Mycroft walked out of the room. He was angry, scared, he needed some air to clear his head. He walked out of the hospital, just aimlessly wondering the streets deep in his thoughts.
'I have to tell them. I have to...oh god I don't want to. It's too late for that. Mummy will kill me. It's my fault, how could I be so stupid...no I can't tell them...I can't. How could I...Idiot...What have I done!'
Mycroft was walking for hours deep in his thoughts, in the cold without his coat; it was freezing, he started to be hungry. He was swooped off his feet by rushing paramedics looking up he saw that he was in front of another hospital.
'It'll do.' he went inside and found a hiding place in the basement. It was too late to go exploring so he curled up and fell asleep. He woke in the morning he was shaking from the cold, his stomach was aching. He waited until visiting hours and went upstairs. Fortunately he had practice in being invisible, so he managed to steal some leftover food and retreated to his hiding place. He was still cold, but at lease he wasn’t starving anymore. During the next few days he continued to go up for food, he used the visitor’s bathroom to stay clean. He put aside his consciousness and stole clothes so he can keep up the facade. One afternoon he was out again scavenging when someone startled him.
"Hi there!" Mycroft turned with panic to see a boy a bit older than him in a wheelchair. "Are you hungry?" Mycroft didn't answer. "I saw you before. Don't worry I won't tell it to anyone." he handed him a little package. The boy was very thin, his skin was gray, he looked very sick only his warm brown eyes shined with mischief.
"I'm not hungry; I'll just throw it up anyways." Mycroft walked away, but he followed him. "Who are you? Why are you here? Tell me, tell me, please I'm so bored. You are a runaway, am I right? What are you running from? What have you done? What happened to you? I don't think you ran off from a children's home, you don't look the type. You've been here a week now, but you managed to stay perfectly neat. You are used to a certain lifestyle and even under these circumstances you manage to keep it up. But you are also good at stealing, that makes me a little confused. But looking at you; I'm sorry to say this; but you most likely bullied daily, so you had to learn how to be invisible and how to steal your stuff back. Am I right? So why did you run away?"
"What do you think detective?"
"Oh he can talk! My name is Greg. What's your? Sit and eat." Mycroft reluctantly sat down.
"Nice to meet you." they sat in silence. "Okay. I have to get back now, if you want to you can visit me tomorrow, room 302. I'd like to have someone to talk to, my roommate is an idiot, but you seem like a clever guy."
The next day Mycroft lingered around the ward, thinking he shouldn't go in, but he really want to talk to someone.
"This way cousin Charles!" Greg called out. Mycroft looked around with confusion but there was no one around. "Hey, I'm here!" Greg waved to him. Mycroft followed him to the room. "Finally, I though you gonna stand there all day long. Are you hungry?"
"Here you go. I also got you something else." handing Mycroft a warm pullover. "You looked cold."
"I can't take this."
"You can and you will."
"Why are you helping me?"
"Thank you." they sat in silence for a while. The silence felt awkward so Mycroft decided to break it. "What do you do during the day?"
"Go for a round, vomit, watch my mother trying not to cry, read some comic books, staff like that. I just need someone to talk to."
"What do you want to talk about?" Mycroft asked hesitantly.
"Why are you here?" Mycroft stood up. "Wait, stay, it's okay. I won't ask it again, I promise. Sorry." Mycroft sat back. "My name is Gregory Lestrade; I'm 19, currently out of school, enjoying the hospitality of this damned ward. Your turn."
"My name is Charles, I'm 16 and I should start uni next term."
"Nice, are you some kind of genius?"
"Something like that. Don't you want to be a detective? You are moderately good at observing people."
"Moderately?” he snorted. “Yes that was the plan, following my father's footsteps." His roommate had a visitor; Mycroft looked him up and down.
"He is married; he has a son and currently sleeping with this kid's mother. Only here because she insisted on it, obviously she doesn't know about the other family. He is a judge; he also has two dogs a corgi and a German Sheppard.”
"You just made that up."
"I'll show you. See that toy, it had a ribbon around its neck, most likely with the name of his son, he ripped it off, leaving the bear furless in the places it was sewn in. He clearly didn't care about it, because it could have been covered up or took off properly with no effort at all. The bear’s paws are blue; usually it's for a boy. The son is about 1-1.5 years old, based on the toy’s model and the food stains on his waistcoat. Now the dogs, on his trousers dog hairs; two different size and different colours. I hope I don't have to go in to details with this one. What is left, oh the occupation......"
Greg just stared him with an open mouth.
"What?" Mycroft stopped with his monologue.
"Wow you...that...it's a trick."
Mycroft sighed, stood up and walked to the man.
"Your honour, my name is Charles Keaton, nephew of Frank Keaton."
"Oh yes, yes. How's he?"
"He died recently."
"Thank you. Sorry to bother you, I just wanted to meet you; my uncle always talked fondly of you."
"Thank you. He was a really good man; great loss to the bar."
