AN: My first Sherlock fic, and it's a kid!fic, what am I thinking. But this plot bunny hopped in the shower with me (gross) and I had to write it.
Just a note, I am not British, but from what I understand in England, what we in the US would call a private school, they call a "public school"; what in the US is called a public school, in the UK is called a "state school." I think.
Anyway enjoy! Slightly more to come later c:
Chapter 1: A very eventful lunch
Mycroft Holmes, aged 17 and quite ready to be done with adolescent education, sat in a crowded and noisy cafeteria, picking delicately at his box lunch. Of course on a usual day he would be eating in the comforts of his public school's luxurious dining hall, where students behaved in a more civilized manner and the tables were made of real wood. As it was, he was forced into this pedestrian setting on a field trip, one which several schools (both public and state, to his chagrin) had been invited to attend. They were to see the Prime Minister speak, as part of his attempt to seem more family-oriented included addressing students as though they had any fully formed opinions or political sway. Mycroft sniffed indignantly at the scene.
He was sitting with several of his school mates, none of them talking much as they could hardly hope to be heard over the din of the state school children. Lunch had been provided courtesy of the Prime Minister, as an attempt no doubt to placate the students before his soporific speech, but none of Mycroft's gang had taken the politician up on that offer. They opted instead to bring far nicer meals along, which their nannies or (in rare cases) mothers had made for them. Mycroft himself had a tin of roast chicken, peas and carrots (untouched) on the side, a butter roll and a fruit tart for dessert.
The Prime Minister had offered peanut butter sandwiches. The state school kids were eating them like animals.
Looking across the hall past unruly throngs of children seated on uncomfortable plastic benches, Mycroft spied a solitary figure eating his lunch slowly and methodically. Mycroft could just make out his brother's neat mop of curly black hair through the crowd, and shifted his position slightly so as to spy on the boy more effectively.
Alone. As he suspected.
Sherlock didn't seem to have any friends his own age. Or, for that matter, any friends at all. The middle school his brother attended was attached to Mycroft's own high school, and he would find himself at break times wandering over to check on Sherlock's social situation. It was so very vital to make good friends in school, ones with bright futures and important parents. Mycroft's own group of mates were carefully selected based on how successful he deemed them to become in the future.
"What are you staring at, My?" Mycroft was snapped out of his reverie by Philip who was seated next to him. Philip had quite a mind for business, and his father sat on the board of a lucrative oil company.
"It's that weird brother of his," sneered Harold, whose grandfather owned the Pilkington Glass Company. Mycroft decided suddenly that Pilkington Glass wasn't really all that important after all.
"I would rather you keep your idiotic presumptions to yourself, Harold," he replied coolly. "They really do nothing to dispel the rumors that you received a 3 on your Maths exam."
Harold's cheeks flushed and he buried his nose back in his lasagna.
Mycroft went back to observing his brother (making sure he ate, which was a self-appointed task he bore) when a particularly raucous sound came suddenly from the back of the cafeteria.
It was the school from the East End, which had been a large contributor to the noise throughout the meal, but which had now collapsed into full on bedlam. It appeared as though two of the boys from the table were about to quarrel, and chants of "Fight! Fight!" came from a circle of students surrounding them. The larger of the two, wearing a leather jacket and sporting a hideous buzz cut, spit onto the ground vehemently then wiped his mouth. His opponent was no small teenager either, and was sporting only a white tank top though it was October. They were sizing each other up like wild beasts, shoving and hurling insults as they prepared for altercation.
Mycroft looked immediately to the teachers, but the adults from the East End didn't seem to think this scuffle worthy of their attention. The supervisors from other schools looked on with worry lines creasing their faces, but seemed to be too frightened to step in.
"They certainly make them well in East London, eh?" said Julian snidely (Julian was a prat but his father was a High Court judge). Mycroft gave a humorless smirk, keeping his eyes on the ensuing chaos, memorizing details in case he was asked to be a witness later.
The first punch landed hard on the jaw of the tank topped boy, and with that blow the fight was on. They were tearing at each other, grunting and growling, clearly audible in the cafeteria as all other conversation had stopped. Every student was watching with fear and wonder as the two proceeded to destroy each other's faces.
The sudden, gruff shout was enough to make most of the cafeteria look away from the carnage, but not quite enough to interrupt the violence. From the East End mob emerged a boy, no older than Mycroft himself, pushing his way past his fellow students to place himself between the fighters. He was lean and scrappy-looking, but there was something solid and firm about him, a presence Mycroft could not quite describe, but which had an immediate effect on the room.
