Hiding

Seeing as Mycroft was too busy glaring holes through Sherrinford, Lestrade turned to Sherlock. "You didn't tell me you had two brothers, Sherlock! What, did you think it was irrelevant?" he asked, slightly hurt.

Sherlock opened his mouth soundlessly and closed it, then he looked at Mycroft. "You didn't tell me I had two brothers, Mycroft! What, did you think it was irrelevant?" he shouted accusingly, repeating Lestrade's question nearly word for word for the lack of a better way to put it.

John's eyebrows jumped into his hairline. "You didn't know?"

"I think I'd remember if I did!" Sherlock spat back, now glaring at Mycroft.

"You didn't tell him about me?" Sherrinford exclaimed incredulously.

"You didn't exactly care to come back and introduce yourself either, now did you?" Mycroft hissed through his teeth.

"Alright!" Sherrinford raised his hands defensively. "Alright, guilty."

"So..." Lestrade decided to say, against his sanity's reason. "...There's three of you."

Silence.

Then, Sherrinford's eyes lit up with understanding. "Oh! That's what you meant when you said 'you're one of those'."

"In my defense, I didn't actually mean that literally." Lestrade retorted stiffly.

"A brother, Mycroft!" Sherlock bellowed. "How could you hide this from me!"

"You have to admit, that is a little cold." John squeaked under Mycroft's glare.

"Nobody expected him to return." Mycroft sighed.

"Hold on!" Lestrade piped in. "I researched you Holmeses! There was no mention of a Sherrinford!"

"If there was, Sherlock would know about him." Mycroft replied simply. "Sherrinford Holmes no longer exists."

"Holy crap!" Sherrinford chuckled humourlessly, looking slightly intimidated. "You 'disappeared' me!"

"A wonderful success, considering you wern't dead." Mycroft drawled.

"So I-..." Sherrinford trailed off, seemingly just coming down from his adrenaline high. "...I really don't exist anymore?"

"Not legally."

"Not even in the Holmes family records?"

"Gone."

For the first time, Sherrinford looked upset and tried to hide it. It made everybody in the room, sans Mycroft, pity him a little. "Really? You're certain?"

"What else did you expect?" Mycroft asked, exasperated.

"No - before you answer that - what did you do to expect something like that?" Lestrade butted in, ignoring Mycroft's glare.

Sherrinford pressed his thin lips together. "I, um..." He cleared his throat nervously and glanced at Mycroft who refused to meet his gaze. Then, he looked at Sherlock and John, staring at him eagerly, unblinking as if they expected him to just poof and disappear.

"Let's put it this way." Mycroft spoke up finally. "He was rude, troublesome, irresponsible, humiliating, caused a rift between the Holmes family's longest standing friends, got himself purposefully expelled from Eton, spit on the Holmes family legacy, devastated Mummy, and ran away from home never to be heard of again." The middle child rattled off scathingly.

The silence was so thick it would absorb the sound of a needle dropping.

"Um... I'm sensing some bad blood here." John whispered, grimacing at his usual habit of stating the obvious.

The three Holmeses regarded the ex-military doctor with such distainful looks that Lestrade blushed from second hand embarrassment.

"It happened a long time ago." Sherrinford said.

"All the longer for my resentment toward you to fester." Mycroft retorted.

"Ah, brotherly love." Sherrinford sighed forlornly. "I've missed it."

Lestrade and John took a second to compare the Mycroft-Sherlock sibling bond, to the Sherrinford-Mycroft relationship. Seeing the way Sherlock shuddered and resisted the urge to throw up, he was seeing it too.

"Oh. My. God." John and Lestrade said in unison.

"No, just genetics." Sherrinford waved them off breezily. "And, speaking of genetics..." He bounded around Mycroft before the man could stop him and stopped in front of Sherlock. "Oh, look at you! You're gorgeous!" He exclaimed excitedly in a very Doctor Who tension level. "Oh, those eyes and the hair, it's all Mummy! And you've inherited the cheekbones, same as me! That's from Dad. And the intellect - oh - you're a Holmes through and through, Sherlock! Perfect specimen!"

"Holmes family member, not specimen." Mycroft reminded with a sigh, hooking Sherrinford by the back of his collar with his umbrella handle and pulling him out of Sherlock's personal space.

"But- but, look at him! He's all sharp planes, ice cold, and that height!" Sherrinford clapped his hands like a child, pivoting in a tight half-circle, dislodging Mycroft's offending umbrella handle from his collar. "A little taller than me, no? You're built like a bloody giraffe! How do you do, by the way, I'm Sherrinford Holmes." He trailed off, losing a bit of his excitement and smile in the process. "Well, ... I was."

Sherlock was studying this stranger that barged in and claimed to be his older brother. His eyes raked over Sherrinford from head to toe, gleaning facts by the second, lingering on his hands for a long moment.

Sherrinford's eyes softened and a nostalgic look overcame his face. "Oh, Mycroft's taught you well." he said suddenly. Sherlock looked up sharply at that, but Sherrinford was already back in his cheerful mood. "Well? Should I turn around? Strike a pose?"

"You're a thief." Sherlock stated.

"Correct." Sherrinford grinned.

"He was a murder suspect." Lestrade chimed in.

"My name was cleared!" Sherrinford protested whiningly.

"You were impersonating a police officer!" Lestrade shot back.

Sherlock's eyes lit up. "Tell me about it."

"Some other time, little brother."

"Of course you'd trail around Lestrade like a lost puppy." John rolled his eyes.

"It seems to be a Holmes trait." Sherrinford shrugged unapologetically. "Granted, our first meeting wasn't exactly ideal."

"Also a prominent Holmes trait." Sherlock scoffed. "Lestrade arrested me, Mycroft got pickpocketed, so what happened to you?"

"He threw a ham sandwich at me and then tried to taser me!" The thief crowed with glee. "It was a once in a lifetime experience!"

"Will you never let me live it down?" Lestrade sighed in despair, dropping his head in his hands.

John patted his shoulder. "Tough luck, mate. I don't envy you."

Lestrade lifted his head and looked at the room, full of three troublesome Holmes men in a room too little to contain them all. "No, I wouldn't either."

"Well!" Mycroft raised his voice above all the noise. "This has been a wonderful family reunion, Sherrinford, but I really think you should leave now."

Sherrinford sighed at Mycroft. "Alright. Sorry, Myc, I didn't want to cause trouble." he said in a chastized tone. Everybody stiffened, eyes the size of dinner plates, and resisted the urge to burst out laughing at Mycroft being called 'Myc'.

"You never do." Mycroft retorted sarcastically.

Sherrinford winced. "Alright, I agree, I deserve that."

"Believe me, if you got everything that was coming to you, you'd be long gone." Mycroft hissed.

"Well, looks like that's my cue." Sherrinford gave a tentative little goodbye wave to the rest of the room. "It was great meeting you, Sherlock, John, and it was great meeting your friends, Inspector."

Then, he turned and walked out.

Mycroft turned to Sherlock. "Not a word of this to Mummy, is that understood, Sherlock?"

"You should know better than to hide anything from her." Sherlock replied simply.

"Sherlock."

Sherlock fairly pouted and nodded.

"Well then, good evening."

And Mycroft left also, slamming the door behind him.

The three Baker Street Boys flinched and waited for the dishes in the kitchen to stop shivering in their cupboards.

Lestrade grimaced. "I did a bad thing, didn't I?"

Yeah, understatement.