A/N: Oh look, Bro-fluff and stuff. Yeah. Usual disclaimers.
Acknowledgements: THANK YOU LOADS to Shwatsonlocked for beta work and tinaofficial for the ideas and KeptonIce for the title and summary! Spacing errors won't be mine - I blame uploading issues!
His little brother had been crying because of him.
He didn't really mean it, not really, because he was upset his mother took his book away from him before he finished reading, especially as it was on the MI6's involvement in the Cold War. He was trying to figure out what the Secret Intelligence could have done to avoid further embarrassment and complications with the Vienna Tunnel operations and George Blake.
It was downright annoying and unfair. Mycroft didn't mean to eat all the cake, not really, but it had been so good and it wasn't fair that it was for the guests when it had just been lying there, looking so sweet and utterly delectable. Besides, he had been looking after Sherlock most of the whole day because guests were arriving.
He had been caught with crumbs on his nice suit and icing on his nose.
Mummy was furious, and Father took his book, and he was all miserable that when his four-year-old brother insisted that he attack the British Fort with 'everything the pirate ship got,' Mycroft yanked the sheets down and destroyed the painstakingly-made pillow fort Sherlock had constructed.
Sherlock started crying so loudly that Mycroft didn't know how to pacify his little brother. He didn't know what to do. He didn't mean to, not really.
Oh why was he messing everything up today!
He was determined to set things right, because that's what older brothers did and thinking up solutions was what a good intelligence agent would do, and Holmes children simply do not cry over broken down forts but instead think up of ways to incorporate that into the game and it was high time Mycroft taught Sherlock this.
"Oh no, the cannons have destroyed the fort! Quick, Sherlock, the pirates will attack! Protect the Queen!" Mycroft announced in his best commanding officer voice, and his brother looked up, sobs finally stopping.
"But I can't the fort is all broken! It's down and no one can make a fort in a day it took us one hundred years!" Sherlock protested, smiling a bit now.
Mycroft grinned at this, and disappeared into the coat cupboard and retrieved a bunch of umbrellas. "But look at this, a surviving regiment has set up a quick outpost!" He opened up a bunch of umbrellas, and set them around Sherlock, and draped a sheet over it. "Is the Queen going to be saved?"
There were giggles under the sheet, and Mycroft grinned triumphantly at having stopped his brother's crying. "No, the Queen will never be saved!" A voice shrieked inside the made-up shelter.
Mycroft raised an eyebrow at this, wondering what his brother was thinking of. "And why not?"
"Because, Mycroft," said Sherlock, peeking from under the sheets and shoving an umbrella aside. "I want to be a pirate now because that would be cooler."
It was raining, and they were lost.
The woods at the edge of their estate had seemed inviting at first, and it was a right adventure, and it had been exciting. The fog almost enveloped the edge of the forest, and it was worthy of those stories he read his brother every night. Sherlock, fearless five-year-old Sherlock, with his infinite curiosity and his annoying way of getting Mycroft to do what he wanted, had dragged his brother into the woods with a compass in hand. He handed Mycroft the brolly to defend against the 'Ghost Pirates of the Underworld' even as Mycroft tried to correct Sherlock that ghosts certainly did not exist, and nor will pirates probably have anything to do with the woods. They ran around anyway, laughing and having fun, with Mycroft constantly reminding Sherlock to keep as close as possible so he wouldn't get too lost and too far for Mycroft's comfort.
After getting sufficiently lost in the forest as right explorers would have been, Mycroft finally decided that it was time to turn back when a drop of rain hit his nose as he looked up. He opened the umbrella and took Sherlock's hand even as his younger brother protested, yanking his hand away and running around in the rain getting drenched to the bone before Mycroft got him back. He tried to grab the compass from Sherlock so that they could go back safe and sound. Sherlock had tried to pull the compass back, insisting that he could read it as well as his big brother can, but as they tugged at it from both ends, Mycroft accidentally let go and it rolled well beyond them, probably somewhere under a bush. They couldn't find it anymore, especially not in the fog.
Mycroft was twelve. He should have known better.
They were now really, utterly lost, especially since the fog somehow bizarrely seemed to thicken around them. Mycroft knew the rain should dissipate it soon, but it still scared him half-to-death knowing that they were really, really lost.
