A/N: ::staring at the last chapter of my last Holmes fic:: Typos… Wow… Note to self: proof read or get a beta reader… one or the other… I can't believe no one's said anything yet. Oi… I got the William S. Baring-Gould novel that is Holmes' biography! Yay! Well, got it from the library at any rare. Very interesting reading thus far.
It was mid December of 1876, just before my sixteenth birthday, if memory serves, and I can assure you it does, when I found myself stepping from a carriage and onto the walkway before my parents' home in London, home early for Christmas holiday. I would much rather have spent my holidays in my school, studying under a professor that had recently taken the "bright and vibrant Holmes" under his wing, though I did return home in more haste to see my mother who had fallen ill the winter before and had been fighting the illness from her bed since mid-summer. Father had told me to wait until later to come, but in my increasingly stubborn way, I had chosen to come earlier instead.
I stepped into the house, tugging at the scarf that was wrapped tightly around my neck and up nearly to my nose. "Hello?" I called softly, not wishing to wake my mother if she were sleeping. I knew my father would be out, as it was his habit at this time of day. He wouldn't be back until into the evening, and as it was only two in the afternoon, I had ample time to find ways of avoiding him.
I would have proceeded to my own room to place my bags in it and then to my mother's had I not heard a strange noise coming from my father's study. I promptly dropped my bags in the hall and inched closer to the closed door. It would not have been difficult for someone to break into our house, that I knew, but the question was why a burglar might have closed the study door behind him if he thought no one could stop him. I opened the door with care.
Two sets of eyes looked at me, one a sharp, demanding and (what I had always considered very condemning) set of grey and a set of dark green that looked frightened. I was – uncharacteristically, I might add – struck silent at the sight of my father and the young woman (though she could hardly be described as such for she wasn't any more than five years my elder) I recognized to be my mother's sick nurse. I felt my breath catch in my throat and all I could do is tare. Foolishly stare. Like an imbecile. Suddenly a thought struck me. "She's not even dead yet!" I yelled in a rush of furry. "Couldn't you have waited until she was gone to betray her?!"
"Sherlock." His voice was steady and hard, much like it was when we discussed anything of matter.
"Father," I answered, doing my best to strike a tone similar to his.
"You were instructed to return home later this year."
"Yes," I managed, my voice uneven. In all the things my professors had taught me in my school the last couple of years, they could not have told me how to handle my father's betrayal. "I… Yes, you did."
He looked perfectly livid. "And why did you return early?"
"I wished to see my mother."
He had stood, now, from the overly awkward position I had found him in. Miss Adeline Anderson was fading back to the furthest wall of the study, pulling her dress up where she was not exposed and trying to fix her hair back into the style she wore it. She looked at me with what looked like fear in her eyes, though certainly she could not have been frightened of a lanky fifteen-year-old boy such as myself. Perhaps the red-hot anger that had started to bubble up made me look more intimidating, though doubtful.
"And instead you spied on your father."
"I was not spying!" I argued, my voice rising without my commanding it to. I half regretted it as it happened, for no one raised a voice to Siger Holmes. Not even his headstrong son.
He cuffed me good across one ear. "Don't speak back."
I shook my head, mentally ordering the ringing to stop. "You accused me of something I was not doing," I growled, not caring if I encountered his wrath. When a second blow did not come, I stood to my full height (nearing six feet, even at my young age) and squared my shoulders. "I heard something in here and I was checking to make sure everything was all right."
"Certainly," my father said, sarcasm dripping from his voice. "I always told you that your curiosity would get you in trouble, Sherlock, and now it has."
"No, Father, it is you that my curiosity has gotten in trouble." I knew I had made a mistake as soon as I said it and the second blow came a bit harder than the first. I stumbled back into a chair and sat in it.
"What is all the noise?"
Every eye in the room looked at my mother who stood in the doorway. She pulled her robe around her tightly as she took in the scene.
"Mrs. Holmes!" Adeline Anderson gasped, but my mother held up a hand.
"Please don't, Miss Anderson," she said quietly, but her voice was stern. "I knew something was amiss." She gave a tired smile. "I was just didn't want to believe it." She turned to me. "Come here, Sherlock."
