Disclaimer: I do not own Sherlock – the characters or the image used as a cover. Everything belongs to the BBC.
"I worry about him. Constantly." – Mycroft Holmes, "A Study in Pink."
Mycroft knows very early on that his baby brother is something special.
He hears his parents talking about it, Mummy's voice quiet and sad as it drifts in from the kitchen to the living room where he and Sherlock sit on the floor playing with Sherlock's blocks. The blocks are his little brother's favorite – he likes to match the pieces together in odd ways until they fit just right, stacking them up high before knocking them all down.
"I don't know what else to do! I'm so tired. It wasn't like this before. Mycroft was such a good baby. He never gave me any trouble and still doesn't. Sherlock's just… He's been a handful right from the start – colicky and crying all the time – and it's only gotten worse. I just thought it would be easier than this…"
Mycroft knows Mummy doesn't understand Sherlock. Their father doesn't either. They can't make sense of Sherlock's frequent moods and tantrums and silences, or why he likes to watch the same film over and over and over, or why he doesn't like to talk and play with the other children at playgroup. They worry about him all the time and sometimes they fight over him too – their father's voice growing loud and gruff and shouty, the way it is now.
"Don't you get it? It's never going to be easy. You don't want to admit it, but there's something that's just not right about him. I'm sorry, love, but there is. He's not like Mycroft. He won't ever be like Mycroft. He'll never be normal."
Normal. What does normal mean, anyway? It doesn't matter to Mycroft whether or not Sherlock is normal. Sherlock is Sherlock and he's perfect just the way he is. The two of them get along just fine and in the end, that is what really matters.
Mycroft knows Sherlock tries to be a good boy, but he's in trouble so often. It's not uncommon for him to return from school to find Sherlock standing in the corner or sent to his room for a time out. He doesn't mean to be naughty; it's just that he's so curious.
On the days Sherlock is in trouble the most, Mycroft goes out of his way to be extra good for his parents. He wants to make them happy, and perhaps if he stays quiet and does as he's told, they won't be so frustrated when it comes to Sherlock's antics.
Mycroft just wants things to be okay, to be happy, like they were before. Before Sherlock, he thinks, but immediately regrets it. He loves Sherlock, even if he is a little different. He would never wish that Sherlock weren't here, not consciously. Even though things have been difficult, there have been happy times too, with Sherlock.
He remembers before Sherlock was born, his mother would take his hand and press it to her big belly to feel the little kicks inside. "Do you feel it, love? That's your brother," she'd say. "That's baby Sherlock." He remembers the days when Sherlock was just a little baby, all red and wrinkly and smelly. All he did was sleep and cry and Mycroft thought he was both the most fascinating and yet annoying thing he'd ever seen.
He remembers going to the park with his parents and baby Sherlock in his pram. His parents would watch him play while they sat on a blanket under a tree, little Sherlock lying before them, staring up at the wide expanse of green against blue. As Sherlock got older, their parents would no longer sit, but watch him carefully as he went down the slide, would push them on the swings. Mycroft remembers other times, Christmases and birthdays and happy times. Whatever happened to those times, when the four of them were enough, when all was right with the world?
Mycroft wonders just when things changed for his mother, his father, for everyone.
He wonders if it will ever change for him.
Sherlock has a difficult time at school. It's not that he's a bad student – in fact, he's probably one of the brightest, if not the brightest pupil the school's ever seen. The problem is that Sherlock doesn't get along well with others. At least twice a week, Sherlock comes home with a note from his teacher or the headmaster describing how Sherlock's behavior was inappropriate.
Displays poor listening skills.
Refuses to play with others.
Started a fight at recess.
When notes start arriving every day, their parents are called in for a conference. Mycroft and Sherlock sit in the hall while Sherlock's teacher and headmaster explain the situation.
"We just want to help. We understand that Sherlock is a special child, but we cannot allow this type of disruptive behavior to continue."
Despite what the teachers and their parents believe, Mycroft knows it's not all Sherlock's fault. The other children don't understand him and tease him mercilessly. He knows because he saw it happen.
Every day when school let out, the two of them would meet in front of Sherlock's school to walk home together. One afternoon about a week ago, Sherlock wasn't there to meet him when he came to collect him after school. Immediately, Mycroft had known something was wrong. Sherlock didn't just forget to show up. He was always there, waiting to tell him all about his day and what he'd learned. Something just wasn't right.
