My Sherlock Secret Santa is for mundaneawesome, whose dash I visited with a blank template for a fic in my mind, and after twenty pages I had this plot outlined. I do hope you like it. It’s untitled because eh titles.
Mycroft nervously dialed the numbers, his hands shaking slightly. This was the first time he had asked out a girl since getting his braces off. He was always afraid of snogging with them on; after all, what if her lips got stuck in them, or worse: what if she was wearing braces too and they became trapped in the wires?
As the phone rang, Mycroft peered around the kitchen corner, knowing he was being watched. Sure enough, Sherlock’s small face was peering through the stair banisters, never blinking. Sherlock had always stared at him like that, ever since he was born.
Mycroft stuttered, forgetting he was on the phone, “Oh, er, hi Karen. Listen, I was wondering if you wanted to come round tonight? We’ve just got a new television and that rugby game you were talking about is on tonight.”
“Oh,” Karen hesitated, “Alright, I suppose.”
“Great!” Mycroft said, maybe too enthusiastically, and he quietly cleared his throat, “Come by around six?”
He quickly said goodbye and hung up, feeling elated. Finally, he was going to have Karen in his house, in his room no less. Not even Sherlock could ruin this.
He cringed, as he always did at his brother’s voice, “What?”
“Why did you invite Karen, of all people?”
Mycroft went over to the stairs and sat next to his little brother, “Look, I don’t expect you to understand. You’re only eight. But Karen is…”
“…a lesbian,” Sherlock finished.
Mycroft’s face went white, “What? Sherlock, do you even know what that means?”
Sherlock rolled his eyes, “Of course I do.”
“She’s not a lesbian, Sherlock. God.”
“Then why has she been snogging Emily Cross behind the school in the back lot?”
Mycroft took a deep breath, reminding himself for the millionth time to be patient with his little brother, “How could you possibly know that? You’ve never even met Emily Cross.”
“Then how, praytell,” Mycroft asked icily, “do you know that Emily and Karen are snogging?”Sherlock spoke with that strange monotony, “When you and your mates went to PizzaExpress last week and Karen showed up, she was wearing an usual lipstick. Smudged. Karen’s not the kind of girl to smudge her makeup. And she had never worn that shade before. It’s the shade that Emily Cross wears to school even though it’s not allowed. Also there was a lot of soil on the bottoms of her shoes. It had traces of fertiliser in it as well. She was still wearing her school uniform, and Karen changes out of it if she’s been to her room first. So she came straight from school, in a place with heavy soil and freshly laid fertiliser. The only place at your school with that kind of soil is the back lot, where the Gardening Club is about to plant some flower beds to make it look nicer, even though nobody goes back there. Karen isn’t in the Gardening Club. Emily is. Emily knew that that spot was isolated. Perfect for snogging.”
All of the above bothered Mycroft, but most importantly, “Did you follow me to PizzaExpress? And spy on me?”
Sherlock shrugged, “What else was I supposed to do?”
“For the last time, Sherlock, get a hobby.”
“I have a hobby, Mycroft.”
“Stalking me is not a hobby!”
Before Sherlock could reply, their father’s voice came from the dining room, “Boys! Breakfast!”
Mycroft glared at his brother before marching up the stairs. Sherlock shrugged and followed, clueless as to why his brother was mad at him now.
Mr. Holmes was reading the morning newspaper at the table. Their cook had set out their usual breakfasts: sausage, tomato, beans, and an egg for Mycroft; a slice of plain toast for Sherlock.
“And what are you boys up to today?” their father asked them, not looking away from the news.
“Not much,” Mycroft said while chewing some sausage, “I have a friend coming round tonight to watch my new telly.”
Sherlock said nothing.
“Good,” said their father, now reaching for his tea, “Because Sherlock has an appointment with his sensory therapist today, and you can take him.”
Mycroft’s fork clattered on his plate, “What? Why? Dad, I always take him to these things!”