I stared at her, eyes wide, and watched her as she left the study without an other word to anyone. I turned to give my father and his lover one last glare before following. Mother had set herself down in her room by the fire. I entered slowly.
"Close the door, Sherlock."
I did as she asked.
Violet Holmes was not a dull witted woman, to be sure, and certainly not the kind to give into bouts of hysterical emotions. She was strong and she was wise. When Father had told me I was a fool for wanting more than the engineers job he wanted for me, she had told me I could reach further. She was the only support I had ever known in my home. I had never seen her cry.
Until that day.
She pulled a blanket from her bed and wrapped it around her, a silent tear making its way down her cheek as she set herself in a chair again. I could not find my voice as she leant forward and began to sob quietly.
"I'm sorry, Sherlock," she said at last.
I could not see whatever for, and I told her as much.
"Everything," she murmured. "You should not have come home to that."
"Did you know?"
"Yes and no. It would have been obvious to anyone but a dim witted fool, but I chose to ignore it."
"And foolish," she answered with a tired smile. "Come here my boy. Not a boy any longer, though. My last one is growing up."
I did not know what to say as I approached her, but we sat there for a moment and she leaned on me and cried.
Mother died a week later. The doctors, in their ignorance, said they couldn't see why. She had been on the way to recovery and doing remarkably well. She had just given up.
Mycroft arrived just before she died, but they never spoke. Sherrinford came home early so that he might attend her funeral. We stood at her grave, three solemn young men that hardly knew each other in those years. They with their grief, me with my secret and utter hatred for the man left behind to father me.
"I'll be returning to school," I said suddenly.
Mycroft cocked an eyebrow at my abrupt statement. "So soon, Sherlock? Surely you'll stay for Christmas…"
"How do you expect me to get into Oxford if I don't keep up with my studies?" I demanded crisply.
"Sherlock, you are not that cold," Sherrinford answered with a small, forced chuckle. "Stay a bit. Father needs us."
"Hang what he needs!" I cried. "He killed her! It's his fault!" I nearly had to physically bite my tongue in order to hold it. My emotions were spinning out of control, something my professor would have berated me about if he had been there. I took a calming breath and shook him head.
"What on earth are you talking about?" Sherrinford asked, looking upset by it. He and Father had always been close.
"It's nothing," I answered. "Just tell Father that I'll be on my way soon enough."
"But Christmas!" Sherrinford argued.
"Let him go," Mycroft said softly.
And go I did. Down through the graves and toward back toward our house. The long walk would do me well.
"He'll marry her, you know."
I looked up from my packing to see Mycroft in my doorway, a deep frown on his heavy features.
"Then you know."
"From your reactions, yes, I could get that much." He smiled. "Please, Sherlock, I know you much better than Sherrinford does."
"You did at one time."
My brother frowned. "You're angry. That is understandable. You two have never gotten along, but you must move past it. Don't build upon that anger, Sherlock."
I hung my head a bit, but brought it back up. "Thank you for your advice, brother."
"And I hope you take it. Will you still leave?"
"I can't stand him."
He smiled. "I know. Go and do something with your life, hmm? You'll get into Oxford. I take it you have a good tutor?"
"His name? Perhaps I had him as well."
"Professor James Moriarty."
Mycroft shook his head. "No, I do not know the name. I hope that you get your acceptance, Sherlock. I know you will."
I smiled slightly. "Thank you, Mycroft. I will keep in touch."
"Good," he said in a huff. "You haven't recently."
"But I shall now."
"I will hold you to that."
I returned to my school and spent all Christmas break there and did not return for the new year to my father's home in London. In fact I rarely returned home after that. Father married Miss Anderson, now the new Mrs. Holmes, and I stayed my distance, under the tutelage and growing friendship with Professor James Moriarty who said he saw great things in my future if I were to continue along the path I was. I had no idea….
A/N: Hah! Less typos, I hope! Goodness, if you see typos, please let me know (in a kind and gentle way) b/c I'm terrible with it. I'm often half asleep and studying as well, so I only have half a mind on getting the words from my head to my fingers and onto the screen. Please R&R