Sorry for the wait, I hope that this monster makes up for it. Lots of love, enjoy everyone! Unbeta'd as usual and I love reviews!

With suicide still on his mind, and visits with Giorgio almost every other day, Sherlock was nowhere near mentally prepared when Mycroft handed him a box of condoms, lube, and gave him a sick smile, telling him, "Giorgio expects you at his flat at eight tomorrow night, I expect you to be prepared."

After being quiet and good and demure for months, and with exams just around the corner, Sherlock finally lost it.

"I am not sleeping with him! You can't sell me like I'm nothing!" he screamed, throwing the items across the room towards the piano Mycroft had recently purchased. Sherlock had been mocking him ruthlessly about his lack of talent and played violin over top of him every time he sat down at it. Mycroft had tried to destroy Sherlock's instrument but had been baffled when he simply could not find the thing, that had infuriated him further and left Sherlock with a bloody nose and a smile.

At his screaming and retaliation Sherlock found himself pinned to the floor by the back of his neck, Mycroft sitting astride his lower back and shoving his chin down until it bruised. "I'm not selling you. I'm telling you to do this. I want him to trust you and he is not expecting this gesture just yet in your ibudding/i little romance. Oh he thinks you're smitten, always asks me why his 'little scholar' wants to spend time with an old dog like him. I make things up as we go but he is so thoroughly convinced of your affections that I want you to now convince him these are true. Take away all the doubt. Let him fuck you and he will let you in."

"No, you can't ask that, you can't make me," Sherlock begged. He'd only ever had one consensual sex partner, Astrid, and he was still with her, even though they hadn't seen one another since the Isle and they were growing apart. She was becoming unable to deal with the situation, unable to help and so far away. Since he had stopped calling, had been unable to call really, the gap had begun to form. Soon, both of them knew, it was just going to fail but for now he was hers and he wouldn't cheat. Any way you spelt it out, that was what sex with Giorgio would be.

"It's just a fuck. You know how, you're legal age and Giorgio does just shower you with gifts…" Mycroft tried to ply Sherlock with the fact that someone actually did love him.

Sherlock squirmed and tried to get Mycroft off, his stomach knotting until he felt he was going to vomit. "I don't want him. I don't. I'm with…" he stopped and Mycroft's eyes widened.

"You're still with that whore?!" he demanded. Sherlock had been so careful. Now it was ruined. "You stupid fuck! You think she won't find out you're pretending?"

Sherlock struggled in earnest now, trying to get Mycroft to leave off as he started to cry. Tears came so easily to him now, it was devastating to listen to Mycroft scorn and berate him. He didn't want to ask what he was pretending at but he knew Mycroft would tell him even if he remained quiet.

"She's going to find out you're a cock sucking whore," Mycroft snarled at him, "that you don't like sweet girls with perky breasts but men with cocks harder than your own."

"Shut up!" Sherlock snarled up at his brother. He was still so confused about his sexuality, after so many years of being twisted around by so many in his life. He knew he was sexually attracted to Astrid though, had proven it to himself when he had been in a worse state of confusion over the opposite sex.

"Maybe I should call her and tell her? Hmm? Does she know about how many knobs you've ridden on?"

"OF COURSE SHE DOES!" Sherlock screamed, so loudly his larynx felt like it would rupture. Mycroft stilled completely, shocked that Sherlock had actually admitted these things to another person. The fact he hadn't kept them secreted and locked up was astonishing. Mycroft knew that mummy knew, because she had deduced it or Sherlock had told her was up for discussion. Mycroft also assumed that mummy had told Grandfather and that Grandfather had talked with Sherlock. But the idea that Sherlock had verbalized to a human being with no prior knowledge he had been abused was terrifying for Mycroft. It meant he might do it again.

Mycroft had planned on ruining Sherlock's relationship with Astrid but instead he climbed off Sherlock's hips, told him, "You will be having relations with Giorgio," as he went to his office to think. Sherlock was stronger than he first had thought and that terrified him.

There was no way out of sex with Giorgio. That had been made perfectly and devastatingly clear to Sherlock after Mycroft had finished his think. So Sherlock had left the flat for 'cigarettes' and called Astrid on a payphone. Glancing around him he swallowed hard, hands shaking as he dialed and the phone started to ring. Mycroft had eyes everywhere, it wasn't just paranoia, it was Sherlock's reality.

„Hallo?" Astrid's roommate Sabine answered the phone.

Sherlock wiped his watery eyes on the back of one hand and mumbled out, „Hallo, Sabine. Es Sherlock. Ist… Astrid ist in?"

„Ja, ein minuten," Sabine told him, shouting to Astrid, „Es ist dein Freund! Sherlock!"

„Danke," Astrid said quickly and after a moment she was on the other end, "Hey Sherlock. How are you?"

Sherlock opened his mouth to say OK and then stopped, he sighed, chewing at his lip before admitting, "Bad."

"What's happened?" Astrid asked, shuffling over with the phone to her bed and sitting, hunkering down to take the mental blows she knew were coming. "Love it scares me when you say that. Talk to me."

Sherlock swallowed past the lump in his throat, resting against the side of the phone booth and popping the collar up on his coat. "It's Mycroft. It's… well it's always Mycroft."

"I know… I told you I could get my dad involved. I know you don't want him to but…"

"No please, I don't want to drag him in. He's got enough to worry about, your brothers and all." Sherlock couldn't imagine the shame that would follow from Astrid's parents knowing about his life. They would hate him, never let her see him again when they knew what a whore he was.

Astrid only just held back a sigh, telling Sherlock, "I'm this close to just telling him myself. He might not be as 'connected' as Mycroft is but he's got money. He's got some influence."

"I know, and I appreciate it, Azzy, I do," Sherlock told her, looking left and right again to confirm no one had followed. "He wants me to do something. For Queen and country as it were."

"Really?" Astrid said with a snort, "Sherlock. You aren't making sense. I'm scared and your brother's a twat. What's he making you do? I'm 300 miles away but I'm not invalid. I can help." Sherlock didn't believe that for a moment. No one could help. That was why he was calling her if he actually thought about it. He needed to talk to her at least one last time.

"There's a man. An important one… and…" Sherlock stopped talking, unable to say the rest as tears started to fall from his eyes. He felt pathetic, standing in a phone booth crying in the middle of the night. He was more afraid of a policeman walking by and asking him if he was alright than Mycroft or his spies. "I just can't do it, Azzy. I can't and I won't."