His younger brother's hand instinctively grasped Mycroft's fingers when a crack of thunder resounded above them and the rain poured around them. Sherlock pressed against Mycroft, and Mycroft sat, knowing that going around in circles wouldn't do them any good, wishing that the fog would just dissipate so he can look for the trail leading back home already. Mummy and Father were probably already worried sick.
Sherlock huddled against Mycroft's side again when thunder pealed, shivering a little, wet from his earlier stubbornness. Mycroft took off his coat and draped it around Sherlock, and the two boys huddled under the umbrella as they waited patiently for the world to stop being eaten by the alarming white smoke that consumed everything in sight. Now it felt more like those awful things he read in horror stories, where monsters ate children in forests when they are all alone and scared.
No, Mycroft, he berated himself, they're just stories and they're not real.
He drew his little brother closer to him anyway and watched as the rain parted the fog and showed them the path back to the house. Sherlock's arms were locked around Mycroft's now, and with each clap of thunder he buries his head against Mycroft's back and whimpers in slight fear, but with each step he could feel his brother try to reign it in because no Holmes child is going to be scared of the sound made by the increase in pressure and temperature and rapid expansion of the air called thunder.
They paused when they reached the edge of the wood, watching the gardens be lit by the lightning in the sky.
"We can't run with the umbrella. The lightning will strike the tallest thing in a wide open plain." Sherlock had mumbled, still pressed against Mycroft. "I don't want to get hit by lightning!" He wailed, his hands tightening around Mycroft's fingers. His little brother rubbed his eyes with the back of his hands in an effort to stop himself from crying, even if Mycroft shouldn't be able to tell anyway because it's raining (and he was willing to overlook the redness in Sherlock's eyes).
"We won't. Come on. One last adventure, across the grass and into the house. I'll race you there. Ready?" Mycroft whispered, forcing a giggle into his voice to ease his brother's fears.
Sherlock nodded, and with a slight squeal ran across the yard and onto the steps, and both boys tumbled into the den. Mycroft dropped the umbrella outside by the porch, promptly forgotten as they entered the warmth of the house and got themselves dried off by their nanny under the strict gaze of their mother.
When their parents scolded Mycroft for being so foolish, by not knowing better than to drag his brother along with him on his foolish adventures (taking the blame for his brother's silly games), he didn't mind, especially when he remembered how his brother looked up to him to get them out of the storm, with or without any ghost pirates following behind them in their imaginations.
Mycroft did not want to get caught in stupid little games like what seven-year-olds want to play, especially not what little brothers want to play, and certainly nothing as silly as pirates for crying out loud.
"Avast, Mycroft, I am a stereotypical pirate and Oi speak loike th's ol th' time, mate!" Sherlock appeared in front of him, poking him with a wooden pirate sword that his younger brother obviously conned off one of the carpenters doing renovations in the northern wing of their house. His brother wore a bandanna and an eye-patch, and had a toy pistol and a belt slung around his waist. "We fight f'r this territ'ry, ye blasted pr'vateer! Ye arrrgh a d'sgrace to our ways by accepting th' gov'ment's le'er 'f marque!"
"Say that twenty times as fast." Mycroft murmured, his head buried in his book on the Philosophies of Political Science. "Come off, Sherlock, I don't want to play." There was an interesting approach with the Rational Choice Theory but Structuralism had its merits; he wished he had an economics book to compare his ideas to right now.
"But you never want to play anymore." Sherlock said, pouting. His brother's whine and words tugged a little at him, but Mycroft ignored it because he was fourteen years old and had better things to do than run around pretending to be a naval officer."Come on Mycroft, just this once, I promise I would never bug you again please."
Mycroft rolled his eyes and tried to go back to his musings on the effectiveness of choosing just one philosophy or doing an eclectic approach. "As if that would everhappen." He commented off-hand anyway.
Sherlock poked him again with the sword. "Come on."
"No!" Mycroft finally put down his book and glared at Sherlock like only an older sibling can. Sherlock frowned, shrinking back a little, and backed away at the look Mycroft gave him.
"Okay." His little brother whispered meekly, and walked off to sulk in a corner of the den.
