"Mother, did you really have to invite him?"
"Did you really have to invite him?"
"Of course she invited me, she always invites me."
"She always invites me."
"I've been alive 7 years longer than you. I've been to more of these."
"Again, pulling the age card. Someone might think you're compensating for something, Mycroft."
"Do you always have to be like that?"
"What do you mean, 'like that'? I've always been 'like that'. Name one time when I haven't been 'like that'."
"I would say when you were a newborn, but no, you were irritating then, too."
"Still bitter because mummy paid more attention to me?"
"Of course she paid more attention to you, you hadn't moved to solid foods yet."
Sherlock picked a steak knife up off the table and twirled it between his fingers. "Boys!" exclaimed their mother, backing nervously away from the table.
"Mother!" exclaimed Sherlock, abruptly stopping the knife in order to stab it into the table.
"Look, Sherlock, you've upset Mother again."
"Look, Mycroft, you've ruined the table."
"I've ruined the table? I—you—" Mycroft sputtered.
"Yes, you, Mycroft. You insufferable—" Sherlock plucked the knife, embedded nearly two inches into the mahogany dining table, out of the wood.
"Nice jumper, Sherlock. Did you borrow it from John?"
"No, I did not borrow it from John. It was a…present."
"No, it was from Mother."
Sherlock swore under his breath and set down the knife.
"Sherlock! I will not have language like that in this house!"
"Sorry, Mother. Mycroft, do not insult our mother's knitting."
"Oh, you know it as well as I do. You're going to give that jumper to John as soon as you leave this house."
Sherlock did not reply.
"He's a…friend of mine," replied Sherlock quickly.
"A friend?" asked Mrs. Holmes incredulously, forgetting to be polite.
"Shut up!" exclaimed Sherlock. "Sorry, mother."
"Who's upsetting mother now?"
"Shut up, Mycroft. Please."
"Put down that steak knife, Sherlock!"
"No, I agree. Put down the bloody steak knife!"
"Sorry. Put down the steak knife. Please, Sherlock. You're upsetting mother."
Sherlock put down the steak knife but continued his verbal assault on Mycroft. "Oh, but I'm not the only one upsetting her!"
"What do you mean, you're not the only one upsetting her? You're the one brandishing the steak knife."
"Your marks in school always upset her!"
"Yours were no better."
"Yes they were, Mycroft. You're just denying it."
"Maybe my marks were…less than desirable, but only because I was focusing on extracurricular activities."
"You mean illegal activities."
"Oh, and you're so squeaky clean?"
"At least I never burned down a building."
Mycroft frowned. "I was never convicted."
"Oh, but we both know you did it!"
"At least I'm not the junkie at the table."
"You didn't bring that up!" Sherlock was holding the steak knife again.
For the first time that evening, Mycroft smiled. It was not a pleasant sight. "I did."
Sherlock rolled his eyes but did not reply.
"Please pass the pudding, Sherlock."
"Of course, dear brother."