Mr. Holmes set down his paper, “I’m busy with work today. And your mother’s in Monaco with the Everingtons, as you know.”
Sherlock made a snorting sound as he nibbled his toast. Mycroft knew what that meant. “No, she isn’t.”
“But,” Mycroft started to protest.
“No buts. You’re taking him. Eleven o’clock. Right, Sherlock?”
“How did Carl Powers die?”
Mr. Holmes hesitated, “Who?”
“Carl Powers,” Sherlock nodded at the paper, “It’s on the front page.”
His father shuffled the papers around, “Boy found dead at a swimming pool, before a swimming tournament. I’d say he drowned.”
“Dad,” Mycroft continued, “Can’t we have… some of the help take him?”
“Nonsense, Mycroft. They’re working here, it’s not in their place. Now finish up and look after your brother.”
Look after your brother. Those were the words that had been haunting Mycroft every day for the past four years. It was practically a full time job now. And it was one he was tired of. After all, he didn’t ask for a little brother, especially one as… different as this one.
Mycroft would never forget the weeks after infant Sherlock came home. The baby screamed, day and night, hardly sleeping or eating. And it wasn’t crying, it was screaming. Screaming that would continue for hours. As he grew, the screaming lessened, but it was still there. And Sherlock couldn’t do much else. At age two, Sherlock couldn’t feed himself, dress himself, or even hold a crayon properly. And he hadn’t spoken a word. Hours of assessment and therapy declared him as severely autistic. Sherlock, thankfully, spent most of his days with counselors and therapists to help him develop normally. He finally started talking around age three, but not in English. Sherlock had invented his own language, and seemed perplexed that nobody else understood it. Sherlock referred to himself as “Jirgurp,” and to Mycroft (he would never forget this, ever) as “Sensens.” Then one day, a week before Sherlock’s fifth birthday, at that very breakfast table, Sherlock looked up from his food and announced, “It occurred to me, in the middle of the night, that I should probably be speaking the language you lot speak in order to fully understand each other.”
Young Sherlock Holmes’ diagnosis suddenly changed from severely autistic to an autistic savant. It wasn’t that he was ignoring the world around him, he had been absorbing it, every last detail. He knew the days of the week of every major historical event in Britain. He could read and understand anything. And most amazingly, after his behavioral therapist suggested he learn an instrument, he mastered the violin within a month. Mycroft was a bit put off by this. After all, he had been getting perfect marks in every subject, and receiving praise from both of his parents, but as soon as Sherlock started reciting the dictionary for fun, Mycroft was pushed to the side. He became more of a caretaker, someone to make sure Sherlock didn’t wander off, or throw things, or bite strangers.
Because that was the odd thing about little Sherlock: his autistic behaviors continued, even after knowing it wasn’t acceptable. When he became frustrated, he destroyed things and attacked people. Mycroft had a big scar on his leg from Sherlock throwing plates at him when Mycroft had told him that Mother Goose wasn’t a real person, or even a goose. Most recently, Sherlock had been taken out of school after his teacher had asked him which planet was closest to the sun, and Sherlock had answered with screaming, “WHAT DOES IT MATTER?” and throwing his book at the teacher. Now, to Mycroft’s extreme horror, his parents had decided to enroll Sherlock at his school, in order to keep up intellectually. At least Sherlock would be going home every day (instead of just weekends and holidays, like Mycroft), but it would be something of social suicide for both brothers. Sherlock would grow even more behind on his social skills without anyone his own age to talk to, and Mycroft would be teased endlessly about his baby brother in their classes. When he had mentioned this to his parents, they only shrugged and said, “Just look out for him, won’t you? Take care of your brother.”