"What won't you do?" Astrid pressed, needing some kind of answer. "What's he making you do?"

"I can't do this to iyou/i. Not anymore, it's not fair…"

"Don't try this martyr shite on me, Sherlock," Astrid interrupted, her voice was firm if not a little bit icy. "I know it's not bloody fair. What we're going through as a couple, what I'm going through worrying myself sick over you, and especially what your brother is doing to you. Now I don't get it. I don't. I don't really get why you just don't leave but I know you… you're smart, and so if you can't think of a way out then I don't really know what options you have. But don't you go throwing everything good away because this hurts. Yeah, it hurts, it hurts a lot, but I am not throwing you out so don't do the same to me." By the end of her rant Astrid was just on the side of shouting and Sherlock was crying even harder.

"You are better off without me… and I don't want you feeling guilty," Sherlock explained to her. "I love you, Astrid. But I can't do any of this anymore."

"What can't you do anymore, Sherlock? You're scaring me," Astrid demanded, her voice was cracking along with Sherlock's.

Sherlock sobbed, shaking his head back and forth and telling her, "I can't carry on. I can't live with this, not with what he wants me to do. I promised myself I wouldn't be his iwhore/i again. Just please don't hate me. I love you, please don't hate me."

"I could never hate you but you're scaring me, what are you talking about? Are you going to hurt yourself, Sherlock?" Astrid asked, her voice finally breaking as she sobbed.

"Maybe… I don't know. I just don't want you to worry," Sherlock said, the phone beeped and he growled at it, shoving in another pound to keep talking. "I don't have much more time. I only brought a few pounds. I'm sorry."

"It's ok, but promise me, ipromise/i you won't hurt yourself. If you feel desperate, this bad I want you to go to the police. Tell them what's happened. Be brave, Sherlock. Just don't hurt yourself."

Sherlock hit his head against the glass of the phone booth, his eyes clenched shut, begging Astrid, "Please don't make me promise that."

"No. You will promise it right now because there is an end to this but not with you hurting yourself. Not with you dying. You. Are. Too. Good. For. This."

Sherlock didn't agree but he couldn't break Astrid's heart like this either, he couldn't have her hate him too. "I promise…" he finally told her.

"Thank you… when will you call me again. I want a date. I want to know you're going to keep going because whatever is happening, you can get through it. I know he has done horrible things, please Sherlock, just let me help. Let me call my da!"

Sherlock shook his head no and told Astrid, "I'm just being stupid… I'm sorry. I love you so much. I won't hurt myself… but if I do, then don't hate me. Please."

"I could never hate you but you are not allowed to hurt yourself. Sherlock for Christ sakes you're better than this!"

There was a long pause where neither said anything, the phone asked for more money and Sherlock shoved in a few more coins. He sighed, telling Astrid, "A week. I'll call you back in a week."

"Thank you. I love you, Sherlock," Astrid told him, "I know it's expensive to call and that you can't receive letters… this is all so much."

"You can leave," Sherlock told her, genuine and honest. "I wouldn't blame you."

"I know," Astrid replied, sounding tired and worn to the bone. "Just remember, love, you're so much better than this. All of this."

The phone warned Sherlock again that he was running out of time and he had no coins left to feed it. He wiped his eyes, clenching them shut tight before whispering, "I'm really not."

With that he hung up.

Sherlock scrubbed his hands over his face a few times and shook himself up and down. He had been planning on killing himself, had everything ready. The damn letter to the police was in his back pocket. But Astrid had made him promise and even though it made him angry that she had gotten him to he couldn't break the promise made. He slunk home slowly, stopping to buy cigarettes on the way, because returning without them would make Mycroft more than aware that he had not been doing what he'd said.

After paying for the cigarettes he had some pocket change left and went to a different payphone nearer the flat. He dialed their home number and waited for Mycroft to pick up, already lighting up a cigarette as he listened to the rings.

"Mycroft Holmes speaking," Mycroft answered.

"It's me," Sherlock said, starting to open his mouth to say something else when Mycroft interrupted.

He screamed at his little brother, "Where have you been? Cigarettes take approximately ten minutes, fifteen if you walk to the store that sells them cheap. It has been forty minutes!"

"I didn't want to see your fucking face," Sherlock snapped back at Mycroft, blushing a bit at how angry and childish he sounded. "I'm going to be home by two. Don't try to find me. Don't send a car. Don't send your cavalry. You want me to go anywhere near Giorgio tomorrow then you give me that."

Mycroft was quiet for a moment, Sherlock able to just make out the sound of his jaw clenching and teeth scraping together. "If you are even a minute late there will be consequences."

"That's nice," Sherlock told him nonchalantly. Mycroft scoffed at Sherlock's attitude but before he could say anything more Sherlock had hung up on him.

Leaving the phone booth he just started to walk, needing to get his racing heart under control because as of now it felt it would jump out his chest.

Sherlock sobbed the whole way to Giorgio's flat the next day. Mycroft just rolled his eyes, he'd brought Baynes along to ensure Sherlock didn't bolt but he ended up being very helpful in calming Sherlock down, giving him tissues and telling him that what he was doing was important and brave. Mycroft hated that he was praising his brother for being a pawn placed by him but it was helping so he held his tongue.

"Please don't make me," Sherlock begged of his brother, having no idea that Giorgio did not know he was going to propose sex tonight, would think it was a surprise. He had been coached on just what Giorgio 'wanted' but didn't know it was not expected.

"It has already been done. You've done this before. Now get out of the car or I'll push you out myself." Mycroft couldn't make eye contact with Sherlock and Sherlock couldn't make himself move. He started to cry again and Baynes was drying his eyes.

"Come on now, shh, it's ok. You'll do great. Now you have to put on your game face, you can't cry like that," he got Sherlock to get out of the car and before Sherlock could get back in the car was pulling away, not coming back until the next morning.

Sherlock hadn't been to Giorgio's flat many times. Mainly they went out on their dates, but he had been pushing more and more for Sherlock to come over and Sherlock had known for a while now he couldn't keep sex from him for much longer without leaving completely. He took a deep breath, and while many people outside his situation would say he had a choice there was none for Sherlock to make. He was following an instruction that was non-negotiable in the world he existed in.

The concierge welcomed him and let him enter; going up to Giorgio's flat with shaking hands, a packet of lube in one pocket of his jeans and a line of rubbers in the other. Reaching his floor he went to the flat and knocked on the door lightly, very frightened, not knowing what kind of lover Giorgio was and completely incapable of deducing sex. He knew what kind of breakfast cereal Giorgio ate but didn't know if he was cruel in bed or not.

