A/N: This is my first foray into the Sherlock-verse, though I've been reading for a while now, and am an enormous fan of the show. I apologize for any Americanisms that have slipped in—that's where I'm from and where most of the characters I usually write are from, so please point out and forgive. Sherlock's mother was surprisingly fun to create and write—I'll likely use her again in the future. Let me know if you enjoy her as much as I do. Sherlock's therapist is a composite of some therapists I had when I was a child (because I refused to go to school because it was boring, interestingly enough) and some elementary school teachers are there, too. I don't really know what this is—I just wondered where Sherlock got his diagnosis, since I really don't think he'd see a psychologist of his own volition and, being high-functioning, would probably not have been diagnosed with conduct disorder as a child. The obvious conclusion would be from himself.
Sherlock decided that he was a sociopath (the first time) when he was ten. This was when his dog died. Mycroft, fifteen, cried a few suspect tears. Sherlock was simply annoyed that he had to stand in the rain while he watched his father and brother bury the dog (his mother? She was elsewhere. She didn't have to do boring things. She was probably doing something fun in her study, like an experiment, or reading). Sherlock waited until the dog was in the ground, glanced at Mycroft's face for a model of a suitably stricken expression, made a strangled noise, as if overcome with emotion, and ran off.
As predicted, he found his mother in her study, absorbed in, alternately, Tolstoy and in writing a treatise on the degeneration of bone under UV lights of varying intensity, mimicking sunlight. There were, of course, six humerii laying on tables across the room, some under UV lights and some in the window.
"Mum," said Sherlock, "What is it if someone can't feel badly about things?"
"Mmm. That's a sociopath, I think," said his mother. "Why?"
"No reason." Sherlock wandered over to examine the bones. "Are these human?"
"Unfortunately, one cannot just use human bones for experiments, Sherlock."
"Some people are superstitious and don't like their remains, or their relatives', for science."
"You should use a fresh bone, though shouldn't you?"
"Have you tested flesh decomposition under the lights?"
"No…" Sherlock's mother looked thoughtful. "I wonder if animal flesh would suffice?"
"Ah, well. Ethics." His mother smiled at him and gave a delicate shrug.
"Thanks, Mummy," said Sherlock, wrapping his arms around her waist. His mother was the only person to whom the small boy freely showed physical affection, unless punching Mycroft counted.
"Aren't you supposed to be burying the dog, Sherlock?"
"All right. Have a good day, dear. And try to be nice to your brother; he was unaccountably attached to that idiotic dog. Distract him with something, would you?"
Of course, Sherlock already knew he needed to distract Mycroft, so he could dig up the dog and start his experiment.
Of course, he got caught, and there was a good deal of unrest in the Holmes house that night. Sherlock was confined to his room, pacing; Mycroft had locked himself in his room to sulk and try to make Sherlock feel guilty; Mr. Holmes was at table, alone, trying to decide whether or not he was more angry or confused by Sherlock's behavior in particular and by his younger son in general; and Mrs. Holmes was knocking on her younger son's door.
"Sherlock? May I come in?"
"Sure," came the boy's muffled voice, a little tear-stung.
She went inside. Sherlock had stopped pacing and sprawled on the bed. His mother went to him and began to pat his back. He squirmed.
"Dad 'n Mycroft hate me."
"They do not."
"Mycroft said so and Dad agrees, I can tell."
"They do not hate you, Sherlock."
"Dad said I was an animal, I heard…"
Sherlock's mother wondered for a moment how the boy had possibly heard that, then glanced at the vent in his floor and resolved the question for herself.
"Your father is an idiot," she said.
"Really?" asked Sherlock, looking up.
"Sometimes, yes," said his mother. She made a deduction. "Sherlock, dear, did you ask about sociopaths the other day because you think you are one?"
The child looked at her, curly hair rumpled and eyes wide, feline, cold. "Yes."
"Why on earth would you think that?"
"Mycroft cried about the dog. I didn't. I dug him up…"
"I still don't understand why that was wrong."
"Mm. Because there's nothing morally wrong with it."
"Dad and Mycroft don't agree."
"Yes, Sherlock, but in addition to the facts that your brother is very good at faking tears and your father is inordinately sensitive sometimes, neither of them is a scientist. Sherlock, you were curious. You did an experiment. You didn't mean to hurt anyone. In fact, I think you were trying to help me, weren't you?"
"See, there. Not a sociopath at all."