Mycroft dug his hands into his pockets, remembering this conversation, as he and Sherlock walked through London to the sensory therapist’s office. Sherlock needed sensory therapy, according to his doctor, because he processed sounds and colors and textures at a higher capability than normal, which was a characteristic of autism. With training, Sherlock would learn to be calm over the sound of large crowds, or not be bothered by things that were painted yellow, or not throw away half his clothes because they “didn’t feel right.” Sherlock currently owned three shirts in black, white, and purple, and only two pairs of trousers (also black). He had thrown the rest of the clothes out the window. Mycroft shuddered to think of how Sherlock would react to his new school uniform.
Sherlock’s eyes were darting every which way as they walked, watching every single person that passed. Mycroft wondered what could be going through his mind, and then decided against it. It must be chaos underneath those black curls.
“Which way again?” Mycroft asked his brother, since Sherlock knew every street in London and how to get anywhere.
“Right at the next street, then three blocks down, then a left,” Sherlock sighed.
“What is it now? Something’s bothering you.”
Sherlock stared at his older brother again, “Nothing’s bothering me, and if there was, why would I tell you?”
“No reason,” Mycroft grumbled, “But, look, Sherlock. Stay away from my bedroom tonight, alright? Please, for one night, don’t bother me.”
Sherlock grinned, “You can’t be serious. I can’t wait to watch you try to get off with a lesbian.”
Mycroft grumbled, “How do you even know that word? What have you been watching?”
Sherlock’s nose wrinkled, “They don’t discuss that on television. Honestly. It will be exciting to get away from you lot and live with the pirates.”
Mycroft chuckled, “Pirates? You’re still on about that?”
“I will always be on about that. In nine years I am leaving London for the high seas. I’m hoping that the further I get away from Britain, the more intelligent people will become.”
“You do know that there are no such thing as pirates anymore, right?”
Sherlock stopped dead in his tracks, thinking. Mycroft had always been right about discerning what was real and what wasn’t before. And if he was lying he wouldn’t have said it as maliciously, like when he talked about Father Christmas being real, which clearly wasn’t the case. Sherlock balled his hands into fists, “You do realize you’re a proper idiot, right?”
Before Mycroft could reply, Sherlock kicked his brother hard in the shins and ran off.
“Sherlock! Wait!” he heard his brother yell after him. But Sherlock was fast, probably due to his short and thin stature. He could outrun Mycroft any day. At first he ran blindly, but when he realized what neighborhood he was in, he immediately forgot about Mycroft and followed the street he was on to a sports center.
There was police tape all around it, indicating that this was definitely the right place. Sherlock walked past the police on their walkie talkies, ducked under the rope, and followed the building toward the back, where he found a way in. It was surprising, really, how people didn’t notice him coming and going. Normally he would leave the house for hours to follow people (usually Mycroft or his classmates) and nobody would see him, or notice he was gone.
Sherlock carefully navigated through the building until he found the room he was looking for: the pool. There were only two policemen inside, and a female detective, all talking to each other. Sherlock analyzed the pool, noting that it wasn’t nearly deep enough for a trained swimmer to drown in. And even if he had had a fit while in the water, as the newspaper had said, it wasn’t wide enough for him to have taken too long to be pulled out of. Carl’s death was sudden and swift, and drownings took time. Noting this, Sherlock moved on.
Nearly everyone else was in a locker room adjacent to the pool. One block of lockers was roped off with more police tape, and Sherlock quickly located which one belonged to poor Carl. When nobody was looking, Sherlock quietly walked up to the locker and peered inside.
“Oi!” a police woman yelled. Sherlock jumped a little; he had been spotted.
“How did you get in here?” she continued, “This center is closed! It’s a crime scene!”
“Where are Carl’s shoes?” Sherlock turned to ask her.
She hesitated, “I… what?”
What Sherlock hated the most, out of anything, the thing that usually caused him the most rage, was when he stated something obvious and people answered with ‘What?’, “Where are Carl Powers’ trainers? His clothes are still all in here. You haven’t bagged them as evidence yet. Did you already take his trainers?”