Giorgio answered the door and smiled at Sherlock, gesturing wildly for him to come in, "My Sherlock, I'm so happy you could come." Sherlock smiled back and nodded, entering and toing off his shoes and handing Giorgio his jacket. Giorgio got him red wine and took him into the casual living room where he sat on one end of the couch and Sherlock on the other, one cushion between them. "How is school, my darling?"

"Alright. Lectures can be boring…" Sherlock said flippantly of the subject, even though it was a very safe subject. He wished Giorgio would just take what he said he would, having no idea that Mycroft had set Sherlock up to initiate sexual contact not the other way around.

"You go to them though, too smart to flunk out for skipping," Giorgio told Sherlock and he nodded his head yes. "Want to watch television? I know Mycroft and he's probably one of those types that don't have one in the house."

Sherlock chuckled a bit at that, genuine in his reaction and telling him, "He has a telly but he doesn't watch much and I spend most of my time out or in my room."

"You don't have the best relationship with your brother, do you pet?" Giorgio asked as he put on the telly but ignored it in favour of talking to Sherlock, using it as background noise.

"Not really," he sighed, not sure what to admit or talk about. "Things have not been good since my mum needed to go into care and my father has opted out of our lives. I haven't seen him in months and Mycroft doesn't really talk to him anymore either."

"He told me about your… circumstance… with your guardianship," Giorgio admitted and Sherlock flushed hot red, hating when people found out. It made him feel like a child in their eyes. "It is alright. I understand that bad things happen, and that it is non-permanent anyway. No need to be embarrassed."

"Thanks, I just don't like when he tells people," Sherlock told Giorgio, sipping a good gulp of his wine.

Giorgio rest his head on his closed fist and shook his head, "Why do you come to me when I call? Make dates with me? I feel that you are searching for something different than what I am searching for…"

"Father figure," Sherlock blurted out, cutting Giorgio off mid-sentence, "you want to know if I see you as a father or superior guardian to Mycroft." Finishing off the wine and feeling more confident to just spit things out he continued his deduction. "Understandable conclusion but hardly true. I do not know what a father is and do not desire any other male figure in my life trying to control me." Sherlock gave Giorgio a tight smile and Giorgio patted his lap for Sherlock to climb up.

Sherlock did as told and sat on Giorgio's spread legs as Giorgio stroked his hair. "I know you have suffered, darling. And I never want to control you." Sherlock almost snorted.

Giorgio started to run his hand up and down Sherlock's side, over his hip and down his thigh and back up again, in an effort to soothe Sherlock but also because the young man was actually up on his lap and so close he could taste it. He didn't want to push Sherlock though and had been waiting for a sign. As he stroked his lap his hand came over something crinkly and sharp in Sherlock's pocket and he frowned, it had felt like condoms, but no, that couldn't be right. Sherlock was a young man with a whole life ahead of him, there was no way he'd want an old man.

Sherlock nodded his head at Giorgio's confused look; starting to wonder if Giorgio had been told no by Mycroft and now thought Sherlock had gone against his brother or some other lie strung together. "Rubbers," Sherlock said, rooting around in his pocket before tossing them onto the coffee table.

"I do have some… in the bedroom," Giorgio said, swallowing hard. "But why, darling? Why would you want this from a man like me? I'm old, I lost my looks years ago, I have done terrible things."

Sherlock shrugged his shoulders. He didn't want it, not really, as Mycroft had said a long time ago, there was nothing glaringly wrong with Giorgio. He was brash and loud, he was a bit overweight, kind of dim at times, but his heart was kind and he was good to the things and people he loved.

Sherlock decided to go with that, telling him, "You're good to me. No one else is. You've been good to me without compromise." And Giorgio had and Sherlock felt guilty now for not having initiated sex at an earlier time. Giorgio had been good to him, he should be good back; a lesson Mycroft ingrained in him long ago. Unable to bear feeling guilty any longer he leaned up and pressed his lips against Giorgio's.

The man was incredibly surprised when Sherlock kissed him, but he would not stop Sherlock because this felt as if a prayer had been answered and even though Sherlock's admission over Mycroft's controlling tendencies and his statement about hating being controlled, Giorgio gave in. The two kissed languidly on the couch, telly in the background, until Giorgio broke away panting.

"We don't have to go any farther," he said, trying to keep himself from tearing off the younger man's clothes. "We can stop."

"Don't want to stop," Sherlock lied, "I'm a teenage boy. Don't make me stop." The last part was true; if he stopped now then he might not get the nerve to start again.

Giorgio stood with Sherlock still in his arms, surprising Sherlock as he carried him to the bedroom. Sherlock held on tight; convinced he'd be dropped or slung onto the bed. Instead he was set down with care, Giorgio kissing his forehead and trailing down his nose to his lips. He tried to keep him on his back, to look at his face, but Sherlock couldn't bear it and flipped to his stomach, not having to keep the pallid look off his face.

"Darling, why this position" Giorgio asked, features pulled taunt with worry. "I want to see your beautiful face. Let me look on you."

"I like it like this," Sherlock lied. "Please, Giorgio." Giorgio didn't take the bait, frustrating Sherlock to the point of tears.

Giorgio made Sherlock turn onto his side and saw the tears and wiped them with his thumb. "Sherlock. You are frightened," he stated, laying down next to him and stroking his hair. "Why should I ever have sex with you if you are frightened of it?"

"I'm just…" Sherlock couldn't think of a good lie and simply looked away. Out of everything he'd deduced and situation he'd created in his mind this hadn't been one of them. Sex with Giorgio wasn't even happening and that seemed utterly impossible.

"Sometimes," Giorgio started, sighing quietly to himself, "Sometimes young men think they are ready for relations with other men before they really are. Desire and fear are often two separate entities and you can have all the desire in the world along with all the fear. While I don't want you to feel frightened of this with me, I also do not want to make you feel uncomfortable."

Sherlock sniffed and nodded, playing desperately into the excuse offered up for him on a platter. "I am frightened. I've had sex before," Sherlock was beginning to be unable to keep all his lies straight and it was killing him, and so he told a tiny bit of truth. "But it was painful…"

Giorgio nodded, kissing Sherlock's cheeks, he looked maybe a bit doleful but his attitude was anything but as he continued to try to get Sherlock relaxed. "It can be, if done improperly or sometimes even done properly. Did you use lubricant, my little dove?" Sherlock swallowed and averted his eyes, shaking his head no just once and only once. "You need to use lubricant. Any man worth his salt knows this." Sherlock barked out a laugh at that, smiling at Giorgio and nodding in agreement. "We can go slowly, if you're sure?"