With a sense of unease growing in the pit of his stomach, Mycroft had walked to the elementary schoolyard to see what was keeping his brother. What he saw there was permanently burned into his memory. A group of older boys, several grades ahead of Sherlock, had formed a circle around him and were shoving him back and forth, calling him names and pushing him about. Sherlock was caught between them and couldn't get away from their rough hands.
"You're so stupid! Stupid Sherlock!"
It took mere seconds for Mycroft to act. Without thinking, he barreled in to the group of boys, knocking at least one to the ground in his haste to come to his brother's aid. He took Sherlock by the arm and pulled him behind him, placing himself between Sherlock and his tormentors.
"Don't you ever, ever touch him again! You hear me?"
The boys looked up at Mycroft and the anger all over his face and nodded shakily. Mycroft didn't waste another moment on them as he turned swiftly, taking Sherlock by the hand and walking away, leaving the boys to gape after them. Sherlock's little legs struggled to keep up with big brother's strides, but Mycroft didn't slow down, needing to get Sherlock as far away from them as possible. Some part of him recognized that he might possibly have just made the situation worse, that Sherlock's needing to be rescued might make his peers tease him all the more, but Mycroft didn't care. All that mattered was that Sherlock was safe now.
He led him by the hand until they were further down the block. Only then did he stop to make sure Sherlock is all right. He stooped before his brother and looked him over, checking for cuts and bruises. He appeared unharmed except for some dirt smeared across his face. Mycroft had reached up to brush it away when he noticed the tears in Sherlock's big blue eyes.
"Hey… Hey, what's wrong, big guy?"
A sniffle. A shrug.
"Come on, now. I was there. I saw what happened. Talk to me. What's going on in that head of yours?"
Another sniffle. "Do you… Do you think they're right, Mycroft?"
"The kids. At school. "
"Do I think they're right about what?"
"That I… That I'm a freak. I'm not a freak, am I, Mycroft?"
Mycroft grasped his shoulders then, looking Sherlock right in the eye. "No. Never. They're the ones who are stupid, Sherlock. Not you. Never you."
As Mycroft listens to Mummy and Father argue with the teachers, he remembers that afternoon, Sherlock's terror and his tears, and he knows that none of the adults understand. Sherlock must know it too, because he slips his hand into Mycroft's and squeezes. Mycroft squeezes back.
He understands. And perhaps that's enough for now.
When Sherlock is in third grade, he begins playing the violin. Their parents decide that perhaps his obsessive and unique energy might be put to better use through a hobby, like a musical instrument, so they sign him up for lessons at school. Their mother says she read something about how music was supposed to be helpful for children like Sherlock, children who just had a bit too much going on in their brain and needed a creative outlet for it. Their father isn't pleased when confronted with the idea of Sherlock making a god-awful racket all the time, practicing a bloody tuba or god-knows-what at all hours of the day, but somehow Mummy manages to circumvent his aversion to brass instruments and settle both their father and Sherlock on the compromise of a violin.
The first time he brings the instrument home, Mycroft is the only one there to meet him, waiting for him in the kitchen with a glass of milk and a plate of store-bought chocolate chip cookies – the only thing that Sherlock will willingly eat. He's in the middle of drafting his political science paper when Sherlock bursts through the door with a crash, shouting his name and running into the kitchen like a hurricane.
Mycroft watches as Sherlock clambers up on a kitchen chair and opens the violin case, proudly displaying the polished wooden instrument. His brother touches the strings reverently, plucking them one at a time so the notes resound throughout the quiet kitchen. Sherlock says he's going to be the world's best violin player.
"Do you think I can, Mycroft? Do you?"
Mycroft tells him it's going to take a lot of practice to be the world's best, but yes, if he wants it hard enough, he can do whatever he wants. Sherlock beams under his brother's praise and asks if he can play something for him. Mycroft nods and the room suddenly fills with a simple version of "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star."
Mycroft smiles at the progress he's made even in a few short days. This is the first real thing that Sherlock has ever been passionate about and Mycroft is glad to see his little brother so happy. He's such a quiet boy, but full of peculiarities. Perhaps the music will help him.
All Mycroft wants is for him to be happy.
A/N: This is my first fic for the Sherlock fandom. Reviews and comments are greatly appreciated!