“Look, get out of here,” she continued, “You can’t be here.”
“Did he come here barefoot? Wasn’t he from out of town? If you don’t have his shoes, where are they?”
The woman grabbed his arm and started taking him away, “Let’s call your mother, shall we?”
“Can’t, she’s in Monaco with her lover.”
She hesitated, “Your father, then.”
“He isn’t home. He’s seeing his mistress today.”
They were outside, and the police woman’s patience was wearing thin, “Look, just… go away. Go home. You don’t belong here,” and she slammed the door behind her.
“You’re right,” Sherlock said to nobody, “I don’t belong here. I don’t belong anywhere.”
There was some grass nearby, and Sherlock sat on it and began ripping it out of the ground. He could hear Mycroft’s voice in the back of his mind, “Don’t throw things when you’re frustrated. And for God’s sake, don’t destroy anything. Or anyone.” So Sherlock stopped ripping out the grass and patted it gently back on the ground. He shouldn’t destroy things, even though he desperately wanted to.
“What’s wrong?” said a voice behind him. At first Sherlock thought it was a girl, but when he turned around there was a boy there, probably in his early teens. He was dressed casually except for a tie around his neck, which hung around his neck like a drape, untied.
“D’you know what happened in there?” Sherlock nodded to the sports center.
He nodded, “Some poor boy died. Right before the swim meet started. I was to go against him.”
“You knew him?” Sherlock stood up, “What sort of shoes did he wear?”
The boy’s attitude suddenly changed. His face screwed up, and he looked at Sherlock out of the corner of his eye, “His shoes?”
“Yes. His trainers are missing. But the police are too daft to notice.”
“His shoes are… irrelevant,” he answered, “How do you know they’re not there?”
“I looked,” Sherlock stated.
“Listen,” the boy walked up to Sherlock and laid a hand on his shoulder. Sherlock flinched, and automatically wanted to strike this boy, but remembered what his sensory therapist had told him about touch. Not every touch was bad, “Carl Powers’ shoes are not your problem. Not yet, anyway.”
“What do you mean?”
“What’s your name?”
The boy repeated it, but very slowly, letting each letter of his name dance on his lips, “I’ll remember that.”
“Who are you?”
“Not your problem,” the boy answered, walking away, “Not your problem at all. Toodles.”
And with that, the strange boy walked away, disappearing behind a shrub.
It was an unnerving encounter to say the least. Sherlock didn’t like it. He would do well to forget someone like this, otherwise he might have nightmares about it. And Sherlock hated nightmares. He shut his eyes tightly and recalled every detail about this person, and everything he had said, and promptly erased him from his memory. Once he was done, Sherlock felt much better, and realized he was still upset about Carl Powers’ shoes, and Mycroft. He could always write to someone about Carl’s shoes, and maybe someone at Scotland Yard would notice him. But Mycroft was a problem he would have for the rest of his life.
Sherlock continued to wander, and further in the park he spotted some boys playing football. Sherlock knew nothing about sports, and neither did Mycroft, which would make his date tonight twice as interesting, he thought. Sherlock stayed near a tree, trying to observe from a distance in order to figure out the rules. Clearly, the boys had to use their feet to get the ball into their opponent’s net goals. Simple and boring.
One boy kicked the ball far too wide, and it came soaring toward Sherlock. He dodged out of the way in time. One of them called out, “Oi, you! Throw it back in!”
Nobody his age had ever actually spoken directly to Sherlock, so instead of picking up the ball, he froze. Not even at his old school had they spoken to him; they only referred to him as if he wasn’t there, and made fun of him. Most of them wound up bleeding afterward.
The boy approached him. He was taller than Sherlock, intimidating. He grinned, “Aren’t you going to get that?”
Sherlock didn’t answer.
“You should play with us. We could use one more on our team. Are you any good?”
Sherlock stayed silent.
“Are you alright? You look a bit peaky.”