"I am," Sherlock told him because by this point he felt he owed the man.

Giorgio stroked a hand up his side and shook his head, telling Sherlock, "You're not. It's ok though. You don't have to be. What are you ready for?"

Sherlock looked up at Giorgio, shocked, utterly and completely shocked, "You aren't going to have sex with me?"

"No, dove, why would I ever do such a thing if you're scared and… I am worried," Giorgio played gently with Sherlock's curls, sighing a bit and telling Sherlock, "You may not be looking for a father figure but I feel that maybe you need a bit of one. You need someone to protect you from yourself."

"Giorgio please I want this," Sherlock begged, sitting up and climbing up on top of him. He'd never had to ask for sex before, let along beg, even with Astrid she had been ready first and waited for him – but when he'd said yes there was no hesitation.

Giorgio just shook his head, pulling Sherlock's head down to his chest and forcing him to lay still, to stop grinding down on him and carrying on. "Dove. You do not want this so why do you push? Are you afraid of something? Afraid of my rejection? I won't reject you for this. I would never cast you aside because you are not ready."

Sherlock felt tears begin to burn at his eyes and he had to take deep steady breaths through his mouth so that he wouldn't start to sniffle and hiccup. "But why? Why don't you just take it?"

"Sex is not about taking, it is about mutual giving," Giorgio said, tone growing dark. "Sherlock, my little dove, I need to ask you some things and you must be truthful with me. I know it can be hard and I know you – you slip through confrontation – but what is your sexual history?"

"Please don't ask that," Sherlock said quietly against Giorgio's chest. The man rubbed his back and hair, soothing him the best he could.

"I must, because I love you. I am not trying to humiliate you. I need to know this to move forward," he explained quietly. He knew something was wrong, someone or someones had hurt his dove and Giorgio, while mellow in his old age, still had a mean streak and his heart was racing with the thoughts of what he'd do to this person or persons.

Sherlock was quiet for a very long time, laying on Giorgio's chest and crying into his shirt. Eventually they parted, laying next to one another and Sherlock started to laugh. While he hadn't been lying in bed with grandfather this was almost exactly what had happened the first time someone managed to pry him open.

"It is good to see some happiness in you. You need more of it," Giorgio said with a small smile, happy to hear Sherlock laugh.

"Last time… last time I spoke about this I was drunk, and I don't think I can do it again without more wine… if you still want to hear it." Giorgio nodded his head and he went back to the living room, returning with two bottles of wine, the one already half-finished and another on top of it.

"We are not having sex tonight, languid kisses at most," Giorgio told him, pouring him an uncommonly full glass that Sherlock drank down quickly and handed back. Giorgio paused, contemplating just how much wine Sherlock would insist upon, but he filled it again, telling Sherlock, "Slow. Please."

Sherlock nodded, replying, "I can abide by that." He drank the second one slower, but was onto his fourth in a few minutes. They didn't speak; Giorgio sipped his one glass of wine while Sherlock polished off the bottle and started on the second. "You… you're going to need to prompt me. I can't just start," Sherlock said, handing the glass back to Giorgio who set it on the bedside table. Sherlock laid himself down on the bed, fairly inelegant and oddly calm about being in such an intimate setting.

"That is fair," Giorgio replied, putting his own wine aside and facing Sherlock, making him sit up a bit in case he vomited. "You are afraid of sex with me, yet you insist upon it, and I would like to know why because knowing is better than what I've concocted in my head."

"It's really not," Sherlock said, wiping at his nose and flopping onto his back, staring up at the ceiling before Giorgio fixed him again so he was sitting up a touch. "I've had… approximately…" Sherlock counted on his fingers, brain slow and groggy from the wine. "Six… sixish? Sexual partners. Five men. One woman. Six men if I count you." Giorgio nodded his head, trying to encourage Sherlock to speak more candidly. "Not including you. Four of the partners I did not consent to. One of the ones I did consent to did things I didn't consent to. And one was completely consensual and good. That was the woman, which makes me mad because I wanted to have a good sexual experience with a man because my sexuality is all muddled and I know there are good men out there too."

"Oh dove," Giorgio whispered, what he had concocted in his head seemed to pale in comparison to what he was being told. "Continue please. I want you to feel safe with me. I would like to be that good man for you but I need to know this so I can be."

Sherlock nodded, knowing Giorgio could be a good man, was a good man. "It started when I had just turned fifteen. My…" Sherlock swallowed, not wanting to say his name. "Giorgio. How well do you know my brother? What do you think of him?"

"I know him as well as anyone can know a spy. As in I know the persona he gives me. I know he likes me for information and that he doesn't know I don't give a fuck anymore about petty international bickering." Giorgio stopped, sighed and rubbed his forehead. Mycroft. It made sense but he wanted confirmation because in his experience nothing made any goddamn sense. "Can you tell me about him?"

"He's a snake," Sherlock snarled but then when he went to open his mouth and say more he found himself unable. "He stood by… he knew what was happening to me and he stood by and did nothing while his friends took turns."

Giorgio became physically upset with this new knowledge. He stroked Sherlock's hair and sighed telling him, "I am sorry that such awful things happened to you. I'm even sorrier you have been intrusted to his care when he cannot care for you properly." Sherlock wiped at his face because he couldn't even tell the truth anymore. The lie Mycroft had created was now his truth. Sherlock let Giorgio bring him into a hug and hold him. This evening was not what he had thought it would be. He thought it would be borderline painful intercourse. Now he was being held and comforted and that was almost as bad but at least the pain wasn't physical, just a deep ache in his chest reminding him of what he'd lost.

They spoke only a bit more about it, Sherlock allowing him in enough to know what acts he had been forced to do. He told him about the drugs and running away. He told him about John, the hospital, and ended up right back where they were – with him in Giorgio's arms. "I didn't trust you at first. I thought that you were just like Mycroft."

"I'm glad I have proven you wrong," was all Giorgio said before pressing a kiss to Sherlock's head.

When Sherlock had finally stopped crying Giorgio got him out of his trousers and for the first time in a long time Sherlock didn't assume an act of care was sexual. Giorgio was only getting him comfortable, into his pants and T-shirt before bed. He went to the kitchen and brought back a glass of water for Sherlock and had him drink it and then eat some toast before he turned off the lights, got into his own pyjamas and laid down next to Sherlock.

