"The truth, John," Mycroft started with a small smile on his otherwise blank face," is that my brother is a plant."
"What, you mean like a spy?"
"No, John. I mean like a tree."
That was the moment John Watson's life stopped making sense.
Mycroft stared at itfrom over his plate, unable to even touch his breakfast.
"Sweetie, your pancakes are getting cold," his mother scolded from across the table. He didn't move. She sighed. "Why won't you eat your breakfast, Mycroft? It's your favorite."
Oh, she knew very well why not. As if she couldn't see him staring at that— that—
"Mummy, what is that."
"Why, it's a plant, Mycroft," she said, still smiling in that way that meant he was doing something amusing, and he damned the fact that he was still so young.
"I can see that, Mummy. A young potted didierea madagascariensis. I meant, Mummy, why?" He tried very hard to not whine the last word, because he was officially eight years old now, and eight year olds don't stoop to whigning.
"Why? It's your birthday, of course," she said, still with the smile.
"But why that." He had wanted a high powered telescope, and she knew he had wanted a high powered telescope, and he damn well wanted to know why instead there was a tree, something that was for all intents and purposes the exact opposite, on the table where his proper present should have been.
"Because it'll be good for you, Mycroft. Something for you learn to nurture and take care of," she said as she pulled his plate away and started cutting his pancakes up for him. He wanted to protest but there were more pressing matters.
"I already have a cat for that, Mummy."
His mother just shook her head and continued cutting. "It isn't the same with Ismene, dear. She's very willful. She does as she pleases; this plant, though, will be relying entirely on you." She smiled at him again as she pushed his plate back. He sighed and picked up his fork, entirely unamused by what she was trying to do, then glared back over at the plant, thinking to himself that if he didn't get the telescope with his evening presents, he'd just have to find a way to get one himself.
Mycroft figured such a ridiculous gift required a ridiculous name; he decided right then and there to call it Sherlock.
Dull. If plants had the ability to sigh, as he had witnessed the young boy - Mycroft, he recalled - do just a moment before, Sherlock would have done so repeatedly. Unceasingly. He would have sighed with his every breath.
Sherlock sat there and sulked for approximately seven hours and forty-three minutes, while Mycroft and Mummy were out of the dining room, presumably visiting others of their kind to celebrate Mycroft's birthday.
Birthday, Sherlock sneered mentally. Nobody ever celebrated Sherlock's birthday, whenever it may have been. Sherlock was woefully uncertain of the exact process of didierea madagascariensis reproduction, as the only being in The Greenhouse who knew such facts was unable to perceive the wavelength at which Sherlock spoke. Thought. Exhaled. Irrelevant.
Sherlock's spines twitched imperceptibly when Mummy and Mycroft re-entered the dining room later that evening. Sherlock could tell from the younger homo sapiens' gait that Mycroft had quickly grown weary of his birthday celebrations - presumably because he had not gotten what he had requested, which to Sherlock appeared to be some gadget both scientific and violating - a spy recorder, perhaps? Mummy had gotten it for him, obviously, but he did not know this yet.
Mycroft groaned. Ah, it appeared he had overindulged in his - Sherlock extended his perceptive field - chocolate, how pedestrian - birthday cake. He would take a nap before tea.
"Mycroft Holmes," said Mummy sternly, as the young boy crossed the kitchen, "please take your present upstairs."
"Yes, mummy." Mycroft came over to Sherlock, who attempted - in vain, of course - to flinch away. Mycroft's arms wrapped firmly around Sherlock's pot, and carried him towards the - now terrifyingly steep, possibly fatal - staircase.
Sherlock sat uselessly in Mycroft's room for days upon days. He'd stare out the window at the passersby and predict their life stories, he'd listen to Mycroft whinge about his classmates when he got home from school and most importantly he would stubbornly refuse to grow.
"So then I told Mrs. Hayward, I told her, Barnby had been sneaking sweets from her desk all afternoon, and she went over to his desk and gave him a good rapping on the knuckles!" Mycroft chuckled with delight as the door opened.
"Mycroft, sweetie, time for bed!"
"Yes Mummy!" Mycroft turned back to Sherlock with a soft expression. "Thank you for listening, Sherlock. You're not so bad after all." After trying and failing to find a safe spot to pat Sherlock, Mycroft settled on a soft smile. "Goodnight."
