and saw past the obvious. It seemed like he was better at everything, and it infuriated him occasionally.
Sherlock finally parted from Mycroft and began to walk away, careful to make sure no one saw his red, swollen eyes and damp cheeks. But as he was leaving, he stopped and leaned against the door frame for support, turning his face only slightly, obscuring his pale face with his dark, too-long hair.
"Mycroft?" He wasn't even sure if he was looking his way, but he spoke anyway. "Don't blame yourself for not seeing this coming. I didn't notice, either."
And with that, he quickly ran out of the room, pushing the front door open and letting it slam itself shut behind him, running to where he could be alone.