"I'm drunk as fuck," Sherlock chuckled as he snuggled into Giogio's chest.

The issues he was struggling with were twofold. He craved independence. Needed to stand on his own and walk away everyone who hurt him and caused him pain. Then there was the piece of him that craved affection, a piece of himself he hated because it made him rely on others to receive it. It was probably the wine but right now he was not beating himself up for desire to be held and comforted. Nor was he beating himself up over the two pieces of toast slathered in butter he'd just stuffed in.

"That's fine. I think I should have stopped you a few glasses in," he told Sherlock, smiling softly at the young man and kissing him softly on the lips. "You can go to sleep though. I promise you'll wake up fully clothed."

As much as that was meant to be a joke it was very reassuring to Sherlock and he thanked Giorgio quietly before nodding off wrapped up in the man's arms.

"What do you mean you didn't have sex?!" Mycroft shouted at Sherlock as they drove back to the flat. Sherlock shrunk against the door of the car and closed his eyes tight. He had a hangover from the night before and even the lovely breakfast Giorgio had made him didn't really help things. His calories were already fucked from last night; he'd ended up drinking about 1000 calories worth of wine, another 400 in toast, and then had indulged at breakfast. His weigh in number would be moving upward and he hated the smug look on Mycroft's face when he gained an ounce.

"He didn't want to, ok? He's… he's not some pig," Sherlock ended up spitting out. Giorgio had seen his discomfort and hadn't just ploughed through. He'd stopped. He'd analysed. He'd decided it was not green lit and instead just held him.

"Oh are you starting to have a crush on him, is that it?" Mycroft sneered at his brother, kicking the dividing wall and adding, "I had a plan, you just fucked it up. Thank you, Sherlock for being oh so fucking stupid as always."

"What would you of rather me do? Force him?" Sherlock sneered back. The driver was becoming unfortunately red in the front seat and Sherlock took pity on him and rolled up the dividing window. "I tried. He said he didn't trust I was ready. However, now I have a boyfriend which is as good as what you wanted!"

Sherlock had been asked that morning, while sitting in the booth next to Giorgio if he wanted to make their budding romance official or not. He seemed tentative, unsure if Sherlock actually wanted that kind of relationship. While he wasn't sure and while Sherlock was still with Astrid he'd said yes in a very tentative manner. Giorgio had been ecstatic and presented him with a little present. It was a mobile phone with Giorgio's number already programed into it and the promise the bill would be paid by the other man. Sherlock had asked if he could use it to call out of country – that he had some friends in school in Germany. Giorgio had said yes and Sherlock had found himself hugging the man tight.

The Motorola StarTAK was stuffed in his pocket on silent right now. The freedom it offered him was probably the sweetest thing in his life at this moment and Sherlock was very antsy to call Giorgio back and thank him for it – after he called Astrid of course.

"He's your boyfriend? I thought you had a girlfriend?" Mycroft tormented, knowing how attached Sherlock was to that little annoyance off in Germany.

"I do have a girlfriend," Sherlock stated, pausing before lying to Mycroft and telling him, "I have a boyfriend for the sake of 'crown and country' now can you please shove off. Just because your plan wasn't the best one and doesn't mean mine is awful." He knew this was risky business, trying to get Mycroft to believe he'd done this on purpose and that it was better than what Mycroft had wanted him to do, but he could hardly admit what he'd told to Giorgio – who had promised to keep the secret. Mycroft would end him.

Mycroft raised his eyebrow and sighed, holding his head in his hand and telling Sherlock, "I do not approve of going off script; however, I suppose this isn't terrible. If he wants a blushing virgin be a blushing virgin for him." Sherlock grunted at that and sat silently until they reached the flat. "Now… let's get you on the scale," Mycroft said as he got out of the car. Sherlock hung his head and forced himself up the stairs.

Sherlock hadn't eaten anything for about three days just to make up for the day with Giorgio. By the third day though he was ravenous and felt a binge coming on. Astrid was catching onto this self destructive behaviour and Sherlock knew that things between them were almost ruined. If he just told her what was happening he doubted it would, she would understand – but then she would get her father involved and Sherlock couldn't have that. He couldn't drag any more people he loved down with him. Anyway, she deserved better in Sherlock's opinion, didn't deserve to be tormented with this.

After class, trying to keep Astrid and their fading romance off his mind, he decided to go have lunch at a pub and planned every greasy bite out in extreme detail. It would be glorious and he would indulge, use too much malt vinegar on his chips and would have a pie with brown gravy. His weight had gone down below where he'd been last time Mycroft weighed him, and so he was able to go up a tiny bit now. He'd earned a few ounces.

When he turned the corner of the street where the pub he liked was he found a crime scene. He backed up a few paces, recognizing some of the officers from his time spent standing outside and inside the Yard. The body though intrigued him far too much. The person had fallen approximately six or seven floors before the impact with the ground. His mind started racing, piecing things together, and soon he was grinning wider than he had been in months as the puzzle of this man's death and the circumstances around it seemed to unfold in front of him.

As Sherlock stood and looked on Greg Lestrade was doing the same, however life for him was not as seemingly good as it was for the young genius standing behind him. Jumpers in the middle of the day, leaving a mess all over the pavement attracted a lot of onlookers. He was working the perimeter, trying to get pedestrians to move along instead of stand and stare – even though that's what he was currently doing – gawking at the poor bloke who decided tossing himself out a 7th floor window was preferable to living. "Come on then, off you go," he said to a group of teens in a snipped tone, who were slowly shambling past. He smiled to himself as they scuttled off.

"He didn't kill himself," Sherlock stated simply from behind Greg after looking at the body for around eight minutes.

Greg turned around, ready to send the other kid away but squinted. This kid looked familiar, dark wild hair, pale skin – too skinny, far too skinny – and those eyes. It was 'the kid' the one who had come around the yard forever before very suddenly disappearing after Greg spoke a word. He moved, getting the kid between him and the wall with nowhere to go but through him. Greg hadn't been able to stop thinking of that sad looking young man who to him looked a lot more like a little boy. He had spooked him once, Greg wasn't about to do it again.

"So what did he do then?" Greg asked, wanting to keep the kid around, get his name, his address, his anything, and most of all why he'd been coming around the yard for all that time.

"He was told to jump, he listened," Sherlock told Greg, pointing at the body and the phone clutched in his hand. "He's holding it like a lifeline. Someone just called him. Extreme sweating around his collar, saliva seems a bit much, and if you look there will probably be excess mucus produced. Test for LSD. He was drugged and someone suggested he jumped."