"Quit acting like bloody twats and sit the fuck down," the boy growled, glaring intently at the fighters with large, brown eyes. He was considerably smaller than both of them, but held himself with such confidence that he didn't seem at any disadvantage. The buzz cut boy had a bloody nose, and tank top lad was sporting a black eye and a split lip. His shirt was torn slightly as well, and neither teen looked ready to quit. They glared down at the newcomer, and Mycroft felt a twitch of worry for his safety.
"Shove off, Lestrade," growled tank top, wiping blood from his mouth. He took a menacing step towards the peacekeeper and Mycroft flinched in spite of himself.
Lestrade held his ground though, facing tank top head on.
"You two can beat the living shit out of each other later," he said in a low, commanding voice. "But you're in a room full of kids for Christ's sake. They don't need to see you bleed out on the floor you dumb fucks."
Buzz cut snarled, but retreated slightly. With a rude hand gesture, he swore at his adversary and made some vague threats regarding future beatings. Tank top returned the gesture, gave Lestrade an angry shove and sat down in a huff.
As the low rumble of casual voices filled the hall again, the drama safely passed, Mycroft continued to observe the unexpected peacemaker, who was making his way back to his own seat.
He had dark hair, grown out slightly longer than Mycroft thought was proper. Something about the boy made Mycroft's insides flutter uncomfortably, and he swallowed hard at the unfamiliar feeling. He suspected the chicken was upsetting his stomach.
The boy was laughing with his friends now, sitting back down and joining in the noisy conversation of his table, making Mycroft feel the slightest twinge of jealousy. He watched the back of Lestrade's head for a long moment, not consciously realizing that he had committed the boy's face to memory, every single detail of it. It was a Holmes family talent.
Mycroft was roused from his daydream as a voice from behind him stated, "Paulette gave me your dessert."
Mycroft looked around quickly to see Sherlock looming over him, standing over his shoulder and brandishing a puff pastry wrapped in a napkin, a look of frustration on his young face.
"What?" Mycroft tried to ignore the stares from his classmates. Everyone at the school knew Sherlock was a bit odd.
"Paulette. She gave me a puff pastry. I despise puff pastries. She was absent-minded this morning, her daughter is ill."
Mycroft of course had noticed their nanny's tired vacancy that day, but only Sherlock ever took the extra effort to deduce precisely the cause.
"What did she give you?" Sherlock insisted, brandishing the offending pastry once more in Mycroft's face.
"A…a strawberry tart," he replied, slightly hesitantly.
"There, you see. Clearly she gave you mine by mistake."
"Well, perhaps you'd best just eat your puff pastry, I think you'll find you enjoy it," Mycroft said evasively.
"Where is the strawberry tart?" Sherlock peered around Mycroft's shoulder suspiciously.
Mycroft sighed. "I've already eaten it Sherlock. Just eat your pastry."
The look of outrage on Sherlock's face in no way matched the offense, but Mycroft felt a twinge of guilt anyway.
"I can't eat the pastry, I hate them!" gasped the younger Holmes.
Mycroft, still hoping (in vain) to avoid a scene, lowered his voice in an attempt to calm Sherlock down.
"Well I can't do anything about it now, can I? I'll make sure mummy knows to give you two strawberry tarts tonight, does that sound fair?"
"No, that sounds excessive," Sherlock sneered. "I don't want to end up looking like you do I? Two desserts a night is the reason mummy had to buy you a bigger uniform last week, isn't it Mycroft?" he announced loudly.
Mycroft's face burned with embarrassment and rage. He wanted nothing more than to strangle his stupid little brother and wipe that infuriatingly smug look off his face once and for all.
Satisfied that his job punishing Mycroft was done, Sherlock stood with a smile and gave an overly dramatic spin on his heel to mark his exit from the table.
Unfortunately for the self-satisfied tween, his timing was not the best. As he turned, he ran smack-dab into a boy carrying his lunch tray, sending him crashing to the ground with a half-full bowl of potato salad smeared across his right side.
The cafeteria buzz stopped for the second time that afternoon and as if in an effort to make up for the anticlimax of the fight, the reaction to Sherlock's embarrassing spill seemed double fold. Laughter peeled throughout the hall and all eyes watched as Sherlock attempted to regain composure, slipped in more spilt potato salad and landed on his butt, coating his trousers in the goopy mess.
An objective part of Mycroft felt that his little brother deserved this. It was karmic payback; it was his comeuppance for being an insufferable snot.
