==The Christmas Shoes==

Sir, I wanna buy these shoes

For my mama, please

It's Christmas Eve

And these shoes are just her size

Young Mycroft Holmes tucked the lacy shawl under his arm and headed for the counter. A boy of twelve or thirteen was already there with a pair of shoes as he counted out his money, so Mycroft waited and let his mind drift.

Normally, Sherlock would be with him to buy his own gift for Mother, but this year, the boy had something different in mind. He'd told Mycroft that he intended to create a perfume for Mother with his chemicals, initiating an argument over the success of the venture. Mycroft had been privy to all twenty-three of his younger brother's malodorous failures since October and, incredibly enough, Sherlock's ultimate triumph.

He had to admit that it was quite a feat for a ten-year-old, even a Holmes ten-year-old.

His attention was pulled back to the present by the pleas of the boy in front of him. "Please, sir, it's Christmas…"

"I'm sorry, lad," said the clerk, "but you haven't got enough money."

Mycroft ran a swift analysis of the boy. Middle-class, of Scottish descent, buying a gift for his mother, and the mother was…

"But, sir, this my mum's last Christmas!"

The clerk shook his head. "I can't make exceptions, my boy. I'm sorry."

The boy looked utterly crushed. "Yes, sir," he murmured, pulling the shoes—dancing slippers—off the counter.

"Now wait a moment," Mycroft spoke up, laying a hand on the lad's arm. The younger boy looked up at him in surprise, and Mycroft gazed down at him kindly. "How much more money do you need, young sir?"

Still surprised, the boy told him.

Without a moment's hesitation, Mycroft pulled out the correct amount out of his wallet and pressed into the boy's hand. "Take it."

The boy's hazel eyes widened. "Sir, I cannae let you do that!" he protested in an abruptly Scottish brogue.

"You need the money; now take it," Mycroft said firmly, with all the authority one had to develop to keep Sherlock Holmes under control. "Go on. Give your mother her gift with my compliments."

The hazel eyes misted over, and he didn't speak—or couldn't speak, which was more likely—for half a minute. At last: "God bless you, sir."

Mycroft left the shop feeling the solemnity of the season more profoundly than he had all month. The boy's gift had been a gift of love. Christmas itself marked the giving of the Creator's greatest gift of love: His own Son.

When the young man returned home, not even young Sherlock could deduce why his older brother was so pensive.

Mycroft Holmes never forgot that Christmas of 1869, especially his mother's delighted surprise at Sherlock's homemade gift. But he did push it to the back of his mind to make room for more important things. Time passed, and he went from being a governmental bookkeeper to being the government itself. But one event in the summer '88, nearly two decades later, brought that season back to full memory.

Sherlock was introducing his friend and roommate Dr. John Watson, of whom Mycroft, of course, already knew a good deal. But he was struck with a sudden flash of recognition, and his mind worked speedily to identify the vaguely familiar face.

It was the eyes that did it. Those same warm, hazel eyes.

"I am glad to meet you, sir," said Mycroft, smiling and extending his hand. "I hear of Sherlock everywhere since you became his chronicler." He wouldn't introduce himself as the young man who'd given young John Watson the money he needed to buy his mother those dancing slippers. The Doctor obviously did not recognize him—Mycroft had gained quite a lot of weight since his late teens—and Mycroft wouldn't dredge up possibly painful memories.

But he would tell Sherlock about it someday, meeting his brother's best friend all those years ago on Christmas Eve…

Could you hurry, sir?

Daddy says there's not much time

You see, she's been sick for quite a while

And I know these shoes will make her smile

And I want her to look beautiful

If Mama meets Jesus tonight


Author's Note:

The idea struck me just yesterday morning, and I thought, "Oh wow, that'd be great!" I hope you think so, too! It would be just like Watson to do that for his mother, and I think it would be like Mycroft to help him out. =)

God bless you all, and may you have a very Merry Christmas!

Please review!