Title: Of Marshmallows and Treasure
Disclaimer: Don't own anyone.
Pairings: Sherlock & Mycroft brotherly love, Sherlock & John epic friendship.
Warnings: Illness, swearing.
Spoilers: SPOILERS FOR ALL EPISODES.
Word Count: ~1500 words.
Summary: Sherlock is ill (grudgingly). Mycroft reads him his favourite book (cheerfully).
Sherlock was ill, Mycroft deduced as soon as he entered 221b. Either that, or his baby brother had somehow turned into a large marshmallow and his spies had missed it. Mycroft knew his people were all incompetents, but not even they could miss a Sherlock marshmallow bouncing around the place. He hoped.
He crept closer to the bundle of white softness currently perched on the sofa and poked it. It felt like a duvet rather than a marshmallow, and the small, pale face that peeked over the top of it dispelled Mycroft's marshmallow theory once and for all.
"Piss off," the face said grumpily and vanished under the duvet again.
Mycroft smiled happily. "Harcastle was right then. He said he'd seen John coming out of Boots with a big bag of medicine but looking perfectly well."
Sherlock groaned, sounding muffled under the duvet.
"I should give Harcastle a raise," Mycroft mused.
"Piss," Sherlock said, "Off."
Mycroft sighed, settled on the arm of the sofa and unpeeled some of the layers of duvet. He got a glimpse of messy black hair and bloodshot eyes before Sherlock wriggled out of sight again. Flu, he deduced.
"Where's John?" he asked.
The duvet shrugged.
Mycroft glanced around the room, saw the broken teacup and tea staining the floor on the other side of the room. "Ah," he said. Clearly Sherlock's filthy temper when he got ill had even tested the patience of the good doctor, who was one of the most patient people Mycroft knew. Of course, he hadn't had thirty odd years to get used to it yet.
"Well then," Mycroft said, and slid down the arm of the sofa onto the actual sofa rather more boisterously than usual, forcing the marshmallow/duvet to shuffle away and make room. He waited a moment for some sort of comment, acidic or otherwise, but the pile of duvet did nothing except shiver and occasionally sniff.
Mycroft took this as an invitation to continue.
He reached into his bag and pulled out his secret weapon, a rather battered old book, opening it to the first page.
"Squire Trelawney, Dr. Livesey, and the rest of these gentlemen having asked me to write down the whole particulars…" he started, and paused. There was a noticeable lack of response from the duvet, noticeable because if Mycroft's tactic was unwanted there would be no end of response, probably in the form of more swear words.
He turned back to the book and carried on. When he reached the first line of dialogue, the duvet shifted and Sherlock's face looked out from it to pout with colourless lips.
"Do the voices," he demanded.
Mycroft paused. "I don't do voices."
"You did," Sherlock croaked defiantly. "Before."
Mycroft hesitated again, firmly denying the little glow of warmth spreading through him. "I didn't think you remembered."
Sherlock rolled his eyes and pulled the duvet back over his head again. "Voices."
Mycroft ignored the murmur in his head which said you are 43 years old and you are the British Government - Mycroft Holmes, you don't do 'voices', and started the dialogue again.
""Fifteen men on the dead man's chest - " he croaked in a passable imitation of a crazy old man and the duvet harrumphed in satisfaction.
Somewhere halfway through chapter two, the duvet slumped sideways a little, revealing the now sleeping face of Sherlock.
Mycroft paused in his reading to inspect him. Sherlock always looked younger when he was ill, and right now he looked about twelve years old and as pale as a ghost. Mycroft remembered suddenly that he had looked in a similar state three years ago, when he had turned up at Mycroft's door after two weeks of being 'dead' and had given his older brother one hell of a fright. Even now, when it was all over, Mycroft couldn't quite get used to the idea that his younger brother was alive.
He'd promised himself that he would look after Sherlock, and he'd never quite managed it, there had always been something that got in the way, usually Sherlock himself. Mycroft had realised, when Sherlock had jumped off that building, that he had never tried to protect his brother at all. Not really. There had always been something more he could have done, to help him, to save him, and he hadn't done it. For whatever reason, because he was too busy, because he was too impatient, because he was too hurt, because he was too tired, he hadn't done it. Mycroft hadn't looked after Sherlock at all.
And now Sherlock was back, it was almost inconceivable that he had been given a second chance.
Carefully, as if he was coaxing a wild animal, he put an arm around the cocoon of blankets and his frail little brother wrapped inside them. Sherlock frowned and mumbled something, but he was clearly too wrapped up in sleep to properly rebel, so he moved closer and rested his head on Mycroft's shoulder.
Sherlock's forehead was so hot that Mycroft could feel it even through his jacket and waistcoat. He stroked a few curls of hair out of Sherlock's face and checked his phone.
He had about thirty minutes until his meeting with the Russian Ambassador. Time to finish the chapter at least.
He launched back into the book. With the voices, just in case.
The door closing was what woke Mycroft quite a lot later and with a jump. He realised he'd slumped against Sherlock, cheek resting on the mass of Sherlock's curls, and sat up again, glancing at the door.
John stood by the door, hands full of Tesco bags and looking apologetic. "Sorry," he said.
Mycroft glanced down at Sherlock, but his younger brother was still fast asleep, snuffling a little against Mycroft's expensive jacket. He grimaced and looked at the time on his phone. And grimaced further. "The Russian Ambassador is not going to best pleased," he muttered and started texting Anthea.
John leant over him and felt Sherlock's forehead cautiously, almost as cautiously as Mycroft had, as if Sherlock was going to awake in a moment and start insulting him. Sherlock didn't move. John withdrew his hand. "I think his temperature's gone down."
Mycroft finished his text and felt Sherlock's forehead. It did seem cooler. "Yes, I think so," he said.
John went into the kitchen with the bags, carefully avoiding looking at Mycroft, and Mycroft looked at his phone again and thought he should probably go.
Except he was comfortable. And closer to his little brother than he had been in years. He glanced down at the book, still in his lap.
"Tea?" John offered from the kitchen.
"No," Mycroft said, and was surprised to hear himself sigh properly, with proper dejection, which he hadn't done in years. "I had better go."
He glanced at Sherlock again, cocooned inside his duvet and looking so peaceful in his sleep. Little twerp looked as angelic as he had as a child. It was astonishing how someone so annoying could look so sweet sometimes.
Mycroft wanted to stay there for years. Instead, he gently rearranged Sherlock so that he was curled up full length on the sofa amidst the duvet and stood up, smoothing his rather crumpled suit down. He hoped Anthea would have the good sense to bring him a fresh change of clothes before he went to deal with one rather grumpy Russian Ambassador.
John wandered back into the living room with his own cup of tea. "What's that?" he asked, and pointed.
Mycroft looked. John was pointing at the book, perched on the arm of the sofa.
All at once he made a decision.
He picked up the book. "It's yours," he said, and offered it to John.
John took it and frowned down at the title.
"It's Sherlock's favourite book," Mycroft explained. "I always read it to him when he was ill. I doubt he will mind you adopting my duties. He likes it if you do voices."
And then he left, before it all got too emotional.
John looked up at Sherlock, then back at the book again.
"Treasure Island," he said fondly. "You bloody pirate, Sherlock."
Sherlock slept on, oblivious.