Mycroft sighed, and massaged the bridge of his nose like he saw his Father do a lot of the time. He groaned, put down his book and marched off into another room.
Little brothers. Why do they have this effect on you that you just cannot resist?
He reappeared with an umbrella in one hand and a tri-corn on his head. He grinned, poking his still sulking brother with the tip of his umbrella - no, cutlass. "Avast, ye pirate, for I am a privateer under His Majesty's orders and I am here to take back what you stole from the merchant vessel! Surrender or die by my blade!"
A grin lit up Sherlock's face, and he stood up, crossing swords with his brother on their imaginary galleon, cannons exploding all around them, their men locked in a battle of life and death. "Never!"
Mycroft's pager had been steadily beeping the last couple of minutes, earning reproachful looks from his seatmates. The professor had been eyeing him with a scalding look, and Mycroft huffed as he ducked out of the classroom, missing a good lecture on Pavlov's Classical Conditioning, even if he already knew most of what the professor would say.
He sighed and read all of the pager's messages once he was outside.
It took him a less than two minutes to run across the parking lot to his car and start it, and Mycroft sped away back to their estate, even if he knew it would take him a four-hour drive.
He made that four-hour drive into a three-hour one. Mycroft dashed up the steps and straight into the library, where he knew his brother was.
He was met by the sight of his fifteen year old brother almost passed out with the pain of a broken leg, clutching the phone with one hand and the other swiping at his eyes angrily as he tried his best not to cry despite that agonizing pain his leg seemed to be in. It looked all right on the outside, but Mycroft trusted his brother's assessment. If Sherlock said it was broken, it was broken.
"Took you long enough." Sherlock said, gritting his teeth. "I waited for three hours."
"Why in the blazes didn't you call an ambulance, Sherlock?" Mycroft almost yelled, but knew it wasn't the best course of action to do right now. He needed to remain calm, because getting angry at his idiot little brother was not going to help anyone.
Sherlock didn't answer. Instead, he glared at Mycroft, as if it was his fault that he fell off the ladder when he tried to reach a book in their ancient and huge library. The library looked like something out of a film, the shelves reaching stacks almost ten levels high, needing huge and clunky movable ladders to reach books on the upper levels.
He didn't know what possessed their parents to fly off to Australia at a moment's notice, leaving Sherlock, Sherlock, alone on the estate for a whole weekend. And from what Mycroft could deduce from the silence in the mansion, the insufferable teen had sent away most, if not all, of the staff on a quick holiday until their parents came home!
What in the world was he thinking? Idiot!
"Where else are you hurt?" Mycroft asked instead, even if he felt like shaking some sense into Sherlock. What was he doing, anyway?
If he was trying to get Mycroft's attention, still angry, hurt, and bitter over being left behind because of University, despite the fact that Mycroft tried to talk to him about it and tell him that he wasn't leaving Sherlock behind forever, because he will come back and Sherlock could always visit, well he certainlyhad it now. In spades, with burning anger and annoyance.
"Where else, Sherlock?" Mycroft couldn't help it. His voice raised a decibel, and Sherlock winced visibly, but Mycroft chalked it down to the pain.
"Nowhere else." Sherlock replied, his glare softening a little. "My leg hurts."
"It's broken." Mycroft said, and he got up. "Wait here. I'll do a little first aid and I'll drive you to the hospital."
"No!" Sherlock yelled in panic. "No, please! Mummy and Father cannot know, please Mycroft,and they will find out if you took me to the doctor's…"
"Sherlock, our parents are not idiots. And even idiots would certainly notice a cast on your leg. I'll be right back." Mycroft said, a little coldly perhaps, but he was still angry and it was better to be cold than to shout, in his experience.
He reappeared with some shredded blankets and an umbrella. "I don't know where, why, or what you did with the first aid kit, but this is the best I can do." He quickly splinted the leg, immobilising it with the umbrella, tying the sheets around the wounded limb. He carried Sherlock to his car. "You should eat more. You're too light for a fifteen-year-old, which is bad for your adolescent growth."
"And you're too fat for a twenty-year-old - checked your body mass index lately?" came the retort, and Mycroft almost sighed in relief at this. If Sherlock was able to act this juvenile with him, that meant his brother was going to be fine.