"In deed. Well I won't keep you further good day." Mycroft sat back to his place.
"All right Mr. Show off. You know him."
"No, I don’t. I just read about the death of the lawyer, so I used his name."
"I don't think so."
"Are we going to argue about this the whole time, because if that's the case, I'm leaving!"
"No, please stay." a nurse came in.
"Tell me about her." Greg asked.
"Recently divorced after they lost their child; now she lives with two cats, one black and a ginger one, she started school again, recently had her eyes fixed..." Mycroft stopped when she stepped to Greg.
"My second cousin Charles, I finally managed to get him visit me."
"Nice to meet you."
"You have one hour left lads."
"Thank you." Greg turned to Mycroft.
"One more, read me!"
"No! I won't, sorry."
"Okay I give in; you can read people really well." Mycroft smiled at him. They sat in silence Mycroft fiddling with the pullover.
"What is it?"
"I'm sorry. I'm not good at this."
"Good at what? Talking to the dead?"
"Talking to people in general; I never had anyone to talk to, not really... I'm sorry."
"We were just talking a minute ago."
"That's different. I was deducing, not talking."
"Then it's good that I found you. You just need practice. Let's start with......movies. What type of movies do you like? Which one is your favourite? I like action movies and noir detective movies..."
"You do? Me too, I love them. Although my favourite movie is Chaplin's Kid. It's just...I..." Mycroft stopped and looked around cautiously.
"I haven't seen that jet, if I think back I never saw anything from him. Shame on me, he is a great milestone in film history, but I never got around to watch anything from him."
"I suggest you do. They’re really funny, sometimes sad, he writes and acts really well..." someone came in. "I really should go now." he stood up.
"Will you come back tomorrow?"
"I don't know...maybe."
Mycroft went back to his hiding place, the pullover was a great help. He felt strange; happy and confused at the same time. 'Why would anyone want to talk to me? No one ever wanted to. He just needs a distraction; I seemed interesting that's why he approached me. That must be it, not that I mind, finally someone who doesn’t want to beat me up. I haven't thought that I'm going to miss talking with someone this much. He was genuinely interested in what I said...strange.'
The next day he went up earlier. They talked about more films, the weather, Greg's adventures on the ward; everything seemed fine until Greg fell silent.
"One of my friends died in the morning."
"Are you? Really?” he snapped. “They all say that and then they look you up and down waiting for you to drop. They dance around you like you're china; I hate it! Hate all of this; they can't do a thing to cure me! There's nothing else they can do, but still I'm pumped with this bloody stuff, making me puke my guts out. I just want it to end. I don't care about anything or anybody else anymore; I just want this to end! That way no one will look at me like I'm already dead, no one will treat me like this! You have no idea how much I want that. Maybe I should run away too, and jump off a bridge or lie down in front of a train. My mother won't have to suffer anymore; she's suffering even more than me, dad at least understands..."
Mycroft wanted to say something, but he felt that silence might be better this time. Greg sighed. "Thank you."
"For listening and not looking at me like they do."
They resumed their unfinished conversation.
When Mycroft came back the next day Greg was in a pretty bad shape.
"Hi there!" he greeted Mycroft weakly.
"Hello. I better leave..."
"Don't go, please."
"You need to rest."
"I'm resting as you can see." he was clearly not well, but Mycroft obeyed and sat down.
"Today's practice will be about books, but you have to talk, I'm a bit tired..."
"Okay...books, books...I can do this..." Mycroft muttered glancing hesitantly at Greg who smiled faintly. "You read a lot I presume."
"Yes, a lot, but those are not too interesting to you. I read lot’s of historical books, also economy, politics, languages, anything I can get my hands on really. Of course I read all the classics and a few modern one too, but I had to put them aside I have to concentrate on my future...so you see not too interesting. I'm planning to follow my uncle, he works for the government; I know it sounds boring, but what he does is different...I’m not supposed to talk about it; sorry. I know I said that I'm not good with people; well actually...I can see through them easily, I can talk to them when I need something from them. It's like I'm two people at once. One that could talk himself out from every problem, charm everybody, even manipulate them if needed......and the other who can't make it through a sentence about books. See I’m not even talking about books anymore, sorry......Casual talking, it's not my area, as you already know. From the first day in school they’ve only beaten me, no one wanted to be my friend, no one wanted to talk to me. So I resigned and I only talked when I had no other choice. But with you, it's strange...I mean different because I can see that you have no hidden motives, you are really interested in me...you just want to talk and it turns out that I want that too...I don’t want to disappoint you by being an idiot, blabbing about pointless matters...which is exactly what am I doing now...but you being really interested in me makes it even harder to talk. I know it sounds stupid, but still I can't help it..." Mycroft talked until Greg fell asleep, then he quietly slipped out of the room.
The next day he wasn't allowed to see Greg. He was about to go and explore other parts of the hospital, when someone pointed at him. "That one!" and then a security guard was after him. "Stop there, hey you! Kid, don't run!" Mycroft turned and ran away.