In Small Ways

Disclaimer: Sadly not mine, but I thank Godtiss it's in good hands.

This is my first fanfic in quite a while and I've been toying with an idea about the Holmes brothers' childhood for goodness knows how long, so this will be a chronological series of snapshots into the foundation of their relationship and understanding. Feel free to comment me ideas for scenes you'd like to see, or sections of dialogue that I could integrate.

"We are not only our brother's keeper; in countless large and small ways, we are our brother's maker." - Bonaro Overstreet

Mycroft can recall the first time it happened with ease; ten years old, settling down at the foot of his bed with an old book that he'd been meaning to read for quite some time. He can definitely recall the moment his three year old terror of a brother made his way into his room, black, messy curls sticking up in all directions. In the vain hope that if he ignored him, he would simply vanish, Mycroft turned back to his book and tried to block out the shape of Sherlock drawing ever closer from his peripheral vision.

Though it was obvious at this point that his brother was nothing short of a genius (well, obvious to Mycroft anyway), it was a continual worry to his parents that there was something ever-so-slightly wrong with him. Other parents would proudly wax poetic about their little darling's flourishing conversation, laughing when their children tried to join in adult conversations and smiling when small mistakes were uttered. Sherlock however, had never even mumbled a single word. They had arrived at the point where nursery staff would ask politely if they might have a word with Mr and Mrs Holmes about their son, hinting gently that they might want to have someone take a look at him. Mycroft wasn't worried, of course. It should have been clear to anyone that instead of Sherlock being unable to speak, he simply had no desire to do so. He seemed perfectly content to wander around the grounds of the Holmes estate (often accompanied by a worried looking nanny or some such), occasionally poking at some odd thing he would find on the ground.

A light touch to Mycroft's knee drew him back to where he'd drifted off to; glancing down at Sherlock's bent head. A frown etched itself into his brow at this point, for that was something else his parents had noticed; Sherlock's aversion to any kind of contact. He shrank away when anyone tried to hug him or place a soft kiss to his forehead, only Sherlock's piercing gaze put a swift end to any thoughts his parents had about autism or something similar.

His small brother (so, so small) planted himself down next to Mycroft and looked up at him expectantly, his hand still resting on the crease of Mycroft's knee where he was sat cross-legged.

"It's on the anatomy of birds," Mycroft informed his brother, directing Sherlock's gaze to the book in his lap.

He wasn't expecting a response, at least not a verbal one, but was still surprised when Sherlock's hand lifted itself from his knee and stroked down the open page. Peering at his brother's face, Mycroft could only describe the expression he saw there as reverent.

"You do seem to have a certain fondness for animals these days." If by fondness he meant dragging in corpses of hedgehogs and crows every few days, staring at them intently until someone took them away from him, and ordered him to, quite thoroughly, wash his hands.

An almost painful sound erupted from his brother's throat then, a half-cough, half-choke of a gutter, before Sherlock turned his almost otherworldly face up to him and said, "Read."

What else was Mycroft to do but just that?

The entire volume was covered that night, hours swiftly passing between chapters as Mycroft's smooth voice echoed through the room. Sherlock fell asleep in his brother's arms then, an almost-smile quirking his lips up at the corners, Mycroft's hand running through his curls.

It was a few days later when Mycroft walked into the kitchen to find his younger brother sitting cross-legged under the table. He didn't even have to think about it as he clambered in there after him, leaning his back on one of the sturdy table legs and opening his arm out wide, Sherlock settling in the crook of his arm nicely. He met those soft, grey eyes with his own and said, "Read."

A/N That's the end of this instalment, I'm hoping to update pretty regularly, maybe even one or two scenes a day if I'm able. I really like the idea that Mycroft and Sherlock have this special understanding that sets them apart from others and that Mycroft is the only person, certainly in their childhood, who he would get any real comfort and understanding from.

Again, I don't know how long this series will be, but I guess that all depends on you guys. Comment me ideas for scenes and dialogue and I think it'll be interesting to make a little collection of their childhood.

I hope you enjoyed it!