The weather wasn't something he was used to. It was too warm for his liking; and for a park. Far too warm. The trees should be dead, though he knew that the trees were acclimatised to this particular weather.
He glanced down at the short sleeved shirt his mother had suggested he wear. He was going to burn out here, and it was going to be her fault for making him wear shorts and this awful shirt.
As was family tradition, the Holmes family had travelled overseas for their vacation. Mr Holmes had said it would help Mycroft and Sherlock broaden their horizons and learn more about the world around them. Mrs Holmes said it would do them good to get outside every once in a while, and what better way to do that than on a vacation.
Whilst Mycroft, being the responsible fifteen year old boy that he was, accepted this fact and went along with it in order to please his parents, Sherlock, the tyrannical nine year old, was rather resentful of these holidays. Not because he had to leave the comfort of his own home; not because he wasn't allowed to bring his chemistry set with him; not even because he had to share a room with Mycroft (though that was a rather awful experience). He detested these voyages for the sole purpose that they were so very boring. Even to a nine year old!
The Holmes family had spent less than a day in the state of New Jersey and already Sherlock was pouting.
"Sherlock, stop that. You know how much Mummy hates to see you upset." Mycroft purposely bumped into his little brother in order to gain his attention. Sherlock was normally off in his own little world, and would require something more than a few words in order to snap him back to reality. "If she hated it so much, she wouldn't make me come here." Sherlock responded. His relationship with his brother was a tedious connection that he had to abstain from cutting as he was family. He lived in the same house as his brother, so it would be hard to avoid him. It would also cause his mother grief, and Sherlock hated making his mother upset. "Any other nine year old would love to travel overseas brother dear. Do try to enjoy it. If not for your own sake, then for the others around you." Mycroft then stepped over to his father who was examining a spider web of some sort. Sherlock huffed and crossed his arms over his chest. There were children in the park; running and playing, and generally making noise. He didn't want any part of it. Looking around, he found that his mother had joined his brother and father, and were currently uninterested as to his whereabouts. Sherlock contemplated as to whether he could explore outside of the park, but decided against it. His father would be displeased and his mother upset. He really did love his parents, even if he didn't show it often enough. It was best not to upset them then.
Seeing an unoccupied tree near by, Sherlock shuffled over to the trunk and sat himself on the grass; his back leaning against the trunk. It wasn't exactly comfortable, but it would do. He'd been in far discomfort during one of his latest experiments; could he fold himself into a box that was half his size (only just, though it was wise not to eat beforehand). Finding a small rock nearby, he picked it up and fiddled with it, keeping his hand preoccupied.
He spent ten minutes under that tree dissecting the life's of the children around him. One had a sick mother who wasn't going to be around for Christmas. Another had just received a new puppy; evident from the copious amounts of hair on his jacket.
This was a favourite game of Sherlock's. It was mostly because he was an excellent player. But it also irked his brother, and in any case, that was a clear win to the smaller Holmes. His brother tried to play that game with him once, but after having his education's life story laid out before him, had decided to bypass that game for a while.
Sherlock didn't mind. It just gave him a bigger lead.
Sherlock was just about to give up and go cause some sort of chaos when something caught his eye. A girl - curly brown hair, fairly short, petite frame - was standing with what Sherlock could only describe as 'soon to be married'. It wasn't the girl in particular that caught his eye though. She was pretty, most definitely, but Sherlock was more interested in what the girl was doing.
She seemed to be reaching for the man's pocket; a look of concentration present on her face. Carefully her hand made its way into the pocket and Sherlock couldn't help but hold his breath for the girl. Would she get caught?
A few seconds later, her hand reappeared from the depths of the pocket, and Sherlock found himself breathing again. In her hand was a small box; from where he was sat, Sherlock couldn't quite make out anything particular about the box, but knew it was a box all the same. He predicted from the size it was holding something similar to a ring. The girl, in her frilly red dress, gave a small triumphant grin before rushing away towards a bench.
Sherlock, being the curious boy he was, stood, pocketed the rock, and then began cautiously making his way over to the bench. He didn't want to startle her in case she ran; his answers would never be answered then.
"So he's not your dad then?" the question made the girl jump and the prize she had so recently acquired was shoved into the folds of her dress. Looking up, she saw a tall-ish, dark haired boy standing in front of her.
"Yes he is." the boy shook his head with a small quirk of his lips.
"No he's not. You would have asked otherwise." Knowing she had been caught out, and by a boy nonetheless, the girl went on the defensive. "Where are you from?"
"London. Why did you take it?"
"Take what?. Why are you here?"
"Vacation. Stop answering my questions with questions."
"Stop answering mine with questions." She smiled sweetly. Sherlock crossed his arms over his chest. "You're awfully pale aren't you?" the girl stared at his arm in fascination. Sherlock uncrossed his arms and rearranged them behind his back. "What's your name?"
"Amanda" was the response. "You?"
"Sher- Tom." He quickly righted his words. He knew her name wasn't Amanda; if she wasn't going to answer his questions, he wasn't going to answer hers. The few beforehand didn't count.
"Hmm..." Amanda tapped her finger against her lip. Her eyes full of mischief. "Why don't i believe you?"
"Why don't i believe you?" Sherlock, currently Tom, answered.
The conversation would have been continued if it hadn't been for his brother's ill timing.
"Sherlock! Let's go!"
Amanda gave a small giggle. "I thought your name was Tom?"
"Sure it is."
Reluctantly Sherlock removed himself from the bench. Amanda stayed put. "Will you give it back to the man?" Sherlock asked the sitting girl. "Perhaps." was the mysterious answer.
"I could tell him." Sherlock supplied.
"But you won't" the girl grinned. "Would you like to know why?"
"Because your brother is about to come collect you." Sure enough, there was Mycroft. Striding across the grass towards them. Really his timing was appalling. Sherlock's shoulders drooped slightly; he's been having an interesting conversation for once. And with another person for once! "Goodbye Sher- Tom" Amanda waved impishly. Sherlock didn't dignify her with a response, he was already trudging over to his brother.
"Did you make a new friend Sherlock?" Mycroft asked as he lead his brother back to their parents. Mummy was beginning to worry about them. "No. Just a mystery." Sherlock replied with a shake of his curls. Mycroft smiled indulgently. "Of course. Silly me."
As they met up with their parents, Sherlock couldn't help but turn back towards the bench to see if the girl was still there. She was. Sherlock's small smile and tentative wave was exchanged for a blush and a giggle from Amanda. "What are you looking at Sherlock?" his mother queried. Upon realising he had drawn attention to himself, Sherlock responded with a 'nothing Mummy' and continued walking with the rest of the group.
Once again, Sherlock pouted and shoved his hands into his pockets; only to freeze.
His rock was gone.
He pulled out his hand, and in place of the rock was a small box. Quickly, but inconspicuously, opening it, an engagement ring greeted him. When had she slipped that into his pocket? And why didn't he notice? He snapped the box shut and crammed it into his pocket once again. It wasn't right to keep it, he knew that. But it would make a lovely memento of his vacation.
As he rushed to catch up to his family Sherlock came to a decision. He was going to learn how to pick pocket others and turn it into an art. After all, it could come in handy one day. And if he ever ran into 'Amanda' again, they could start a whole new game…