"I'm taking you to the hospital, Sherlock. Try not to move and make it worse." Sherlock didn't answer, and instead slumped in resignation in the back seat, his leg propped up by Mycroft's books.
"Sorry." Sherlock mumbled quietly. Mycroft thought he heard stifled sobbing in the back seat, but he chose to ignore it.
He glanced in the rear view mirror, and sighed. "Please, Sherlock, just don't do it again."
He did not know why he was doing this.
Mycroft Holmes does not pull stunts like this. Not ever. He is a proper English gentleman, working his way up in the government, showing every bit of his intelligence and brilliance, eager to serve Queen and country.
He simply does not speed on a scooter around London, looking for his little brother while he ran from a man on a bicycle eager to run him over.
He does not do that.
And so when a man sped across London brandishing an umbrella like a lance who bore an incredible resemblance to one Mycroft Holmes, he was ready to fully deny that it was him. He even had an alibi.
Of course, that didn't diminish the fact that he wason a scooter in the middle of a London afternoon looking for his brother, knowing full well the danger Sherlock was in. Sherlock was being chased by a dangerous man through the streets of London , probably just waiting to slip somewhere without a lot of people so he could shoot Sherlock and speed away.
Another case gone wrong for Sherlock Holmes. His brother was building a new practice (a new profession, rather) with his unspoken blessing, and he would have been amused at how Sherlock was messing up left and right if Mycroft wasn't the one who was cleaning it all up.
Sherlock was going to be so luckywhen Mycroft gets unofficially officially promoted.
Sherlock was exploring a rather interesting puzzle of a series of burglaries, and one of the men involved was tapped to kill the world's first consulting detective snapping at their heels. Mycroft finally spotted said detective running through the streets, a man on a bicycle closing in behind him. He urged the scooter faster, ready to drop it to one side and lunge for the man on the bike when he saw the criminal gingerly let go of the handle bars and raise a gun.
Oh Sherlock. The things you make your brother do.
Mycroft balanced himself on the scooter, edged closer to the pavement until he was on it, and revved the engine as he sped through the crowd.
"Get out of the way! Official government business!" Mycroft screamed, wincing. His bosses are going to be miffed with this one, using his authority and mixing it with personal errands. Well, he would make up for it by solving the diplomatic incident in South Africa later. Mycroft brandished a badge, and the people of London parted like the Red Sea.
Mycroft raised his umbrella like a lance, and barrelled along the pavement as fast as he could.
The umbrella connected with the back of the man chasing his brother before he could get a shot off, and the man almost comically flew off his bike and landed with a painful skid on the ground. Sherlock stumbled to a stop, his eyes widening as he turned to watch his brother slide the scooter to one side in one smooth motion.
"Took you long enough." Sherlock said between breaths, managing a slight grin. "I ran for thirty minutes."
Mycroft got off the scooter and checked on the downed man, who was alive albeit unconscious. Good. "All right, the police should be here soon. Better get your story straight, brother." Mycroft said. He turned to glare at his brother. "What have you been up to again?"
"As if you didn't know." His little brother answered with a smirk, finally getting his breathing under control.
"You are a twenty-seven year old man, Sherlock. What are you thinking? Were you even?"
Sherlock scoffed at this with no lack of disdain. "I think. It's not my fault everyone else decides to act like an idiot." He stretched a hand at the downed man, ignoring the crowd around them. Mycroft raised his ID again to get them to disperse. "He and his little motley band of burglars are the ones responsible for the string of burglaries in the London city, especially the ones where nothing is seemingly taken. They have been replacing the art they steal with quite fantastic forgeries and fencing them outside the country."
Mycroft rolled his eyes. "I managed to figure that one out on my own, thank you. Now. Don't ever do this again, Sherlock. I mean it. I won't help you like this again."
Sherlock sniffed, and ignored his brother's words. Instead, he handed Mycroft the bent umbrella that he'd dropped.
Mycroft sighed. "I liked that one." He levelled at look at Sherlock that would have cowed a foreign dignitary throwing a fit, but Sherlock merely met it with one of his own. "Sherlock, you oweme an umbrella."