"So you're saying he was murdered," Greg stated, floored by such an accusation as well as the fact that there might be some validity to what the kid was saying.

"Sort of, I don't know what it would be classified but someone wanted him dead, drugged him, and then told him to jump. It was a longshot, they should have just poisoned him." Sherlock looked over to the body and Greg raised an eyebrow.

"Wait right here," he said, holding up a finger to signal he'd be back in a minute before going over to the Detective Inspector. Sherlock sighed but waited around, his stomach grumbling, he was still planning that meal in his head and wanted to get going. "Hey!" Greg was back quick, smiling before telling Sherlock, "I want to talk to you about your idea… how about we go grab a bite, you look a bit peckish."

"Can we go to the Golden Barrel," he asked, pointing across the street to where he'd been planning on going. Greg nodded his head, as he was going to suggest it because it was so close so he was quite fine taking the kid there.

"Yeah, I'm Detective Greg Lestrade, what's your name?" he asked Sherlock.

"Sherlock Holmes," Sherlock replied, smiling at him because he was not only getting his lunch but an adult was taking him very seriously in regards to his mind.

The two settled into the booth and Greg ordered himself curry while Sherlock got steak and kidney pie with chips. He stabbed his chips into the crust when it came, eating them with the gravy from the pie as Greg asked him questions about how he knew how the man died. Sherlock answered with quick simple answers because he was far too distracted by his meal. Greg noticed how ravenous he was and if it weren't for how fine the kids clothes and watch were he'd say that he wasn't getting enough at home.

"So how old are you?" Greg asked, curiously.

"Eighteen, going to be nineteen soon," Sherlock told him as he licked gravy and bits of flaky pastry from his fingers as he dragged them through the plate. He smiled at the salty flavour and crispy texture and then took his soda in hand, beginning to drink it down quickly.

"You still hungry?" Greg asked, a bit more than worried at this point. Sherlock shook his head no and Greg nodded, finally biting the bullet and telling Sherlock, "I recognize you. You use to hang around the Yard. You had a letter. You still need to talk to someone at the station?"

Sherlock looked up and swallowed, he'd hoped that Greg had forgotten about him but it seemed that he remembered. "No," he said quickly and Greg raised an eyebrow.

"Look, I didn't start in homicide. I started off working in domestics…"

"I'm not a domestic!" Sherlock snapped back at Greg, knowing he sounded too defensive.

"Alright… it's ok either way, but you know if you need anything we can actually help. That's what we're supposed to do. You're a legal adult now but that doesn't mean the police won't help you if something nasty is going on in your life."

Sherlock listened intently and nodded his head in understanding. In less than a week two adults had offered him sanctuary of some sort from Mycroft and if he was honest with himself he would admit that it made his heart sing. It had been far too long living like this and while he didn't feel ready right now to take Greg or Giorgio up on their offers the fact they were there meant something immense to him.

"I wasn't in a good place," Sherlock said with a sad smile. "But thank you. If I need anything…" Sherlock licked his lips and took his phone from his pocket asking, "Can I have your number? If I need anything?"

Greg smiled, nodding his head and listing it off to Sherlock who put it in his phone and got Greg to check. "Really, if you need anything call me. If it's an emergency, well, call 911. No one deserves to feel poorly or be treated as such."

Sherlock nodded and then looked back up at Greg as he pocketed his phone, "You're still going to listen to what I said about the murder though. This wasn't just to do that!"

Greg chuckled a bit at that and assured Sherlock, "I told my supervisor about your theory and they were going to run a tox report. See if he was high when he jumped. Check his phone records to see who he was talking with." Sherlock sighed in relief and Greg reminded him again, "Call if you need me. I should get back. It was very nice to meet you, Sherlock." Greg put his money down on the table for both their meals and Sherlock thanked him, watching Greg leave. He took his phone out of his pocket again as the barman came to clear their booth and looked at the three numbers – Astrid, Giorgio, Greg. Three people who cared for his wellbeing.

Tears brimmed in Sherlock's eyes and he wiped at them furiously as he left the pub, looking over the street as the body was hefted from the pavement on a stretcher – tucked away nicely in a black bag. He went home to Mycroft, hand stuffed in his pocket, fingering his phone.

Sherlock had been thinking about it for a long time now. Since Grandfather had died and many times before. Suicide. There had been so much keeping him from it though, sometimes just the stoic and stupid belief it would get better. He had three offers on the table right now for things to get better. Astrid would call her father and he'd help, he had lawyers, he was powerful, he could make a difference. Giorgio, probably more powerful than Mycroft and willing to do anything for Sherlock. Greg, just a policeman but there to help as he was needed.

Sherlock didn't want to take them up on their offers though. He wanted to pull himself out of this deep dark hole that Mycroft had put him in. Giorgio had helped him with that much strength, had helped him see his own worth – that his no meant something to someone. The two of them still had not had sex even though they were now sort of dating. He was willing to wait because Sherlock wanted him to and that gift was more substantial than anything he had ever received. He had not been touched against his will by a man who said he loved him.

This new found sense of self, which he hadn't even felt close to since the Isle of Mann gave Sherlock ideas. Very bad and reckless ideas that gave Sherlock a shift in perception. He wouldn't kill himself, he would be the killer.

He hobbled out of bed, with long painful bruises on his arse from the rattan cane and still limping from the beating he walked as if not in control of his own libs, stumbling towards Mycroft's room. Sherlock opened the door quietly, slipping in and shutting it behind him as silent as he could. Mycroft stayed asleep. He always slept so well after a night of through punishment. It made Sherlock sick.

Jaw clenched and trembling with anger, Sherlock padded across the carpet to the bed and took a pillow in his hands. Mycroft was sleeping half on his side, and swallowing Sherlock picked up the pillow next to his head, licking his lips and thinking over it one last time. He could still go chuck himself from the balcony and be done with it, he could call someone, or he could do this. Sherlock wanted to feel strong for once in his painful life since Mycroft had inserted himself into it. So, in a flurry of anger he pressed the pillow over Mycrof'ts face.

Mycroft woke in an instant and began to fight and flail against the pillow. He could hardly get in air, little sips at best. His hand scrambled for the side table, reaching the lamp. Mycroft clutched it in his hand and swung it against his attacker's head. Sherlock didn't see it coming until he was hit.

