Chapter Seven

Many of those who had met Sherlock Holmes would probably say they could never imagine the man ever being anything close to a normal child. However Sherlock, like any child, had been prone to flights of fancy. He had wanted to be Robin Hood. He had wanted to be a pirate captain. Sherlock used to imagine and he used to play pretend though he'd never willingly divulge this information. Mainly because divulging would lead to discussion and he preferred to push down the memories of his childhood fantasies just as soon as they surfaced.

It wasn't just a case of him simply being embarrassed. There were many reasons he'd rather not think about his childish daydreams and one of them was his elder brother.

You see in all the fantastic constructs produced by his mind there was one constant. As a child Sherlock had been unable to imagine a world without his brother in it. Yes, most of the time Mycroft was the enemy. The naval officer to Sherlock's pirate captain. But he was always there.

This wasn't merely childish sentimentality but also practicality.

Even in his younger years Sherlock recognised that the only person that seemed to understand him was his older brother. Mycroft saw the world the same way he did. Sherlock's then childish mind thought this meant there was a unique, unbreakable bond between them. It would always be them, together, standing separate from the rest of the world. In his eyes a world without Mycroft would be dull. In such a world as that Sherlock would be alone.

This neediness was the one of the main reasons Sherlock hated to ruminate on his childhood. Mycroft had always been associated with safety in those days. He remembers being 4 years old, at some party, his hand gripping tightly onto the back of his elder brother's shirt and Mycroft always standing a little in front of him. He remembers hearing a car pull up outside; he knows it means Mycroft is home from school and he runs to the front door like an excited dog going to greet its master. He remembers refusing to leave the hospital when Mycroft had his appendix out. He remembers kicking and screaming when they try to make him.

He remembers but most of the time he tries not to.

Right now, not remembering is proving more difficult than usual. He thought being away from his brother would make it easier but now, left alone in his flat, he finds himself stuck. Mycroft was here. He sat in that chair. Even when Sherlock considers digging out his usual distraction all he can hear is his brother's voice saying 'alcohol was his drug of choice'.

Finally Sherlock reached a decision. He grabbed his jacket and all but ran out of the door. That Detective Lestrade had been trying to get him to help with some case. It was far from an interesting one but right now anything was better than nothing.

After the funeral Mycroft had returned to the office and gone about his business as usual. His obligations could not be pushed aside in favour of personal problems. He would consider the Sherlock problem once he had finished here. Besides all the necessary arrangements had been made. His little brother wouldn't make a move that Mycroft wouldn't be informed about in the report his assistant would hand to him later. He also trusted those that worked for him to identify areas which required further investigation and have all relevant information ready for him.

His judgement, as ever, was sound.

According to the reports delivered to him his brother had spent all of 43 minutes at his home before leaving. More importantly he went to Scotland Yard and met with detective by the name of Gregory Lestrade. The detective had been one of the investigators looking into the rather gruesome murder 6 months ago. The victim was discovered to have a drug problem as well as growing monetary issues leading police to suspect his supplier. The drug dealer in question was proving difficult to find so they started pulling in known associates for questioning. One of them being Sherlock Holmes. The interview had been rather amusing to listen to. The detective trying to remain professional and Sherlock being his usual self. However, after the interview the case is soon solved thanks in part to an anonymous tip.

Between then and now there had been 2 cases Detective Inspector Lestrade had worked on that had gone from going nowhere to suddenly being solved in what would seem to be a flash of inspiration.

Briefly Mycroft recalled a death of a boy in a swimming pool that Sherlock had paid a great deal of attention to.

It would seem some of his brother's interests hadn't changed.

Sherlock had been right about the case not being that interesting. He'd only been on it just over a day and he almost had it solved. Which is why he was spending his afternoon sitting in a café just across the street from the shop co-owned by the victim and his sister. There was just one thing he needed to see to confirm his suspicions.

He was completely absorbed in his observations until he heard the tell tale sound of the chair across from him being pulled out. He turned to politely inform his new table companion that he wasn't interested in company but that plan of action quickly fell apart when he found his own brother sitting across from him.

"What... are you doing here?"

Sherlock had to fight to keep his voice under control and at an acceptable volume.

"I was just passing by."

Sherlock scoffed. It was an obvious lie. He went back to watching the shop. He had more important things to do then figure out what his brother was up to.

"So is this what you want to spend the rest of your life doing?"

He turned back to face his brother only to find Mycroft was looking disinterestedly at the exact same spot as he had been moments ago.

"Staring at shops from the inside of cafés?"

"Solving mysteries and crimes." Mycroft replied.

Sherlock resisted the urge to roll his eyes. It didn't come as a shock to him that his brother had found out how he was keeping himself occupied these days.

"Oh we're having this conversation are we? Fantastic. Is this the part where you tell me I'm wasting my life and I could do so much more?"

"No, I believe this is the part where I patiently wait for you to answer my original question."

"If it'll make you leave quicker then my answer is yes."

Mycroft seemed to nod to himself before standing up.

"Fair enough. I shall leave you to your... work."

Sherlock could do nothing but stare incredulously at his brother's retreating form. He didn't know what he'd been expecting but it was certainly something more than that. Mycroft was up to something. He didn't have the faintest idea what but he was sure he'd find out.

Weeks had passed since that strange encounter in café and Sherlock had neither seen nor heard from his brother. It wasn't as though he was disappointed about that. Mycroft had probably forgotten about the entire thing. After all, he had a country to run.

Sherlock himself had been busy. In fact this was the first time he had made it back to his flat in the last 2 days.

He made it to the entrance to his living room before he froze. It was tidy. Yes, there were still piles of books but they were neat and dust free. Slowly he made his way further into the room. His bed was missing. He knew most people would say it shouldn't be in a living room but that's where he kept it and for some reason it wasn't there. And the table wasn't his table. He had broken one of the legs of his table. On this... new table were white paper bags which he certainly hadn't left there. He took a quick glimpse in each of them. Components to what looked like a chemistry set. A laptop. A mobile phone. And attached to the mobile phone box there was a note.

He recognised the handwriting instantly.

The mattress you were using as a bed has been disposed of. Your new bed is in the bedroom. A much more suitable place for such an item. In your bedroom you will also find a wardrobe. You'll find clothes in there. If you are serious about this career choice of yours I believe looking respectable will be of some advantage to you.

I also took the liberty of procuring some other items I felt may be of some use to you.

This would have been done sooner but you can't rush a good tailor.

Sherlock knew fine well the most Mycroft would have done is write this note and maybe make a few phone calls. No, Mycroft's people had done this. His brother had sent people into his flat to tidy and re-arrange it.

Sherlock stood there, his hand slowly crushing the note held within it. He would have to think of a way to thank his brother for being so thoughtful.