He was forty-one years old, out of practice and really, really quite pissed off at his little brother's antics, getting him caught in one of his little cases again.
Never mind that he was the one who recruited the annoying little brat.
The ten men that surrounded them, on the other hand, were merely a temporary annoyance. Most of his anger was directed at Sherlock, who just didn't know when to step back or retreat and recuperate, and he even dragged the doctor along with him.
Well, three against ten, not such bad odds between a detective, a government official, and a soldier.
Mycroft sighed, and raised his umbrella in a two handed stance, lowering the hooked end of the umbrella in front of him. "Sherlock, from this point on, you listen to me." Mycroft said quietly. "If I give any orders, any at all, you follow them."
Sherlock gave a brisk nod, and Mycroft vaguely took note of the doctor's surprise at the easy acquiescence from his brother. "John, you too." John merely nodded as well, looking alert and tense, like he was going to pounce. Sherlock merely looked lazy and uninterested, but Mycroft knew that he wasn't to be underestimated.
They came at them all at once.
Mycroft dodged a fist coming at him, and he raised the pointed end of his umbrella, driving it just under the man's rib cage, into his diaphragm. The man collapsed with a gasp, and didn't make a move to get up.
He spun quickly, hooking the umbrella around the ankle of another man's foot, and pulled the umbrella up to slam the other end into another attackers eyes. Mycroft slammed the heel of his foot down on the tripped man's clavicle, breaking it. He elbowed the now-one-eyed man in the stomach and raised his umbrella and whacked it forcefully on the man's skull, knocking him unconscious.
That made it three.
He glanced around to check on Sherlock and John, who seemed to be handling things as well as he was. Sherlock did a perfect roundhouse kick to someone's face, and used his remaining momentum to jump and kick the man back in the stomach. His coat billowed behind him dramatically, and Mycroft almost swore that was the only reason his brother wore it. John had just given someone a decent punch to the jaw, and headbutted another man's nose enough to bring him down.
A small movement in the corner of his eye drew his attention. One of the men stood mainly hidden in the shadows, raising a pistol.
Well, that wasn't fair. Mycroft grabbed his umbrella with two hands like a small sword and slammed it against the man's hand, strong enough that he dropped the gun, and he jabbed his umbrella forward and straight onto the man's chest, by the heart.
One casualty. Mycroft knew that was strong enough to down him permanently.
And they were done. Mycroft looked at Sherlock and John, and the three men stood there, trying to catch their breaths.
John was the first one to break the ice. "Sherlock, did you see your brother with that brolly? I didn't know he can - he's like Rafiki on steroids!" John was practically spluttering, but the man quickly got his excitement back under his calm veneer. "I thought you said he hated legwork or any form of exercise?"
Mycroft leaned on his umbrella, and crossed one leg behind the other. He'd just got his breath back under control. "That doesn't mean, doctor, that I am notcapable of it." He said coolly. "You are aware that I can hear your every word, aren't you?"
"Yes, I am." John replied, looking at Mycroft's umbrella. "Very much so. That,is a really good and very sturdy umbrella."
"Well. I'll that as a compliment then, John." Mycroft resisted the urge to spin the umbrella, and merely glanced down at it. It was a good thing he finally bought that custom unbreakable one. He knew he would need it, especially with his brother around.
John merely shrugged afterwards, and turned his attention to the downed men. Always a doctor, that man.
Mycroft turned to check on Sherlock, who was rifling through the pockets of one of the men. His brother stood, walked over and handed him a memory card. "Here you go, Mycroft." He looked around appreciatively. "It's good to know you're not as out of shape as your diet suggests."
Mycroft rolled his eyes. The weight jokes were getting old. "Good to know you will still follow my orders."
For a moment there, Mycroft thought he saw Sherlock smile. His brother leaned in and he wasn't sure if he heard Sherlock right. "Yes, Captain Mycroft. Jus' like ol' times, eh, mate?"
"Indeed, First Mate Sherlock."
His brother replaced his almost apathetic face as John approached them again, and Mycroft vaguely took note that the doctor said that the men were all alive, except for the one who had drawn a gun.
Mycroft nodded, turned, and walked away. "Next time, Sherlock, do try to call first."