He did? Sherlock’s hands flew to his face. It wasn’t the first time someone had told him he didn’t look alright. He remembered his mother telling his old teacher that he was technically autistic, and his teacher had answered, “Oh, that explains his face then,” and Sherlock spent hours staring into his bathroom mirror, wondering what was wrong with his face. He had everything: eyes, nose, mouth, lips, cheeks, eyebrows, forehead, skin… what was wrong with him? Thankfully the maid didn’t say anything as she cleaned up the bits of glass all over the floor, and bandaged his hands.
“What’s your name?” a boy asked him for the second time in ten minutes. Before Sherlock could answer, one of the boys on the field called out, “Hurry up, John! We’ve only got ten minutes left!”
“Coming!” the boy, John, grabbed the ball, nodded to Sherlock, and ran back to his friends.
Sherlock still watched them from the side for a few more minutes while mentally replaying this episode in his mind. What if he had agreed to play with them? Right now they would be teaching him how to kick the ball, how to run with it, how to hit it with his head… they could be laughing together and having fun at that moment. But he wasn’t.
“Sherlock!” came Mycroft’s voice nearby. Sherlock stared at his brother as he ran up to him, panting, “There you are! God, I was,” he gasped for air, “Running all, all around, don’t, don’t do that anymore!”
When Sherlock only crossed his arms and kept silent, Mycroft grumbled, “Alright, I’m sorry I said that remark about the pirates. I didn’t mean to upset you. I was only stating…”
“I know what you were stating,” Sherlock interrupted.
“I said I’m sorry!” Mycroft insisted, “You just can’t run off like that anymore.”
Sherlock started marching back toward the therapist’s office while grumbling, “I can’t kick, hit, bite, throw, punch, or run away when I get mad. What am I supposed to do?”
“Act like an adult?” Mycroft suggested, “You’ve got the mind of one already. Use it.”
“I can’t,” Sherlock said, “The adults won’t take me seriously. I went to that crime scene and they didn’t listen to me because I’m a child.”
Mycroft hesitated, “You went to a crime scene?”
“And I can’t act like a child, even if I tried. Nobody likes me, Mycroft. Not even you.”
Mycroft wasn’t about to dispute that, “Look, Sherlock, like I said, you need a hobby! Something to preoccupy your busy mind with.”
“What would I do? I’ve read everything in Dad’s library. I already play an instrument. What do you suggest?”
“I dunno,” Mycroft shrugged, “What about… you could take up karate, or boxing. Learn some proper fighting. And get that energy out. You can kick and punch all you like then, and not hurt anybody, and learn to control your temper.”
Sherlock thought this over for a few seconds, and decided that martial arts and self-defense would probably come in handy later in life.”
Mycroft thought for a moment, “And I’ve got that chemistry set Nan gave me last Christmas. I’ve never used it. You can play with it tonight so I’ll be left in peace.”
This was tempting. Sherlock had a microscope, and he had endless hours looking at cells and pond life underneath it. If he had a chemistry set, there were many other things he could investigate, “I’d like that. Thank you.”
“You’re welcome. When we get home I’ll phone up a dojo or something and sign you up, how’s that? In exchange, bugger off tonight and leave me alone with Karen.”
“In exchange, I’ll let you know how you can date Elizabeth Fox.”
Mycroft froze, “What? She’s dating…”
“Will Blythe? No. They ended it two days ago. She ended it, actually. She wants somebody new. And she’s already dated most of the boys at school.”
“How could you possibly know all of this?”
“It’s simple to break into your school during class time and watch everyone. It’s more interesting than attending private lessons with the tutors. And soon I won’t have to sneak in, I’ll be attending. It will make it far easier. Plus, I can correctly assume anything about anyone there. Most of it’s obvious.”
Mycroft put his arm around his little brother, “For a weird freak, you’re alright sometimes.”
“Sometimes you are too,” Sherlock said quietly.