The lamp didn't break but it did break Sherlock's grip. He blacked out, slumping onto Mycroft and tumbling off the bed. Mycroft then threw the pillow aside and heaved himself up, chest expanding until his shirt was stretched tight across his chest. He scrambled up, quickly to get in a fighting stance as Sherlock rolled under the bedframe, knowing Mycroft couldn't fit and that if he didn't hide he'd be dead.

Mycroft looked around madly for the attacker. There had been times before when assassins came knocking. Mycroft raced down the hall to the front door finding it locked. No alarm had gone off, no footsteps after he'd struck the attacker, slowly, carefully Mycroft crept back to the bedroom, the truth of the situation damning.

"Sherlock Holmes," he snarled, spittle flying from his lips, "Get out from under that bed!" He gave the frame a kick and ducked down to look, seeing Sherlock's crown, hiding behind his hands, face pressed into the carpet.

"No!" his brother shouted back through his arms.

"You have to the count of three!"

"Don't care!"

"Sherlock if you don't get out from under there you will be dragged out!" Mycroft threatened.

Sherlock stayed put and shouted back, "You can't get under fatarse!"

There was sighing and shuffling and the sounds of rattling. Sherlock tried peering out and he couldn't see what Mycroft was up to, but then there was a taser, active, and tossed under the bed towards him. Sherlock screamed and shuffled back, away from one danger and straight back into Mycroft's waiting arms. Mycroft grabbed Sherlock tight and tugged him out from under the bed.

"No! Please no!" Sherlock begged Mycroft as his arms were locked behind his back with a pair of handcuffs.

"You want to play with the big boys?" Mycroft taunted and Sherlock shook his head no as he was dragged to the bed and tossed on top of it. "Well then," Mycroft mused as he retrieved the taser. He stood back up, and then in one quick motion he activated it against Sherlock's chest. "You should have thought of that before you did."

The shock caused Sherlock to black out; sending him into a dreamy space that soon turned nightmarish thanks to the pain in his chest. He was carried from the bed to his own room, where he clawed and tried to get away half-conscious before he was put down on his own sheets and Mycroft undid the handcuffs only to attach them to his bedframe.

"I warned you," Mycroft said, sitting on the edge of the bed and stroking Sherlock's hair, "A long long time ago. I told you what would happen if you stepped too far out of line. Now what am I to do with you? You're no fun lobotomised."

Sherlock was coming back to himself a bit more although everything still hurt and he wanted to curl up and pretend nothing bad had happened, that he wasn't an idiot. That he'd just thrown himself from the balcony instead of this. "There's nothing left for you to do," Sherlock told him quietly and almost with a giggle. "That was my last stand and now… now I have to kill myself."

"You won't kill yourself," Mycroft said in a stern voice, surprised he hadn't seen this coming – the attempted murder and now the desire to kill himself. He was unsure whether to keep Sherlock right here as punishment or send him to a mental ward.

"You… you can't stop me," Sherlock said trying to wipe the tears from his face.

Mycroft stood from the bed, dusted his pants off and sighed, shaking his head at Sherlock.

"Watch me."

Waking up in his room, still attached to the headboard with handcuffs was enough to make Sherlock go into a panic. The heavy weight on his chest turned out to be no weight at all but a large bruise and burn that had been treated and plastered down. He tried to remember falling asleep but couldn't and the chalky taste in his mouth confirmed that Mycroft must have come back with drugs once he was locked down. Shifting back and forth he realized to his complete shame and humiliation that he had lost his bladder sometime in the night. He buried his face in the pillow to try to hide, much like a child.

Sherlock didn't turn his head but heard Mycroft enter. He sat down on the edge of the bed and cleared his throat before starting.

"You have been put on a time out," Mycroft explained, knowing Sherlock was awake and just hiding his head in the bed. "One week you will remain confined to your room. Behaviour monitored. No murder or suicide. If you take your time out properly you will not be sent to an institution. Are we clear?"

"You are holding me against my will…"

"Well… this can be a simple and easy time out or if you continue on I can get the taser back," he told Sherlock.

"You're going to lobotomize me…" Sherlock whimpered, remembering the promise Mycroft made to him when he'd left hospital last time and what he'd said last night.

"No… not yet," Mycroft chuckled. "You don't have to worry. Right now, after a lot of thinking I decided that will not be part of your punishment. As I said last night. You'd be boring."

"No lobotomy…"

"Not this time. Next time you end up on time out it will end in one. This time you will attempt to learn your lesson." With that Mycroft stood, looking down at his baby brother. "You're going to stay like this until tomorrow. I hope your bowels hold – unlike your bladder."

Mycroft turned and started away, Sherlock panicking and called after him, "Let me up, please!"

"You'll be let up by your babysitter," Mycroft told him and left, slamming the door in his wake.

By the time the 'babysitter' came in Sherlock had lost his bladder again and tears were pouring from his eyes. "Hey," it was Baynes. Sherlock let the man unlock him from the bed. "Stand," was all Baynes instructed and Sherlock refused until he caught sight of the holstered taser on his belt. He stood on shaking feet and Baynes put a hand on his shoulder and started maneuvering them out the door and down the hall to the bathroom.

"Strip," he was told. Sherlock did, starting with his shirt and pausing at his pyjama bottoms, the shame of the wet stains on the front hot in his cheeks. "Come on, Sherlock, I've seen worse. You're fine." Sherlock nodded his head and stripped the rest of the way and Baynes put the remaining clothes in a plastic bag and then tossed them into the hamper.

Baynes helped him with the bandage on his front and gave it a look over. "It kills," Sherlock admitted and Baynes just chuckled.

"Needs a wash, get into the tub, I'm going to change your sheets," Baynes told him and Sherlock nodded.

He began to fill the bath and Baynes left the room, Sherlock chuckled and wiped at his eyes, calling out, "Aren't you afraid I'll kill myself?!"

"You're still talking aren't you?" he asked back, coming with the sheets and dropping them in the hamper. Baynes made him keep talking while he bathed. Baynes changed his sheets and got a meal for him, in a takeaway container and cutlery from the kitchen. Sherlock ate in the bath, it wasn't terrible at all and it was warm and good, he didn't think about counting calories, he just ate every bit. It was strange how comfortable he felt around a man who by all intents and purposes was his slaver. Baynes was always kind though and that was more than Sherlock dared ask for.

Baynes took the garbage from him and said, "Dry off, then apply burn ointment and get dressed. You have five minutes, so do your business."