"Mycroft, all you've told me so far is a story of a very sad little boy," John stated, with his tongue carefully rammed into his cheek.
"Bear with me, John, I promise you that you'll want to hear this. Weeks and weeks passed on - "
Weeks and weeks passed on and Sherlock barely grew at all. Concerned, Mycroft took to spending more time in his room with the plant, tending to him with care, always making sure he had enough water and fertilizer, with plenty of sunlight and room to grow. It was safe to say that the boy had developed quite an attachment to Sherlock - much to Sherlock's disdain.
Mycroft even bought another plant, a topiary - angel ivory ring, Sherlock noticed - that he dubbed 'Irene.' "See Sherlock, I've got a woman friend for you. Won't you grow?"
Seeing that Irene had no effect, and never caring all that much for the plant, Mycroft took both her and Sherlock outside to plant her in the garden. Sherlock was making his goodbyes when Mycroft turned his watery eyes to him, sighing and saying - apparently with great significance - "Oh Sherlock, I've done everything I can think of. Won't you grow, for me? I love you, Sherlock. You're my only friend."
The strangest feeling came over Sherlock, as the world spun around him and he seemed to be floating up and away - much higher than his terra cotta home. What was happening?
Mycroft stared blanky as a fully human Sherlock Holmes expanded right there in the garden, blinking slowly at the development of limbs and a mop of curly hair. Soon enough, there was a small child seated just where Sherlock the didierea madagascariensis had been.
Mycroft, true to form, scooped the plant-child up in his arms, completely nonplussed, and bustled into the house. "Oh Sherlock, this is so very excellent! I can't wait to tell Mummy!"
At this, John couldn't contain his amused snort. It was only with the greatest of self control that he prevented a full-blown laughing fit. Nonetheless, Mycroft fixed him with a stern glare.
"John, honestly! That bit was important!"
"Why are you even telling me this story?"
"It's not a story, John. You think you'd know by now my brother doesn't waste time with such trivial matters."
John started as Sherlock stepped out from the shadow of the door. "Wh- what?"
"Mycroft's account is accurate. I am indeed a plant. Though, honestly, Mycroft, you think you'd remember how to pronounce didierea madagascariensis by now. In any case, I think I can manage from here."
"Sherlock, I was rather hoping this would be a private conversation."
"Oh, and it will be," Sherlock insisted, steering Mycroft out of the flat and slamming the door quite unceremoniously.
"I'm sorry about this, John."
"Honestly, I don't know why exactly Mycroft found it necessary to tell you - "
"It- It's true then?"
"Yes, John, I said that already!" Sherlock was positively exasperated. "Mycroft, through God knows what means, brought me into this life, and though I retain certain plantlike qualities, I am on the whole, human -"
"Are you sure it wasn't the power of love?" John was giggling again - possibly slipping into shock, Sherlock would have to check later.
"Shut up, John. Anyway, I fear he found it necessary to divulge the information to you because of our progressing relationship -"
"Shut up, John. Likely he was searching for the most delicate way to tell you about pollination."
"Pollination?" John had apparently been reduced to inane repetition.
Sherlock smirked at John, his eyes dancing playfully. "The birds and the bees as it were. Bees in particular."
"You said you keep bees as a hobby - ?"
"Biological necessity, more like, but yes. Irrelevant for you to know, as I'm sure we have already had the necessary Conversation." Sherlock gave John a significant look.
"Ah. Erm. Well. Anything else I should know?"
Sherlock sighed once more, throwing himself into his chair. "Not that I know of."
"Ah." John stood there, unsure of what to do or say. Was there etiquette for discovering that your best friend and love interest was, indeed, a plant? If there was, John had never been to finishing school, and he wouldn't know. "Erm... Tea?"
Sherlock hmm'd, and John walked towards the kitchen. Hesitating near Sherlock's chair, words rang once more in John's head. Progressing relationship. John smiled, and let his hand fall to Sherlock's hair, trailing down the side of his head and onto his shoulders, and continued forward.
Five minutes later, while John was pouring the tea, he heard Sherlock murmur sleepily. "John?"
"There may be one more thing you need to know."
"When I put down my roots," Sherlock said carefully, his stare palpable on John's back, "it's for good."