Even so, Sherlock's father insisted that they take the boy to the doctor. Sherlock listened at the door while his parents conferred with the psychologist.
"…don't diagnose antisocial personality disorder in children…"
"…dug up the dog!"
"…has he…with live animals?"
"Not that we've seen."
"Emily, you know he isn't…"
"They said the same about me!"
Sherlock heard the psychologist trying to calm his parents and sensed that the conversation was winding down, so he darted to the corner and pretended to play.
His parents emerged a moment later, and his mother, who knew how her son played, winked at him, walked over, and ruffled his curls.
"Your turn, Sherlock," she said. She leaned down to whisper in his ear. "Play nice, and I'll get you an ice cream and a new chemical later."
The psychologist was a pleasant woman, about fifteen years older than his mother, with greying hair and square spectacles. She wore loose, bright clothing of the kind his aunt wore in photos of his mother's 1960s adolescence (Emily Holmes had never quite been a flower child like her younger sister Lydia; free love was not something she understood, for she was really very like her son, down to the dark curls, pale eyes, proneness to boredom, and asexuality, though she'd become, of necessity, rather successful at disguising the latter two traits).
"Sherlock," the therapist began, costume jewelry clunking, "do you know why you're here?"
I dug up the dog, Sherlock thought, and my father and brother are irrational, but he shook his head mutely and waited, curious, to hear the reason Dr. Noble would give.
"You're here because your parents are…worried about you, and because they love you."
"Do you love them, Sherlock?"
Mum, yes. Sometimes Father.
"Yeah," he said, without hesistating. "Yes. Dad and Mycroft hate me, though." Bid for sympathy; demonstrated normal concern.
"I can assure you that that is untrue," said Dr. Noble. She followed this with a hideously boring speech about curiousity, mistakes, forgiveness, love, etc., during which Sherlock had only to nod and look contrite, then relieved. Easy.
Then: "Do you have any friends, Sherlock?"
"Mummy," said Sherlock, playing the naïf, "and Mycroft sometimes, and there's a boy called Geoff I talk with at school, and a girl called Anne who likes me."
"Mm. Do you like Geoff and Anne?"
"They're all right." Sherlock's instinct was to call them stupid, because they were, but he suppressed it and said, "We're not really interested in the same things."
"Oh? What interests you?"
"Decomposition, and poisonous plants, and disguises," blurted Sherlock. The psychologist's jaw had dropped slightly. "And. Um. The game. With the kicking—oh, football. That."
He was pretty sure that was what the game was called.
"Those are some unusual interests, Sherlock."
"Not football," Sherlock tried. The psychologist gave him a look.
"I'm unusual," Sherlock admitted.
"I'm getting that impression." She smiled. "Decomposition?"
"My mum's a forensic pathologist."
Dr. Noble looked surprised. "I thought she was a novelist and a professor of literature."
"She is," said Sherlock. "All of them. My dad was a surgeon. Now he's in government. Just that."
"And your brother is fifteen, and headed to Oxford in a few years, by the looks of it?"
"Yes. He's very bright but very boring."
"Mmhmm. Are you bored often, Sherlock?"
Since they were the only two in the room and she was hardly talking to herself, Sherlock wondered why she kept using his name.
"Yes, Dr. Noble," he said back.
"What do you do to stop being bored?"
"I dunno. Play a game, Imagine something." She knows about the dog, give her something. She'll get suspicious. "Sometimes I do something—to get Dad's and Mycroft's attention."
Dr. Noble's eyes did something and Sherlock wondered if that hadn't been too much insight for a ten-year-old. Distraction was required. Sherlock made his lower lip tremble, screwed up his face, and attempted to cry by exerting facial pressure around his nose to induce tears.
"I just—Dad likes Mycroft, and they talk together and go out together, and I never get to go, and I was trying to help Mum so she and Dad would be proud of me, and do an experiment to be smart like Mycroft, and now he and Daddy HATE me!"
Sherlock had really gotten the fake tears to flow now, taking a leaf from his brother's playbook, so much that some of the tears might have been real. And it felt good, whether from release or from the satisfaction of tricking the psychologist he could never be sure.
And that, more than anything, was the problem. Sherlock Holmes could never go back and deduce whether or not he bad become a sociopath or whether he was born one—or if, even, it was still just a façade, bricked up from behind and made part of the initial structure, and extraordinarily well-developed persona.
He was never ordinary, after all, at anything.