Sherlock did as told, methodically, and with the realization that soon he'd be put back in his room he began slowly stepping back from himself as he completed these actions, finding himself wandering his battered mind palace and climbing the stairs of the tower to the nursery. The dragon was small now, could fit inside, and was walking with him, nuzzling at his ankles, his knight… he didn't know where his knight was but he could feel he was still there, somewhere he needed him that he didn't even know about yet.

With his dragon they went to find the nanny, who was watching over the children, and she let them in, allowing Sherlock to go sit on the carpet of his six year old life and loose himself in the puzzle on the floor. He needed to protect himself, and so he lost himself in memories of good times, where he could not be found.

Back in his room Baynes attached him by one wrist back to the bed. Sherlock felt pathetic and deep in the memories he rest in he felt a pang of something awful in his stomach, making him stand up and leave, his dragon at his heels. He needed to hide, properly hide and not sully the good memories with this nightmare he was currently living in.

"I'm going to be here if you need to use the loo you just shout," Baynes explained, pulling Sherlock's bedding up and tucking him in. Then he was gone, the door locking audibly. Sherlock looked into the mirror above his dresser and saw nothing more than a little boy looking back. He retreated inside his mind palace he went off the palace grounds, his dragon small, able to hide with him in the forest where he lost himself in imagination for the duration of his 'time out', knowing he must protect his psyche.

In the week he was kept in his room but by the third day he was allowed out of the cuff, mainly he realized so he wouldn't have scars on his wrists from the metal biting in. During the remaining four days he decided he would make a deal with himself, his dragon, the knight and the nanny. He would escape permanently from Mycroft's grip by the end of the term or he would kill himself, be done with this charade of a life where he hid in an imaginary forest inside his head and let his body take beating after beating and abuse after abuse. The memories, newly established of this week, were floating above the palace, cackling, causing rust and decay. He could only hide though, disassociate until it was done and he could be free.

On the seventh day he finally saw Mycroft again, and his brother came with the same rattan cane that had marked his body the night he tried to kill him. Sherlock was not stripped or held down, he was simply beaten and he had to curl up and try to hide himself as Mycroft just kept hitting. The extreme nature of the abuse meant he had to stay another day on bed rest before he could manage to hobble around enough to go outside.

"That was a warning," was all Mycroft left him with when he was finally able to leave the flat again. "Next time it will be so much worse."

Sherlock believed him.

It took him about a good three hours hanging around the park to be able to get himself back out of his mind palace. Once he was free from the forest, the bad memories had been shoved into more hidden places, and his dragon was once more defending the castle – with the knight riding on his back – Sherlock head to the university. He met with his professors one by one and lied about how he'd been not feeling well and apologized for missing class. Not a single teacher gave him trouble and Sherlock had a startling realization after he'd left the last of their offices.

There was nothing wrong with him.

He did not deserve to be screamed at when he made mistakes. He did not deserve pain and humiliation or any kind of punishment for being himself. The realization left him standing in the main hall of his college, blinking dumbly while he processed this new piece of information. He did not deserve to be beaten every time he acted like a teenager.

Thinking on this, repeating that phrase over and over in his head – writing it all over the walls of his bedroom in his mind palace in bright blue paint as a child would – he got out his phone and called one of the three numbers programed into it.

"Love?" it was Giorgio and he'd picked up quickly. "I was worried, you hadn't called me, I even moved up my flight to tomorrow."

"You're coming back then? Tomorrow?" Sherlock asked him, going and finding a secluded space outside to complete this call.

"Of course my little love, I thought you had done something… I don't know but something. I was worried. I called every day." Sherlock had seen the missed calls once he'd been able to get his phone out of the hidden pocket he'd made in his coat.

"I… I need your help," Sherlock said to Giorgio, hardly able to form the words into a sentence considering what they meant. "I need your help and you might be the only one who can help me."

"Anything, dove. Anything at all, you can come live with me if you need, we can sort this all out. What do you need?" Sherlock chuckled at how quickly Giorgio had jumped to 'come live with me' and wiped his nose which had started to drip from the held back tears.

Sherlock sighed, pinched his face and told Giorgio, "It's Mycroft. I need you to get me away from Mycroft. He's… remember all the things I told you about his friends?"

Giorgio was silent for a moment before saying in a very angry voice, "Yes."

"He did that. Not just him but he did all of that. He does that still." Sherlock found he was crying now and hiccupped into the phone, his face flushing red from embarrassment at the prospect of being unable to even speak. His chest however was swelling with pride at the fact he was finally doing something and that he'd taken the risk – because either he escaped now or he'd end up a vegetable just as Mycroft had said. "He hits me, not when you're around so you can't see. He broke my wrist when I first met you – I had to take the cast off early so you wouldn't see."

"Did he make you…" Giorgio petered out, not wanting to believe Sherlock had been forced into this relationship but finding that he had to if he was honest.

"At first, but then when you respected my boundaries… no man ever has before and god, Giorgio, I'm sorry I'm so sorry. Please though." Sherlock swallowed past the lump in his throat and begged, "Please. I need you to help me. He kept me locked up last week, handcuffed to my bed. Please. Help. I'm at school I can't go back to him."

"I'm sending a car, dove," Giorgio said and Sherlock sobbed in relief when he called him by his pet name. "It is going to be powder blue with beige inside. Do not get into anything that isn't that colour, do you understand, dove? Do not get into your brother's cars. I know he has no powder blue beige cars and if he's listening he can't get one to you before I can."

"Yes, I will, I'm so sorry, Giorgio, please don't think that I don't like you that I don't lo-"

"The car is coming, I am flying out now. I will see you tonight. Do not let anyone into my flat except for me and Marcio, you remember him the big one? He protect you until I get there."

"Thank you, Giorgio. Thank you so much."

Giorgio paused on the other end and Sherlock could swear he heard the ex-spy crying. "It is no problem dove. Now watch for the car. Tell me when it gets there." Sherlock nodded, then said yes, and then sat down and waited at the kerb for the car to roll up. When the powder blue beige interior car pulled up and Marcio got out Sherlock sobbed into the phone.

"It's here, Marcio's here," Sherlock said in relief.

"You go to him. You do not go home to Mycroft. Understand me?" Giorgio asked and Sherlock promised over and over again. "Good. Now go. We will make things right. Thank you for telling me this, thank you for being brave."

Sherlock thanked Giorgio again and the man hung up. Marcio was quick getting Sherlock by the arm and leading him over and into the car. His tears had practically frozen to his face at this point and he was quickly given a hanky to blow his nose with before Marcio got in the car with him and they drove away.

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