But words drifted into his ears from his classmates, words like "little freak" and "retard," and despite himself, Mycroft felt the anger Sherlock had inspired disappear in favor of some base fraternal instinct to protect.
So as Sherlock finally rose and walked (as briskly as he could without actually running) out of the cafeteria, Mycroft followed, giving his brother a wide berth.
The laughter faded behind him as he entered the foyer outside, which also held the toilets. With grim determination, Mycroft entered the men's room.
It was silent, and none of the stalls appeared occupied. But Mycroft Holmes knew better.
"Sherlock," he said, his soft voice echoing with the natural acoustics of the room. "I know you're here. Please save me the indignity of peering beneath the stall doors."
A soft muffled noise was made, and Mycroft walked softly and deliberately towards the source. He creaked the stall door open to reveal an impossibly small, shaking form, crouched on the lip of the toilet so as to hide his feet from view.
Sherlock's eyes and cheeks were red, though he made a valiant effort to stop crying at the appearance of his brother. He composed his face and glared daggers.
"Now, now," Mycroft said calmly, stepping towards the tiny bundle of frustration. "Come down from there, let's get you cleaned up."
Sherlock, surprisingly, obeyed. Though his face was still a mask of anger covering up for his humiliation, he allowed Mycroft to guide him to the sink with a gentle hand on the square of his back.
He sniffed loudly, staring into the mirror, and Mycroft set about wetting paper napkins. He hesitated, but decided he might as well try some sort of 'talk'. After all, wasn't that part of his job as a big brother?
"You know of course that it does not matter in the slightest what anyone thinks of you," he said quietly, wiping potato sludge off of Sherlock's shoulders. "None of them have half the brains you've got anyway." He knew he'd live to regret saying that, but it couldn't be helped.
Sherlock's face remained impassive. He blinked unbidden tears from his eyes, and gave a sigh.
"Mummy's going to be very cross with me," he said matter-of-factly. "This stain won't be removable; she'll have to buy me a new uniform." He frowned.
"Well," Mycroft said heavily, "As you so very kindly reminded me, she's had to buy me a new one as well, so I've warmed her up to the idea." He offered Sherlock a small smile. "New suits for all!"
Sherlock did not return the smile, but sniffed again, drawing his shoulders up.
With gentle care, Mycroft wiped away any evidence of food from Sherlock's uniform and face, even plucking bits of potato from his hair. Sherlock remained silent as his brother worked, retreating into his mind as he so often did.
It was an almost meditative scene, which lasted a serene five minutes before it was interrupted suddenly by a bang. The bathroom door was flung open and in came a very anxious looking boy.
He was roughly Sherlock's age if Mycroft had to guess, though he looked younger as he was rather short. His sandy blonde hair was cut neatly, but he wore no uniform, so not one of Sherlock's classmates come to tease him. Mycroft reduced his internal threat level to yellow.
"Hey!" the boy said awkwardly, seeming unsure which Holmes brother to address. "I, er, I just wanted to say I'm so sorry about all that," he gestured vaguely behind him, and Mycroft realized who he was. It was the boy Sherlock had collided with, the owner of the potato salad still clinging stubbornly to Sherlock's trousers.
"It was totally my fault, I didn't see you there and…" the sandy-haired boy continued. He looked up expectantly. "…Sorry?"
Mycroft was prepared to handle the acceptance of the apology and subsequent polite return of said apology, as standard social niceties had never been his brother's strong suit. To his surprise however, Sherlock drew his gaze away from his inner thoughts and turned to face the boy.
"It's quite alright," he said seriously. "And…I'm sorry, as well. If you'd been planning on eating that." He said quietly. He said sincerely. Mycroft was speechless. He, his mum and a team of no less than 5 different nannies had all been trying (unsuccessfully) to get a sincere apology out Sherlock Holmes since he was first able to form words. And here he was now, giving one away to some stranger. Mycroft didn't know whether to be proud or offended.
The boy shook his head ardently. "No, no I was finished. It was-"
With another bang, the bathroom door was thrown open once more, and this time a furious teacher popped his head in.
"Oy! You lot!" he shouted (he was clearly not from a public school), "The speech is starting in five minutes, what do you think you're doing in here? Get your butts into the auditorium this instant!"
Mycroft scurried to obey, rushing out the door which the teacher held open angrily. He couldn't be sure, but as he dashed down the foyer to the auditorium, he thought he heard two small voices from behind him say:
"I'm John, by the way."
"Nice to meet you, Sherlock."